We can protect the fossil fuel industry while preserving our environment

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The Rio Grande Valley (RGV) is one of the most dynamic regions in the United States. According to the US Census Bureau, between 1990 and 2020, McAllen and the neighboring towns of Edinburgh and Mission increased six-fold to nearly 871,000 residents. By 2040, the population of the entire RGV is expected to reach 2.5 million people, according to a report released by Rubi Group Capital.

Along with this population growth have been jobs and economic opportunities, much of which comes from the oil and gas industry and the shipping of liquefied natural gas due to the boom in the Eagle Ford Shale. With the production of one million barrels of oil per day and the region accounting for 4.4% of all natural gas production in the United States, the RGV has benefited enormously from the fossil fuel industry.

Fossil fuels and jobs in this industry have played a central role in the growth of RGV over the past decades, and this employment growth is expected to continue with constant technological innovation. As the Dallas Federal Reserve points out, “Recent advances in horizontal drilling technology are enabling companies to extract oil and natural gas from the shale, creating new jobs and increasing the wealth of many rural communities in South Texas. “.

However, leaders in Congress and the White House are debating policies that could have a major impact on Texas and the growth of the RGV. Environmental legislation like the Green New Deal promoted by Representative Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, could wipe out the fossil fuel industry as we know it. This would put thousands of South Texans out of work and have painful economic consequences in the RGV.

There is nothing wrong with trying to preserve our environment. In fact, it is a noble goal and one that I share. However, preserving the livelihoods of Texans must be at the top of any legislative priority. Protecting our environment and our jobs does not have to be mutually exclusive.

This is why I am proud to be a member of the Advisory Board of the Carbon Neutral Coalition (CNC). With the stated goal of making Texas carbon neutral by 2050, CNC is working to capture the carbon currently emitted by energy companies and store it underground. Through a process called Carbon Capture Underground Storage (CCUS), we seek to establish the infrastructure that will allow energy companies to inject carbon into permanent storage.

This process would ensure that the fossil fuel industry in Texas remains vibrant, while opening up a whole new economic pipeline for our farmers and ranchers. In return for a royalty, the agricultural industry can offer its land to store excess carbon, generating another source of income for it. This would be particularly beneficial for the RGV, which has one of the largest agricultural industries in the state.

Now is the time for the state of Texas to step up and protect the fossil fuel industry while preserving our environment by putting in place legislation that allows the private sector to use CCUS. Texas has become a global economic power thanks in large part to the energy industry, and we must protect it. Join us at https://carbonneutralcoalition.com/ and be part of the movement.

Editor’s Note: The above column was written by Tina Yturria Buford, Advisory Board Member for the Carbon Neutral Coalition and Director of Education for the East Foundation. The column appears in The Rio Grande Guardian International News Service with permission of the author. Yturria Buford can be contacted by email via: [email protected].


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