While her campaign has been mostly silent on issues regarding the state’s lucrative oil and gas business, Democratic gubernatorial nominee Wendy Davis’ legislative record shows her taking positions outside the Texas mainstream.
Davis voted against legislation in 2011 that sought to protect the state’s economy from the Obama Administration’s Environmental Protection Agency. SB 875 created new defenses against regulatory takings through “public nuisance” claims; 23 of 31 senators and 135 of 150 House members voted for the legislation. Davis joined the most liberal wing of the Democratic Party in opposing the protections.
The bill’s sponsor, State Sen. Troy Fraser (R-Horshoe Bay) said at the time that the legislation was necessary to prevent the “unchecked” the actions of environmentalists whose regulations would produce a “severe detrimental impact on businesses.”
In her first legislative session two years earlier, Davis introduced legislation that would have placed heavy new burdens on the oil and gas industry.
“Through proper planning, the cost to operators is offset by the value of the recovered natural gas that would otherwise be vented or flared into the atmosphere,” wrote Davis in the “author’s intent” section of the bill analysis. There is no record of Davis having experience in the oil and gas industry that would substantiate her “planning” claims.
That legislation passed the Senate but died in the House.
It is not just Davis’ partisan critics who say she is working against the oil and gas business. Writing at the Huffington Post, Paris-based writer Vivian Norris — who “holds a PhD, focusing on Globalization Studies–described Davis as having “made her voice heard speaking out against fracking in the Barnett Shale region of Texas.”
Indeed, Davis has authored amendments considered “anti-fracking” to legislation–without success. In 2011, Davis sought to amend HB 3328 three times (#3, #4 and #5) that were considered “poison pill” tactics.
While that might appeal to the Huffington Post crowd in France, the sell in Texas might be harder for Davis. The oil and gas boom — driven in part by fracking — has been credited for creating tens of thousands of new jobs for Texans, and put more than $30 billion into the state coffers since 2010.
Follow Michael Quinn Sullivan on Twitter @MQSullivan