But don’t a lot of officials address those same issues?
Yes, but not the same way Smitherman does.
He talks about economic collapse as what will happen to the rest of the United States, not Texas. And he talks about energy policy as a way to make sure Texas commerce will continue, without the rest of the United States. And when he talks about the future, he focuses on Texas, because he believes there might not be the rest of the United States.
See a pattern?
“One of the things I’ve focused on in the last 10 years of my public sector life is preparing Texas to be a prosperous and safe place to work, regardless of what happens outside our borders,” he said.
“We are uniquely situated because we have energy resources, fossil and otherwise, and our own independent electrical grid. Generally speaking, we have made great progress in becoming an independent nation, an ‘island nation’ if you will, and I think we want to continue down that path so that if the rest of the country falls apart, Texas can operate as a stand-alone entity with energy, food, water and roads as if we were a closed-loop system.”
Smitherman said he feels Texas officials must do what they can to prepare the state.
“This was one of my goals at the Utility Commission and it is one my goals currently as chairman of the Railroad Commission. That’s why I stress so vehemently oil and gas production, permitting turnaround times, and everything that enables the industry to produce as much as it can, as quickly as it can,” he said.
In the last year, big names in energy began moving their headquarters to Texas, quietly and without fanfare, including credit affiliates long based in New York. Some have speculated that a coming economic crisis has precipitated the move, and that these companies must have assurances from Texas.
Smitherman does not believe this relocation is accidental.
When asked about the energy climate, possible energy independence, and the place of Texas in the energy landscape of the future, Smitherman remarked, “Today we are producing over 1.7 million barrels of oil per day, number one in the country by a wide margin. These numbers put us in league with many OPEC nations. We are a bigger contributor to the country than Saudi Arabia. We have about a third of all the natural gas production in the nation, and these numbers are going vertical.”
Smitherman has been credited with keeping the EPA’s influence nominal in Texas and stopping attempts by the Obama administration to ban hydraulic fracturing, colloquially referred to as “fracking,” which has demonstrably resulted in an unprecedented energy boom in Texas – recently causing Saudi Arabia to express public concern.
On the Obama administration’s exercise of power and what Smitherman calls an “assault” on the U.S. Constitution, he had the following comments:
“We’ve been very strong in leading the charge against the Obama administration. Our challenge against the Obama administration’s EPA air pollution regulation which attempted to shut down our coal plants before their life ended naturally, is a great example of taking them to task. We won at the U.S. Court of Appeals of D.C. The ruling said that the EPA air pollution rule was not grounded in science and was arbitrary and capricious.”
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