Five Facts About Committee Substitute Senate Bill 421
Texas is the largest oil and gas producing state, and that production depends on Texas pipelines to deliver affordable energy to consumers. These energy supplies fuel the Texas miracle, which is made possible by a low tax, low regulation operating environment that differentiates us from places like California or New York. Committee Substitute Senate Bill 421 would create new and unnecessary regulations on Texas pipelines that will benefit trial lawyers at the expense of Texas energy.
More Truck Traffic
CSSB 421 would make it harder to build new pipelines, which are the safest way to transport oil and gas. A single pipeline can replace the need for hundreds or even thousands of truck trips to deliver the same fuel. As a result, pipelines help relieve traffic congestion, which also helps improve air quality.
The informal panel set up by CSSB 421 would not be operating on any objective standard of evidence, but rather a set of poorly defined guidelines, meaning any decision will be prone to litigation. This will benefit and even incentivize lawyers, at the expense of landowners who may not be able to afford the costs of a prolonged lawsuit.
More Confusion for Landowners
The bill would create a public hearing process with so many procedural rules and hurdles that landowners may have no choice but to hire an expensive lawyer from the outset. Additionally, the informal panel’s lack of objective standard means neither landowners nor developers would have a clear sense of how a decision would be made.
The Permian Basin will be producing 6 million barrels of oil per day by 2025, and demand for Texas natural gas is growing – at home and abroad. To ensure this Texas energy miracle continues, we need more pipeline infrastructure. Encouraging litigation on infrastructure projects will raise the cost of energy and make it more difficult to deliver fuel during emergencies like Hurricane Harvey.
Empowering Anti-Oil and Gas Activists
The vague requirements in CSSB 421 would give out-of-state activist groups more opportunities to bring lawsuits against Texas pipeline operators and shut down critical infrastructure projects in our state. The bill would also provide activists with the opportunity to disrupt public hearings through demonstrations, which would only further harm Texas energy development. “Keep It In The Ground” groups have used these tactics to great effect in other states, including with the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota and multiple projects in the Northeast.