Free the Market: No Taxpayer Subsidies, No Carbon Taxes
By Railroad Commissioner Wayne ChristianJuly 24, 2018
Since being sworn-in as our 45th President of the United States, President Donald Trump has implemented an America-First energy strategy that has de-fanged an overreaching EPA, ended the Clean Power Plan, and removed us from the one-sided Paris Climate Accord, which threatened our national security, our nation’s energy security and the economic growth that comes along with it.
As a result, the United States has regained its rightful place as a global energy leader. For the first time since 1972, the nation produced more than 10 million barrels of oil per day, and many believe we will surpass Saudi Arabia and Russia as the world’s top energy producer in the next five years.
Regrettably, this progress is under attack. A Republican U.S. Congressman from Florida is attempting to undermine these hard-fought gains by proposing a carbon-tax on the American people. This carbon tax would increase the cost of gasoline for American families by more than 20 cents per gallon.
Much like former President Obama's Clean Power Plan, which would have increased the average Texan’s power and gas bills $1,060 annually, a carbon tax is a terrible idea because it harms American families and unfairly punishes one form of energy over others.
Unfortunately, picking winners and losers in energy is nothing new in our country. For example, the American taxpayer has been on the hook for so-called green energy taxpayer subsidies for years. In fact, right now, a Texan would receive a $7,500 tax credit from the federal government and $2,500 rebate from our own state government to purchase an electric car.
This is money out your pocket and mine, going to help wealthy environmentalists buy an $82,000 Tesla. That’s roughly $23,000 more than the $59,000 the average family makes in a year in the United States. It’s no wonder Elon Musk is the largest recipient of taxpayer subsidies in our nation's history.
Boondoggles like Solyndra have highlighted the massive waste within the “green” energy movement. Yet we’ve done little to nothing to stop similar debacles from happening in the future. Inefficient, expensive, and unreliable sources of energy, like wind and solar, continue to receive taxpayer subsidies over significantly more efficient, affordable, and reliable sources, such as natural gas.
The inequality of these taxpayer subsidies is remarkable. Wind energy receives $56.24 in taxpayer subsidies per megawatt hour and solar receives $775.75. Natural gas receives 64 cents. This means wind is subsidized more than 878 times and solar more than 1,212 times than natural gas. Corporate investment follows these taxpayer subsidies, which is why companies keep adding more expensive wind and solar power to their “energy mix” – at the expense of hard-working Texas families.
But wind and solar aren’t just expensive – they’re also highly inefficient and extremely unreliable. Wind and solar only produce energy intermittently – when the wind blows, and the sun is shines – and it takes 40,000 acres of windmills and 10,000 acres of solar panels to produce the same amount of energy as 12.5 acres of natural gas. This has been done by our knows-what’s-best-for-us politicians in Washington D.C. despite the tremendous amount of data that shows how enormously inefficient and unreliable these forms of energy are compared to oil and natural gas.
Implementing a carbon-tax on American families is a feel-good solution in search of a problem. The United States lowered its carbon emissions more than any other country in the world last year. That’s the ninth time that’s happened in the last eighteen years. This reduction is a direct result of technological advancement, such as fracking and horizontal drilling, and the increased use of natural gas. Punitive policies, such as carbon-taxes, do little to decrease carbon emissions, while increasing the cost-of-living for American families. It’s all risk and no reward.
A lifelong conservative businessman, Wayne Christian was elected as our 50th Texas Railroad Commissioner in November 2016. Prior to his time at the Commission, Christian served seven Sessions in the Texas House of Representatives, accumulating a strong record of standing for free markets and against burdensome regulations. In addition to his duties as Commissioner, Christian was appointed by Governor Greg Abbott to serve as the Official Representative of Texas on the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission. Christian is married to his wife, Lisa, and together they have three daughters, Liza, Lindsey and Lauren.
About the Railroad Commission:
Our mission is to serve Texas by our stewardship of natural resources and the environment, our concern for personal and community safety, and our support of enhanced development and economic vitality for the benefit of Texans. The Commission has a long and proud history of service to both Texas and to the nation, including almost 100 years regulating the oil and gas industry. The Commission also has jurisdiction over alternative fuels safety, natural gas utilities, surface mining and intrastate pipelines. Established in 1891, the Railroad Commission of Texas is the oldest regulatory agency in the state. To learn more, please visit https://www.rrc.texas.gov/about-us/.