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Senate OKs "Strategic" Energy Exploration Council

The Senate today approved creation of the Texas Energy Policy Council, which would be in charge of planning a long-term strategy for potential exploration and production of both renewable and nonrenewable energy.

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The Senate approved creation of the Texas Energy Policy Council today, which would be in charge of planning a long-term strategy for potential exploration and production of both renewable and nonrenewable energy.

“Currently Texas lacks any kind of strategic planning process for exploration, production and development,” said Sen. Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay. “The council would come up with market-based recommendations to deliver to the legislature.”

Multiple amendments were adopted on the Senate floor. Fraser welcomed an amendment by Sen. Steve Ogden, R-Bryan, which would “allow stranded or wasted natural gas to be turned into electricity,” should natural gas producers choose to do so. An amendment by Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, which requires the council to consider all types of energy, was also adopted. The amendment is “intended so there will be no discrimination against renewable energy sources,” Seliger said. Fraser also amended his own bill to add another member to the council board who would represent the interests of low-income energy users.

The council would be made up of various members from state agencies, legislators, and energy and environmental experts appointed by the governor.

The state agencies represented on the board would have specific responsibilities, including reporting on existing oil and natural gas reserves and electric energy generation in Texas, and making recommendations for how to most effectively comply with state and federal environmental regulations.  

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