Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce Energy Summit

President and CEO of Mewbourne Oil Ken Waits conducts a question and answer session Thursday with U.S. Sen. John Cornyn at the Northeast Texas Energy Summit in Tyler.

TYLER — U.S. Sen. John Cornyn said Thursday during the Northeast Texas Energy Summit in Tyler that he is concerned “climate change has become a religion” over oil and gas.

“We are fighting a battle these days in Washington, D.C.,” said Cornyn, the senior Republican U.S. senator from Texas. “Unfortunately, climate change has become a religion. It is very difficult because most of the time, people take for granted what you (oil and gas supporters in attendance) do day-in and day-out, which is to provide low-cost, clean, self-sufficient energy. And at low cost for people on fixed income, seniors and the like.

“You would think the country would appreciate that and want to see that continue,” Cornyn continued. “I think right now, President Biden’s guiding principle is, whatever the previous administration did, we are going to undo it. They have not thought about what the second and third order consequences would be.”

The energy summit, sponsored by the Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce and the Texas Oil & Gas Association, was held at the Green Acres CrossWalk Conference Center in Tyler.

Cornyn was asked about “moving the power sector to 100 percent emissions-free electricity by 2035” and the impact that would have on Texas.

“I think it’s pure fantasy. Again, it’s part of the cult or religion of renewable energy,” he said. “It’s just a Green New Deal wearing other clothes. Obviously, we are taking what is a great national asset and jeopardizing that by taxing it into oblivion. But this is not part of the narrative in D.C. This industry does its job so well, people take it for granted.”

Cornyn said he is working on bipartisan proposals to provide funding to weatherize infrastructure in states like California and Texas.

“We were not prepared (for the winter snow storm in February). If you ask for people to pay for something in the unlikely event of something happening, they will say ‘No, that’s not the best use of tax dollars.’ Is there something at the federal level we can do?” he said.

As for the cyberattack on oil and gas pipelines in May, Cornyn said he considers broadband to be a part of critical infrastructure in America.

“One of the biggest vulnerabilities to our country is cyberattacks. The only two good things that came out of COVID-19 were telemedicine and margaritas to go. But we learned having access to broadband is so important, especially with our students (learning from home),” Cornyn said. “But our adversaries around the world, particularly China and to some extent, Russia, have a totally different view of the internet.

“First of all, their citizens do not get access to the internet or information. There is the great firewall of China. It’s a police state; they do not want their citizens to learn what is happening in America or other places in the world,” Cornyn continued. “And they attack our steel. Russia uses cyberattacks, not so much to steal IP, but to create disruption and chaos in our society. We have to up our game.”

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