Hometown News For Orange County, Texas

A Good Idea

During my tenure in the Legislature I had the rule that I would do what was possible. There are many things possible to deal with environment and the continued use of fossil fuels. For the life of me, I cannot understand why no one is not sitting down at the table and recognizing this fact. The stores of oil and gas and other resources in the ground will eventually run out whether it is 100 years or 200 years. Likewise, the place to stash our garbage and trash is getting in short supply. If you don’t believe this, talk to a contractor attempting to locate a proper dump. It seems it would make good sense to me if environmentalists would sit down with those who want to promote the use of fossil fuels and discuss ways to make both our world-wide trash heap last longer as well as using fossil fuels in the least harmful way to us all.

There is plenty we can do that would be beneficial to all, including those who profit from waste and those who profit from the use of fuels. A good example is the fact that we have hundreds of unused oil and gas wells that are represented by vacant holes in the ground, particularly in west Texas.

A good beginning place would be with our federal and state agencies designed to protect the environment. Environmental rules should be reasonable, recognize that we will be dependent on fossil fuels for years into the future and try to calculate those measures that would cause production and use of these fuels in the safest way possible. Likewise, in the effort to preserve our landfills and other aspects to use of the earth a good starting place would be to promote recycling and require production of items that could be easily recycled and contain some value after their initial use.

While in the Legislature I considered myself an environmentalist, but I too had a difficult time winding my way through measures that would be fair and accomplish both ends of efficient use of fuels and the efficient use of places to store our waste. The idea seemed great at the time in that it would combine five different agencies into one with greater power to protect the environment while making good decisions about how to regulate permitting and the fair use of fossil fuels. My argument at the time was that instead of having to go to five different agencies for permitting and demonstrating that whatever project was on the table would be done in the most efficient and least harmful way available you could accomplish everything by going to only one. I am beginning to feel like the scientist Frankenstein. It seems from complaints I have received in the past few years that all I have done is lengthen the process and gotten very little help as to the efficient preservation and safe use of fossil fuels. I am now reduced to my original idea that we elect the TCEQ with the Railroad Commission, an agency that regulates electric power. There is no denying they all play a part in what we pay when we turn the oven on in our homes. Letting the people have a say and who it is who makes the rules for use in permitting these activities would certainly get the attention of politicians in Texas. It is time that we sat at the table apart from our governor and lieutenant governor and particularly our attorney general and figure out the best way to accomplish the ends described in this article.


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