Governor requests disaster declaration

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AUSTIN — Gov. Greg Abbott on Jan. 13 asked for a presidential disaster declaration for three counties that sustained widespread damage attributed to severe thunderstorms, straight-line winds, hail and tornadoes.

The stormy weather on Oct. 20-21 hit Cameron, Dallas and Erath counties. Abbott’s request includes public assistance and hazard mitigation. If Abbott’s request is grant

If Abbott’s request is granted, local jurisdictions will be eligible for federal reimbursement for the cost of disasterrelated debris removal, emergency measures to protect life and property and permanent repair work to damaged or destroyed infrastructure such as roads, bridges, water treatment facilities, parks and publicly owned property.

Miller hails trade deal

When President Donald Trump signed the “Phase One” trade agreement with China on Jan. 15, Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller called it “huge, Texas-sized news.”

The agreement calls for China to increase its purchase of U.S.-produced goods by $200 billion, including the import of agricultural products by $40 billion to $50 billion over the next two years.

U.S. negotiators agreed to cut tariffs in half on goods from China, from 15% down to 7.5%.

Agency set record again

During calendar year 2019 the Texas Railroad Commission processed a record 11,654 new drilling permits.

The Lone Star State’s oil and gas industry regulating agency announced its staff also set a record in taking just two days on average to process standard drilling permits, one day below the Legislative requirement.

Also, according to a Jan. 13 news release, the agency processed permits at this fasterthan-required rate for two years in a row, beginning incalendar year 2018.

“The Railroad Commission’s technological solutions enable operators to quickly apply for and receive drilling permits,” said Wei Wang, executive director of the agency. “Nearly 99% of operators apply for drilling permits online. This allows our staff to thoroughly and quickly review each application to ensure operators meet all drilling permit requirements.”

Texas leads the nation in oil and gas production, with the Permian Basin in West Texas ranking as the nation’s top energy production region. In the last 12 months Texas operators reported 1.438 billion barrels of oil produced and almost 10 trillion cubic feet of gas.

The U.S. Geological Survey estimates the Permian Basin contains 66 billion barrels of oil, nearly 300 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 21 billion barrels of natural gas liquids in the Midland and Delaware Basins.

“Texas will continue to be the nation’s leader in energy production,” Wang said.