PENSION REFORM, RESTORE ACT ALSO AMONG ISSUES ADDRESSED
HOUSTON – The Greater Houston Partnership’s (GHP) Board of Directors met today to consider and pass several resolutions important to the Houston business community and GHP’s ten county region.Resolutions to reconsider the inclusion of Texas in the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR), increased domestic hydrocarbons production, the RESTORE the Gulf Coast Act and city of Houston pension reform were among the resolutions passed by the Board.
GHP’s Board of Directors passed a resolution by unanimous consent that requests the Environmental Protection Agency agree to reconsider and stay the portion of the CSAPR that includes Texas. CSAPR requires 27 states to reduce power plant emissions that contribute to ozone and/or fine particle pollution. CSAPR will lead to further taxes on the electric generating capacity in Texas, a system which has been on the brink of rolling blackouts due to high temperatures for much of the summer.By unanimous consent, GHP’s Board of Directors passed a resolution in support of increased domestic hydrocarbons production.
On March 30, 2011, President Obama introduced his energy plan for America. In his plan, the president called for increased domestic drilling and a one-third reduction in foreign oil imports by 2025. Despite the pronouncement, there is increasing concern that the current administration has challenged domestic oil and gas production with costly new regulations and blocked exploration on potentially oil-rich tracts onshore and off.
The domestic hydrocarbons industry is currently challenged by: Restricted access to potential resources;· Slow process to obtain leases and permits for oil and natural gas exploration; and·Threat of repeal of federal tax policies that encourage hydrocarbon exploration and production. GHP encourages the administration to increase access to new hydrocarbon resources by leasing areas with promising resource potential, expediting permitting to explore and develop existing leases and to engage the United States Congress to determine the appropriate level of environmental regulation, recognizing the interdependencies between environmental, economic and energy security goals.
GHP’s Board of Directors also passed a resolution in support of pension reform in the city of Houston. GHP believes Mayor Parker and local government officials should take all necessary steps to insure that the city will have actuarially sound pension plans adequately funded out of current tax revenues. GHP believes this will result in greater economic stability for both the city and its employees. The Board also endorsed the Texas Water-Stewardship Tax Amendment (Proposition 8 on the November 8, 2011 General Election Ballot).
The purpose of the amendment is to model a private sector incentive similar to the current ones used for agriculture and wildlife protection that would encourage landowners to engage in good water stewardship practices on private lands. In Houston and Harris County, the benefits of Proposition 8 could be substantial since both the city and county are increasingly dependent on surface water. Additionally, the Board, by unanimous consent, outlined their support for the Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revised Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act of 2011 (RESTORE the Gulf Coast Act) introduced by Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana.
The RESTORE the Gulf Coast Act directs 80 percent of administrative, civil or criminal penalties in connection with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill to be placed into the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund in order to restore coastal ecosystems and economies along the Gulf Coast. In addition to directing the reallocation of penalty monies, the RESTORE the Gulf Coast Act also provides needed resources to Gulf Coast states to start recovery immediately, establishes a Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council and a Comprehensive Plan for the Gulf Coast and establishes a Long Term Science and Fisheries Endowment and Gulf Coast Centers of Excellence.
Other resolutions passed by GHP’s Board of Directors during today’s meeting included: A resolution honoring the service of Dr. Larry Faulkner as president of the Houston Endowment. A resolution congratulating Drayton McLane and Jon Lindsay upon their induction into the Texas Transportation Hall of Honor.
Following the Board meeting, John Watson, chairman and CEO of Chevron, spoke to GHP’s Membership about the energy economy and energy security as a path to prosperity as part GHP’s Thought Leaders Series.
For more information on the resolutions passed by GHP’s Board of Directors or an interview with Jeff Moseley, President and CEO, GHP or Larry Kellner, Chairman, GHP’s Board of Directors, please contact Micah Hirschfield, Vice President, Communications, at (713) 844-3642.
The Greater Houston Partnership is the primary advocate of Houston’s business community and is dedicated to building regional economic prosperity. It represents 10 counties: Austin, Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery, San Jacinto and Waller. With more than 2,100 Member organizations, GHP represents approximately one-fifth of the region’s work force.
Visit GHP at houston.org.
Micah Hirschfield- Vice President, Communications
(713) 844-3642 – Office
(713) 899-2395 – Mobile