A Boost for the Texas economy? Not at the expense of the Koch brothers

June 8, 2015

Texas lieutenant governor and redder than red Tea Partier Dan Patrick called for it. Texas Republican-establishment favorite and state House Speaker Joe Strauss pushed it. Democratic state Senator Carlos Uresti introduced it. Even environmentalists and pipeline companies were agreeing on it. So what stopped the bipartisan energy policy that would have boosted the Texas economy by increasing the demand for natural gas? None other than Koch Industries.

According to the Texas Tribune, the bills in question “would have incentivized state agencies, counties and cities to convert their oil-guzzling fleets to those that run on natural gas or other alternative fuels” as well as updated the Texas Emissions Reduction Plan to increase its efficiency.

By increasing the demand for natural gas, the policy “would have been a shot in the arm for the economy, and it would have continued to build on the infrastructure,” Uresti told the Texas Tribune. But the problem with an increased demand is it comes with an increased price. And for the Koch brothers, whose refineries largely run on natural gas, it would have likely meant a ding to their profits. So, using their standard line — “opposed any and all subsidies” — and tapping into their network of cronies, Koch Industries quickly killed the legislation.

Oil gets most of the credit for keeping the Texas economy afloat while the rest of the country suffered a harsh recession, but there’s evidence that the rise of natural gas helped as well. This has allowed for Republicans to point to the “Texas miracle” in support of their more controversial economic policies. Despite that, the Koch brothers aren’t interested in helping out their fellow GOPers, let alone the actual people of Texas. Why? Because it would cost them their bottom line.

Paid for by American Bridge 21st Century Foundation