Texas lawmakers, including some Democrats, are criticizing President Biden’s early actions on energy and environmental protection despite the oil and gas industry’s flagging employment in the state and the potential for renewable energy growth there. Oil, gas, mining, and quarrying jobs shrunk as a proportion of Texas employment from 2014 to the beginning of 2020 —before the coronavirus pandemic cratered oil demand, and well before Joe Biden was elected. Two of Biden’s highest-profile energy actions, blocking the Keystone XL pipeline and pausing new drilling on federal lands, are likely to have minimal effects on Texas; the pipeline’s construction jobs likely wouldn’t have come from Texas and hardly any drilling in Texas is on public lands.
Even before Biden took office, private companies headquartered or with major operations in Texas were transitioning away from fossil fuels. “These trends don’t start with or are caused by the Biden administration,” Tim Latimer, a former drilling engineer with BHP Billiton and CEO of Houston’s Fervo Energy, a geothermal energy company that uses horizontal drilling to improve its products’ effectiveness, told the Texas Tribune. “It’s about what customers want, what young people want, what international corporations want. Everyone wants a new world that’s focused on solving climate issues.” (Texas Tribune)