Special to the Register
District 68 State Rep. Drew Springer (R-Muenster), who recently took office in championing legislation for his district’s 22 counties, has joined the House Energy Caucus as vice-chair.
Initiated by state Rep.. Drew Darby (R-San Angelo,) the 40-member caucus is primarily intended as an educational tool.
“The House Energy Caucus will focus on policy issues regarding traditional energy production such as oil, gas and coal, as well as alternative energy including wind and solar power, and emerging technologies such as clean coal/coal gasification and biomass,” Kate Raetz, Darby's legislative director, said in a recent e-mail. “In addition, the caucus will identify, research and build coalitions to help resolve the social, environmental, and infrastructure issues faced by areas of the state that are experiencing significant impacts from increased activity related to the energy industry.”
Texas leads the nation in its share of total energy produced — 15.3 percent, according to 2010 figures from the Energy Information Administration — in oil, natural gas, wind energy and other sources, getting billions of dollars every year in taxes and hundreds of thousands of jobs through oil and gas alone.
The frenzy of activity comes with its share of controversy, environmental concerns and water and transportation issues among them.
“This state's energy industry is revitalizing our state through innovative technologies and significant economic investment,” Darby said.
During a local Republican forum in November, Springer said his campaign included the travel of 12,000 miles throughout the district’s 22 counties to tell the public that in the coming months, he intends to spend time in Austin pushing for corrective legislation in the “four really big” areas of education, water, transportation and Medicaid.
Such legislation, he said in November, may reduce the federal government’s presence in those areas.
“At the end of the day — and what most of it is — is that we’re just tired of too much government,” Springer said, adding that he intends to serve his district from a new Gainesville office. “And from a state perspective, we’ve always complained about the federal government shoving all this stuff down on us. But you know what? The cities and counties are tired of the state shoving everything down on them and telling them what to do.”
He also said he planned to collaborate with representatives of regions in West Texas to discuss topics kindred to natural resources, population growth, agricultural needs and all the costs that follow. Springer added that in regards to all these issues, many of the state’s partnerships with the federal government are horrific.
“I believe in smaller governments, and we need fewer regulations and ones that make more sense,” he said. “We have too many stupid regulations we have to live with, and I need your help to tell me what those are.”
The newly formed caucus includes: Rep. Charles "Doc" Anderson (R-Waco), Rep. Trent Ashby (R-Lufkin), Rep. Cecil Bell (R-Magnolia), Rep. Dwayne Bohac (R-Houston), Rep. Greg Bonnen (R-Friendswood), Rep. Cindy Burkett (R-Garland), Rep. Lon Burnam (D-Fort Worth), Rep. Giovanni Capriglione (R-Southlake), Rep. Stefani Carter (R-Dallas), Rep. Travis Clardy (R-Nacogdoches), Rep. Tom Craddick (R-Midland), Rep. Myra Crownover (R-Denton), Rep. Tony Dale (R-Cedar Park), Rep. Marsha Farney (R-Georgetown), Rep. James Frank (R-Wichita Falls), Rep. Dan Huberty (R-Kingwood), Rep. Kyle Kacal (R-Bryan-College Station), Rep. Ken King (R-Canadian), Rep. Phil King (R-Weatherford), Rep. Susan King (R-Abilene), Rep. Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham), Rep. Matt Krause (R-Fort Worth), Rep. Tryon Lewis (R-Odessa), Rep. J.M. Lozano (R-Kingsville), Rep. Eddie Lucio III (D-Harlingen), Rep. Doug Miller (R-New Braunfels), Rep. Jim Murphy (R-Houston), Rep. Poncho Nevárez (D-Eagle Pass), Rep. Rob Orr (R-Burleson).