Landgraf, Speaker Phelan Push Back Against Federal Overreach in the Permian Basin

ODESSA — State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) and Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont) spoke to a crowd of oil and gas workers in Odessa on Thursday regarding the potential non-attainment designation of portions of the Texas Permian Basin by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

“The Permian Basin is on the frontlines of Biden’s war on American energy,” Speaker Phelan said. “Biden’s EPA is grasping at straws, using out-of-state data to force additional and unnecessary regulations on Texas oil and natural gas production. This will hurt the United States just as much as it will hurt Texas; impacting upstream communities here in the Permian Basin and downstream communities like my hometown of Beaumont, of course, but also daily life on the U.S. east and west coasts and everywhere in between. I’m here today to publicly take a stand and affirm that the Texas House will fight to protect the Permian Basin because it is the right thing to do for Texas, for our country, and for freedom.”

In June, citing data obtained from air quality monitors in New Mexico, the EPA announced its intention to consider redesignating the Texas portion of the Permian Basin as a “non-attainment” area – an area that does not meet the standards of the 2015 Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). If finalized, this proposal would require the state implement a plan to bring the area into attainment with the NAAQS, ultimately resulting in further regulatory burdens on the oil and gas industry in the Permian Basin that could slow production and reduce supply. The announced action is discretionary, meaning there is no law requiring the EPA to take this action, and that the president has the authority to stop the EPA’s rogue action.

“The EPA is acting against U.S. economic and national security interests, and, ironically, environmental interests as well,” Landgraf said. “I’m thankful Speaker Phelan is fighting for Texas energy and defending the Permian Basin. When the game is on the line, you want your best players out on the field, so I’m thankful we have the Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives on our team.”

“The EPA has messed with Texas, and Texas is fighting back,” Landgraf concluded.

If President Biden does not direct the EPA to stand down, the next step of the redesignation process, according to the Clean Air Act, is a notification letter sent to the governors of Texas and New Mexico, creating the opportunity for affected states to provide feedback. The EPA then has to wait at least 240 days before a final redesignation decision can be made.