President Donald Trump sought to give a morale boost to the beleaguered Texas energy industry during a visit Wednesday to the Permian Basian, while also rallying oil-and-gas workers against Democrats ahead of the November election.
“We are telling the Washington politicians trying to abolish American energy: Don’t mess with Texas,” Trump said during an afternoon speech at Double Eagle Energy in Midland, following an oil rig tour and fundraiser in nearby Odessa.
Trump's comments doubled as part campaign speech, part policy announcement, as he repeatedly assailed Democrats' energy proposals and predicted their presumptive presidential nominee, Joe Biden, would not "do too well in Texas" as a result. Polls continue to show a close competition in the once-solidly red state.
As for policy, Trump announced an extension for liquified natural gas exporters, following through with the Department of Energy’s proposal earlier this year to extend export contracts through the year 2050. Trump also announced permits “granting approval to vital pipeline and railway infrastructure” along the U.S.-Mexico border, including “two permits allowing the export of Texas crude to Mexico,” which he signed after speaking, alongside Texas Republicans who joined him in Midland.
For now, though, the industry continues to face severe headwinds from the coronavirus pandemic. Trump touted his administration's actions to help the reeling industry earlier this year, including a deal with Saudi Arabia and Russia to drastically cut production.
"We were very close to losing a very powerful, great industry," Trump said, "and now we're back and we're just gonna keep expanding."
Among the permits that Trump signed was one that granted the company NuStar Energy permission to operate and maintain existing pipelines underneath the Rio Grande that transports hydrocarbons and petroleum products through a 46-mile pipeline from Hidalgo County into northern Mexico. Another permit Trump signed allows for Kansas City Southern Railway Company to build and operate a new international railway bridge in Laredo, the type of cross-border project on the international boundary that requires a presidential permit.
Still, politics consumed a considerable amount of Trump's speech, as he warned the "radical left ... is fighting to abolish American energy, destroy the oil and gas industries, and wipe out your jobs."