Texas Legislature Advances Energy Reforms That Pit Fossil Fuels Against Renewables, Stalls On Action To Address Climate Crisis
The 87th Texas Legislature is currently underway in Austin and lawmakers are weighing thousands of bills, including many in response to February's deadly freeze. Are these reforms politically, economically or scientifically driven?
Does the political will exist to acknowledge the role of climate change or take action to mitigate its impact, or will the GOP-controlled Texas House and Senate continue to sidestep climate conversations? Will this session be different or more of the same?
As Texas lawmakers revamp the state's management of electric power, some Republicans blamed the unreliability of renewable energy sources for forced statewide blackouts during winter storm Uri. Experts disagree, but that hasn't stopped legislators from filing a slew of bills targeting renewable energy as part of efforts to address Uri's fallout.
Multiple bills aim to prohibit so-called fossil fuel "boycotts" and limit the ability of Texas cities to implement more stringent environmental regulations. How influential is the fossil fuel industry in crafting and promoting this kind of legislation?
What other environment-related legislation is under consideration this session? What are the pros and cons of these proposals?
What are the potential implications for individuals, businesses and municipalities, as well as for energy and environmental regulations?
What could this legislative session and the changing climate mean for the future of environmental law and policy in Texas?
- Rep. Rafael Anchía (D), member of the Energy Resources Committee and member of the Texas House Climate Change Caucus
- Ross Ramsey, executive editor and co-founder of The Texas Tribune
- Patrick Bixler, Ph.D., assistant professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at UT Austin
- Brent Bennett, Ph.D., policy director for the Texas Public Policy Foundation's Life:Powered initiative
- Luke Metzger, executive director of Environment Texas
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*This interview was recorded on Tuesday, April 20.