Williams Advocates for States’ Rights


Encourages States to Tell Federal Government ‘Hands Off’

West Virginia ––In an address to the Southern States Energy Board Annual Meeting today, Texas Railroad Commissioner advised state leaders to find the best mix of energy sources for their state by encouraging new energy technologies and to work together to prevent the federal government from dictating a generic formula that will not meet the best interests of each state.

“Texas is blessed with abundant sources of natural gas, oil, coal, uranium and wind,” noted Williams. “Each state has unique resources and is in the optimal position to determine the best mix of fuels to provide their residents with reliable, clean, affordable energy.”

The electricity profile in Texas reflects the resources that are available in the state. Natural gas accounts for 48% of electric generation, coal for 36%, nuclear for 10%, and renewables (primarily wind) for 5%.

“We need to control the destiny of our respective states by resisting excessive federal interference in state activity,” said Williams. “For instance, hydraulic fracturing plays a major role in the development of virtually all unconventional gas resources, and the EPA proposals will have a detrimental effect on the development of these resources.”

In 2008, the U.S. Energy Information Agency estimated the total U.S. shale proved reserves at 33 tcf, a 50% increase from 2007. The history of shale production includes the Texas Barnett Shale, which the utilization of two new technologies, horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, in the 1980’s . Since the 1990’s, when market forces made production from the Shale profitable, Texas natural gas production has increased more than 50%.

Williams continued, “A balanced mix of energy sources will be achieved by allowing the free market to work without heavy-handed over-regulation. Economic fluctuations, new technology and common-sense policies will allow states to manage their resources to provide reliable, clean, affordable energy to their residents based upon the unique resources in the state.” 



Governor George W. Bush appointed Michael Williams to the Railroad Commission in December 1998.  Williams chaired the Commission from July 2007 to February 2009 and previously served as chair from September 1999 to September 2003.  Williams was elected statewide most recently in November 2008 to a six-year term expiring in 2014. He is the first African-American in Texas history to hold an elected position in the executive branch of Texas state government.  In December 2002, Governor Rick Perry appointed Williams to chair the Governor’s Clean Coal Technology Council.