Culminating a series of Government Affairs townhalls, PESA hosted U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) on December 16 for a discussion of key policy issues the oilfield services and equipment sector is likely to face over the next two years. Throughout 2020, these townhalls served as platforms for PESA members to hear directly from congressional representatives and candidates for office on issues affecting the OFS sector.
The townhall, hosted by PESA Advisory Board Member and Government Affairs Committee Chair Todd Ennenga, Halliburton, gave the Senator an opportunity to discuss his views on the incoming Biden administration and his priorities as Congress finishes working on an end of year spending and stimulus bill. Cruz most recently spoke with PESA members during the Washington D.C. Fly-In in February, where he reiterated his strong support for the oil and gas industry.
During the virtual meeting, Cruz described Texas as an “entrepreneurial haven” and praised the industry for the innovations that drove increased oil and gas production over the past decade.
“The shale revolution has transformed not just the country, but the world,” Cruz said. “It’s driven down costs. It’s created a profound national security shift. And it’s all driven by the incredible ability to extract oil and gas from shale formations.”
Cruz expressed concern that this progress is in jeopardy under a Biden Administration and said he would work to protect the oil and gas industry.
“One of my jobs is to fight for energy and fight for the high-paying jobs in Texas and around the country in the oil and gas industry,” Cruz said. “We need to make the case for why these jobs are so important.”
PESA Advisory Board Member Doug Polk, Vallourec, asked the Senator about his view of John Kerry serving as “Special Presidential Envoy for Climate” and the potential declaration of a “climate emergency.”
Cruz believes those two elements are part of President-elect Biden’s groundwork to rejoin the Paris Agreement. He argued the Paris Agreement is a serious threat to American jobs and the economy, which is why he urged President Trump to withdraw from the deal. He said he’s urging Trump to send the agreement to the Senate as a treaty. Senate approval requires a two-thirds majority vote to be approved and would prevent the agreement from being implemented through unilateral executive action.
The Senator emphasized the importance of the Senate composition and the election in Georgia. He said Democrats would end the filibuster if they win those seats in January. If they do, Cruz said, Democrats would pass the Green New Deal, implement a massive tax increase, admit the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico as new states, and might add four new seats on the Supreme Court.
Cruz warned attendees of new legislation and regulation that could be enacted from a Democratic-controlled Senate, including a nationwide ban on fracking. If Republicans hold the majority, he said they would be able to leverage concessions from the incoming administration via the confirmation process for cabinet positions.
PESA Advisory Board Member Quay McKnight, M&M International, asked the Senator about who PESA and the oil and gas industry can reach out to as allies to build coalitions in Congress. The Senator felt Senator Manchin would be the best initial target but said he did not see many Democrat allies otherwise.
PESA Advisory Board Member Etienne Roux, Weatherford, relayed concerns from the sector regarding potential actions by the new administration to limit access to public lands. Cruz said he does not expect the Biden administration to consider economic consequences in states like Texas and Louisiana.
“They’ll take a chainsaw to those jobs,” Cruz said.
Cruz expressed concern about how a reduction of oil and gas production in the United States would increase reliance and imports on foreign production and have a negative impact on environmental progress.
“You end up hurting the environment more by eliminating U.S. oil and gas production,” Cruz said.
Ennenga asked for more information about the Senator’s thoughts on President-elect Biden’s foreign policy plans. Cruz, who serves on the Foreign Relations Committee, believes the Biden administration’s first foreign policy priority will be to re-enter the Iran Nuclear Deal, which the Senator urged Trump to pull out of. He was not sure what the new administration’s position will be on Nord Stream 2, a proposed pipeline between Russia and Germany. The Senator has led opposition to the pipeline’s construction and continues to work to prevent it from being built.
Cruz concluded his remarks and questions by saying that obtaining liability language in the upcoming spending bill appears to be locked in partisan gridlock and he is not optimistic about inclusion.
“Negotiations are very uphill,” Cruz said. “I see much more potential for liability protections at the state level.”
PESA looks forward to hosting additional congressional townhalls in 2021. If you would like to join the Government Affairs committee, please reach out to Vice President Government Affairs Tim Tarpley.