With the end of the Texas Legislative session taking place after the writing of this article, I can assure you that PBPA has worked diligently to provide oil and gas operators in the Permian Basin successes that would benefit them.
One issue that became a lasting challenge throughout the session was the plain and simple difference of opinions between the Texas House and the Texas Senate. This carried over on a bevy of issues, including the best method to offer Texans property tax relief. The House plan sought to limit the ability of appraisal districts to increase taxes by setting a cap on new appraisal growth and the Senate supported a concept to raise the homestead exemption to $100,000. At this time we are certainly advocating for the state budget to include appropriate tax relief for all Texans.
PBPA continues to work aggressively at the time of this writing to ensure that our priorities are accomplished. A huge priority has been to pass some reasonable reforms to the efforts done last session under Senate Bill 3, which was passed as a result of Winter Storm Uri.
Effectively the Texas Legislature authorized provisions which do not allow assets that are deemed “critical but not mapped” to participate in the load resource program to benefit demand response processes in the state. Addressing these exclusions is vital because we have learned that the ability to shift demand means we can effectively transmit power better to places where the load serves human needs like homes, hospitals, and other functions like electric generation.
We are also closely working on ensuring electric generation needs, and efforts to put steel in the ground and build new, reliable, and resilient electric plants utilizing natural gas can be constructed in the state at reasonable cost. Likewise we can ensure our capacity to move those electrons to needed areas, and that is a process that greatly benefits Texans.
We have also seen great progress in the area of produced water and we expect that legislation aimed at funding the Texas Produced Water Consortium, as well as funding pilot projects for that consortium to consider, will make it to Governor Greg Abbott’s desk. It is vital for the industry to work with other stakeholders, including academia at Texas Tech University, to best understand ways to treat and repurpose the abundant amount of water coproduced with oil and gas activity.
But I think several things need to be considered by our membership as we move forward and frankly one of those things was the difficulty that we faced in accomplishing real and lasting benefits for the oil and gas industry. As we leave this regular session, we do so with the expectation there will be some special sessions called. We also expect to be engaged in regulatory rulemaking quickly after the session. With all this facing us, and more besides, we must determine how to ensure that we are best positioned to work with legislators moving forward.
We will need your input and your support to determine what our priorities should be moving forward, how we can visit with legislators in the interim, and how we can continue to get results from the state agencies and other elected officials that greatly benefit from the jobs you create, the economic benefits your private capital produces, and frankly the great benefit in tax revenue that legislators have had no problem spending on schools, health, transportation, and so much more.
As always we thank you for your support and look forward to providing you with a full report upon the completion of the 88th Regular Session.