The Texas Comptroller recently released a new Certified Revenue Estimate for the 2022-23 state budget. Due to steady economic growth and significant increases in tax revenue, the Comptroller projects that the Legislature will enter the 88th Legislative Session with $27 billion in surplus revenue. One of the driving forces behind our historic surplus is our state’s booming energy sector. The State of Texas continues to lead the way in energy production, which not only contributed to an increase in general revenue but also accounted for $3.58 billion in additional revenue to the State Highway Fund, and $3.58 to the Economic Stabilization Fund (also known as the Rainy Day Fund). Given the impact our state’s energy sector had on the recent revenue estimate, I thought this would be a perfect time to cover the House Energy Committee for this week’s column on House Interim Charges.
With that, we’ll dive back into our examination of House interim charges. . .
House Interim Charge: Energy Resources
The 13-member committee on Energy Resources has purview over conservation efforts, electric utility regulation, and the future development of energy resources such as oil and gas and their associated mineral rights. The Committee also oversees the Texas Railroad Commission, which regulates the oil and gas industry in Texas.
During the interim, the Committee is exploring options to bolster energy independence within the state. To spark the conversation ahead of the 88th legislative session, the committee is preparing to evaluate a number of options that include reviewing any state and local regulations that could directly impact the production of oil and gas, assessing innovative and emerging energy sources, addressing legislative or regulatory obstacles, and exploring options for expanding the state’s underground natural gas storage capacity.
After Winter Storm Uri, the Committee on Energy Resources spent a great deal of time working to provide solutions and protections for our state’s energy infrastructure. To further protect our energy resources, the Committee has been asked to oversee the implementation of HB 3648, which requires the Public Utilities Commission and the Railroad Commission to work together to designate certain gas entities and facilities as critical during an energy emergency. Coordination between natural gas and electric providers is an essential step in preventing future energy emergencies, and identifying critical infrastructure allows entities to prioritize sufficient energy access across the entire state.
Similarly, the Committee has been asked to assess efforts made by the Railroad Commission and the Texas Energy Reliability Council to weatherize infrastructure and ensure the reliability of the natural gas delivery system during natural disasters.
As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office if we can help you in any way. My district office may be reached at (936) 634-2762. Additionally, I welcome you to follow along on my Official Facebook Page, where I will be posting regular updates on what’s happening in your State Capitol and sharing information that could be useful to you and your family: https://www.facebook.com/RepTrentAshby/.