|Energy & the Environment Task Force|
Future debates on state energy and environmental policies will be shaped by a rapidly-changing federal regulatory landscape. The Obama Administration, for example, has undertaken a number of energy and environmental initiatives, including:
- Increased fuel economy standards on cars and trucks;
- More than $60 billion in stimulus money for "clean energy investments that will jump-start our economy and build the clean energy jobs of tomorrow";
- Mercury emissions reduction plans; and
- Carbon dioxide regulation that is intended to increase traditional energy prices to force the market into using cleaner and renewable energy sources.
The potential economic impact of these policies could be devastating for Texas, which has thriving energy and industrial sectors. While the policies being advanced by the Administration are misguided, the state must consider ways to respond to the challenge posed by federal energy and environment policies.
The Energy & Environment Task Force will also return to the question of how the state can responsibly encourage environmental innovation to supplant the need for heavy-handed environmental regulation, while protecting both the economy and taxpayers.
Additionally, the Sunset Commission schedule for 2011 includes four major entities with jurisdiction over energy and environmental policies:
- Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
- Railroad Commission
- Water Development Board
- Public Utility Commission of Texas
The Sunset review of these entities will provide TCCRI with the opportunity to affect the direction of energy and environmental policy by adhering to free market, limited government principles.