GUEST VIEW: Energy security is national security

By U.S. Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas

West Texans are active in U.S. foreign policy

Folks in the 23rd District know well that West Texas energy fuels our economy. In fact, the Texas portion of the Permian Basin alone provides more than 444,000 jobs, contributes more than $60.2 billion to the Gross State Product of Texas and generates $113.6 billion in economic output for local communities.

What’s equally as important is that energy security is national security. Many folks don’t realize the hardworking Texans getting in their trucks each morning to work on nearby rigs or at refineries are doing much more than earning a paycheck – they are playing an important role protecting our nation from threats abroad. Here’s why:

Due to the discovery of significant reserves across the United States, including the Permian Basin, the nation has ramped up domestic oil production. In doing so, we have reduced our dependence on other oil producing nations while concurrently securing and improving our economy. Countries across the globe are now looking to the United States to supply energy, ultimately diminishing the influence of other countries, such as Russia, on the industry. It is exciting that TX-23 is ground zero for North American energy dominance and so many hardworking Texans have a hand in our foreign policy by simply doing their jobs.

Recently, I spent a week in West Texas with employers, constituents and energy stakeholders to see their contributions firsthand in the Delaware Basin, a portion of the Permian Basin that spans across Culberson, Jeff Davis, Loving, Pecos, Reeves, Ward and Winkler Counties. I started my trip in Orla where I visited a new natural gas processing plant. With more than $250 million invested to ensure the safe and responsible development of this facility, more jobs for the hardworking folks in TX-23 are on the way.

In addition to hosting an energy roundtable in Fort Stockton, a town hall in Monahans and visiting facilities in Balmorhea and Pecos, I toured the site of a new refinery outside of Fort Stockton. This will be the first project of its kind built in the United States in 47 years. The refinery operator chose Fort Stockton because of the available land, access to natural resources and the South Orient-Texas Pacifico railroad that travels to Mexico through the border town of Presidio. My office worked with Texas Department of Transportation to secure grant funding to begin fixing an ailing rail line and the Presidio rail bridge that previously burned in a fire. It is particularly rewarding to see this private-sector investment in our community that will help grow jobs in the area and improve the economy.

The United States is a global powerhouse due to so many Texans who support the energy industry right here in our backyard. West Texas energy fuels our economy, fosters thousands of local jobs and allows us to bolster our national security by relying less on other oil-producing countries for natural resources. I’ll continue to work with my colleagues in our nation’s capital to create pro-growth policies to ensure South and West Texas continues to thrive.