Maximizing Our Resources, Minimizing Regulation

We need more energy. Government should get out of the way, let the free market work, and allow more domestic energy production. This would reduce gas prices even in the near-term, expand job opportunities in Texas — a world energy leader — and reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

Senator John Cornyn

Senator Cornyn is an ardent proponent of maximizing Texas’ and America’s energy resource potential as a comprehensive approach for our nation. In the Senate, he has supported efforts to encourage conservation while increasing the responsible production of our domestic sources of fossil fuels, and exploring alternative sources to make our nation more energy secure. 

Texas is the nation’s leading producer of oil and natural gas, and Texas refineries make up almost 30 percent of the nation’s refinery capacity. Texas is also a trailblazer in the area of renewable energy, including wind, solar, and biomass, and our state leads the nation in wind-powered electricity generation capacity. The energy industry is creating millions of American jobs and helping to fuel our economic growth. Senator Cornyn knows that the keys to supporting our robust energy sector include creating a competitive tax and policy environment, providing for a trained workforce, and ensuring sensible regulation.

Senator Cornyn supports environmental policies that ensure economic viability while protecting public health. However, he opposes efforts by federal agencies to expand their regulatory reach beyond their legal authority. Under the Obama Administration, there were numerous examples of EPA overreach and abuse of authority. Senator Cornyn fought those efforts and believes environmental regulations should be based on the best available science and risk-based standards.

Senator Cornyn supports policies that maximize America’s energy potential and enhance our energy security.

  • Cosponsored the Federal Land Freedom Act (S.335; 115th Congress) to establish programs to lease, permit, and regulate the development of all forms of energy resources on federal lands, including renewables.
  • Cosponsored the Fracturing Regulations are Effective in State Hands (FRESH) Act (S.334; 115th Congress) to grant any state sole authority to regulate hydraulic fracturing on all land within the boundaries of the state.
  • Supported lifting the crude oil export ban as part of the Omnibus Appropriations Bill for FY2016 (H.R.2029; 114th Congress).
  • Supported passage of the Keystone XL Pipeline Approval Act (S.1; 114th Congress) to promote North American energy security and create American jobs. Unfortunately, President Obama vetoed this bill that passed both the House and Senate.
  • Cosponsored the Affordable Reliable Electricity Now Act (ARENA) (S.1324; 114th Congress) as well as a resolution of disapproval to repeal regulations proposed under the Clean Power Plan, which would hinder economic growth. 
  • Cosponsored the LNG Permitting Certainty & Transparency Act (S.33; 114th Congress) requiring the Department of Energy to approve or disapprove of applications to export LNG in a timely manner. This would enhance our national security interests while continuing to grow our economy at home.
  • Cosponsored the Offshore Energy and Jobs Act (S.1276; 114th Congress) to open up the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) leasing plan, lift the revenue sharing cap for gulf states, including Texas, under the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA), and provide regulatory relief for oil and gas production in the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Senator Cornyn founded the bipartisan Texas Caucus on Shale Oil & Gas with Congressman Henry Cuellar to serve as an educational resource for Members of Congress focusing on shale oil and gas production in Texas.

Senator Cornyn supports efforts to improve the environment that are based on the best available science and risk-based standards.

Senator Cornyn opposes efforts by federal agencies to expand their regulatory reach beyond their legal authority. Under the Obama Administration, there were numerous examples of EPA overreach and abuse of authority. For example, the EPA has sought to expand its limited federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act to regulate ditches, streams, and wetlands not in proximity to “navigable” waterways, ignoring two recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions.

Additionally, in developing the Cross State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR), the EPA denied Texas the opportunity to provide input by including our state in the final rule, but not in the proposed rule. Furthermore, the EPA has sought to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants, and seeks to limit new plants through requiring standards that are not commercially demonstrated today.

Senator Cornyn has worked to hold regulatory agencies accountable. When agencies discount real-world data or fail to follow due process, they needlessly destroy jobs and threaten whole industries, increasing economic uncertainty and hampering job creation.

  • Cosponsored the Regulations from the Executive In Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act (S.21; 115th Congress) to require that Congress approve every new major rule proposed by the Executive Branch before it can be enforced. Given the scope and magnitude of the EPA’s regulations and their impact on the economy, it is essential that the regulatory process remain transparent and accountable.
  • Cosponsored the ORDEAL Act (S.452; 115th Congress) to prohibit the EPA from finalizing, implementing, or enforcing a revised standard for ozone until 2018 – pushing off what has been called “one of the most expensive regulations in EPA history.”
  • Cosponsored the Ozone Standards Implementation Act of 2017 (S. 263; 115th Congress) to allow states to pursue cost-effective and practical implementation of the EPA’s ozone standards.
  • Cosponsored the Clean Air, Strong Economies Act (S.751; 114th Congress) to prohibit the EPA from lowering the National Ambient Air Quality Standard until 85 percent of counties currently in nonattainment are compliant with the existing standard. 
  • Cosponsored the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (P.L. 114-182) to update and modernize the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) which hadn’t been updated since 1976. This legislation would update and modernize TSCA, preserving an important balance between federal and state authority to ensure transparency, while giving manufacturers and consumers the regulatory certainty they deserve.
  • Cosponsored the Federal Water Quality Protection Act (S. 1140; 114th Congress) to force the EPA and Army Corps to withdraw the expansive final “waters of the United States” rule and propose a new limited rule, but only after consulting with states and impacted stakeholders.

Ensuring Texans Have Reliable Supplies of Water

Senator Cornyn has introduced and passed legislation known as the North Texas Zebra Mussel Barrier Act of 2012 (P.L. 112-237) and the North Texas Invasive Species Barrier Act (P.L. 113-117) to remove bureaucratic barriers preventing local water districts from transporting drinking water out of Lake Texoma. These laws granted an exemption to the Lacey Act, allowing the Texoma Water Pump to reopen and continue providing water to the more than 1.5 million people served by the North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD) and Greater Texoma Utility Authority.

A 1944 treaty governs water sharing between the U.S. and Mexico. Specifically, the treaty provides that Mexico shall deliver a specified amount of water to the U.S. from designated tributaries of the Rio Grande. Unfortunately, Mexico has fallen short of its water obligations to the U.S. under the Treaty. Senator Cornyn has worked with the Trump Administration, the International Boundary and Water Commission, and the Mexican government to ensure that Texas gets the water it is owed.

Senator Cornyn sponsored the Working to Address Treaty Enforcement Rapidly (WATER) Act (S.1125; 113th Congress) to require the State Department to hold Mexico accountable for its obligations under the treaty.

Senator Cornyn believes the best way to promote the long-term health of endangered species and the communities where they reside is through the involvement of local stakeholders.

Senator Cornyn believes proposals to list species as endangered or threatened must be based on sound science and should not be used as a political tool to block job creation and economic development. Unfortunately, the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is increasingly being abused by groups to petition for the listing of species and to file costly lawsuits. Senator Cornyn has been working to keep the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) responsive to Texans’ concerns with regard to endangered species issues and the negative consequences unnecessary listings have on economic development.

Senator Cornyn:

  • Introduced the Endangered Species Act (ESA) Settlement Reform Act (S.375: 115th Congress) to give states, counties, and affected local parties a voice in the closed-door settlement process of ESA litigation between special interest groups and the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS).
  • Introduced the 21st Century Endangered Species Transparency Act (S.376: 115th Congress) to encourage transparency in the Fish and Wildlife Service’s listing processes, by requiring data used in the process to be made publically available.
  • Wrote to Former FWS Director Ashe on several occasions, requesting a 60-day extension on the comment solicitation as well as a six-month extension of the Lesser Prairie Chicken’s listing. Senator Cornyn was successful in this effort, as FWS extended their deadline by six months.
  • Worked with Former FWS Director Ashe on issues regarding the Sand Dune Lizard. At the request of Senator Cornyn, Former Director Ashe visited Midland, where he met with local stakeholders regarding a potential listing of the Sand Dune Lizard. Thanks in part to Sen. Cornyn’s efforts, FWS was able to work out a conservation plan with stakeholders to keep the Sand Dune Lizard off the endangered species list.
  • Worked with Williamson County stakeholders to prevent the proposed endangered species listings of Central Texas salamanders. At the invitation of Sen. Cornyn, Former Director Ashe visited Texas to meet with stakeholders. Following the Senator’s request for a six-month extension on the final listing rules, FWS granted the extension for the Georgetown and Salado salamanders.

  Return to All Issues