BY BOB CAMPBELL | Odessa American

ODESSA — Gov. Greg Abbott led a roundtable discussion here Thursday with 16 representatives of all levels of the energy industry and ended by signing an executive order directing all state agencies to fight any constraints that the Biden Administration or Environmental Protection Agency impose or try to impose.

Flanked by Cudd Energy Services General Manager Clint Walker and Diamondback Energy CEO Travis Stice, Abbott held up the order and said to applause, “This is a homework assignment for every agency in Texas.

“I’m directing them to use all their lawful powers and tools to challenge any federal action that threatens the vitality of the energy industry, in which hundreds of thousands of Texans are employed and from which billions of dollars in taxes and royalties flow.”

Citing a comment by Cudd Pump Specialist Jesus Macias, Abbott said, “Jesus made it clear that blue-collar workers on the front lines need to know that they will continue to have jobs and he pointed out that it’s wrong for a president or anybody else to act like these jobs could be ended today.

“Here in the State of Texas, we’re not going to say people need to change jobs. We’ll protect the energy sector from any kind of hostile attack launched from Washington, D.C. Biden’s embrace of the Green New Deal is a job-killer and a wrecking ball to this industry that Texas has provided to the United States of America.”

Governor Greg Abbott participates in a roundtable discussion Thursday afternoon at Cudd Energy Services in Odessa. (Eli Hartman | Odessa American)

Abbott said Biden has hurt energy mainly by signing the Paris Climate Agreement and prohibiting new drilling on federal lands and he said more Green New Deal-inspired actions may be expected.

“I believe the Biden Administration will put on steroids what the Obama Administration did, using the EPA in a very heavy-handed way to impose onerous requirements on the oil and gas sector and make it impossible for them to do business the way they do it today,” he said.

Noting that San Francisco has banned the use of natural gas in such appliances as stoves and water heaters in all new structures, Abbott said to applause that he will propose legislation prohibiting Texas cities and counties “from using political correctness to dictate what energy source you use.”

Acknowledging the presence of state Reps. Brooks Landgraf of Odessa and Tom Craddick of Midland while saying he would count on their support, Abbott added, “My goal is to cut regulations to make it easier for the oil and gas industry to do business.

“When I was attorney general (from 2002-2015) and the Obama Administration was lodging challenge after challenge, I filed 31 lawsuits, most of them against the EPA, and we will continue with that litigation strategy.”

Asked by the Odessa American what are the principal factors in winning a suit vs. the EPA, Abbott said, “By showing that they have gone beyond the bounds of what they’ve been authorized do.

“It’s typical of the bureaucracy to attempt to circumvent the laws passed by Congress.”

During a news conference in the interior of the Cudd complex off South JBS Parkway, the governor noted the backdrop of an enormous oilfield truck and asked Walker what it was, to which the hardhat-wearing general manager quipped, “It’s a piece of equipment.”