The (Oil and Gas) Republic of Texas

It appears Texas is about to join states such as Oklahoma, Indiana, and South Dakota in the 10th Amendment craze that is sweeping the nation. These states and others are introducing, and in some cases now passing, Resolutions of Sovereignty. The 10th Amendment to the Constitution is quite simple, and declares: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people. In populist terms, these declarations are currently expressions of public disgust at Washington’s behavior in the wake of the financial crisis. While this may seem quaint, these declarations are legal platforms for future secession from the Union.


Given that Texas, starting with Cortez in 1519, has functioned under six flags already I thought it might behoove to take a quick look at how Texas might fare under a seventh. Specifically, with respect to the supply of Oil and Gas. Would an independent Texas be able to produce enough oil and gas to serve its own population, with some left over for export ? Indeed it would. In fact, Texas produces more oil than any other state and accounts for 19.7% of total US output. Texas also produces more than 30% of US natural gas supply. Texas does consume a goodly portion of its own oil output, about 75% of what it produces. But, it only consumes half of its own natural gas production. For secessionists, these numbers look good.

Today I tweeted that perhaps taking early citizenship in Texas might be a wise idea. While an actual Texas secession from the union would no doubt be a spectacular, historic event–replete with enormous legal problems over property rights–I must say it’s not impossible. And with respect to Oil and Gas production, I see no reason why a resurrected Texas Republic could not revolve oil and gas royalties currently paid to the federal government back to itself. And thus, preserve private company property rights for all current drilling and lease operations, as they are.

While the days of price setting by the Texas Railroad Commission are long since over, the RRC is still very much alive and operable in its regulatory and information gathering capacity. Frankly, although the EIA in Washington produces state by state oil and gas production data, it’s kinda fun to look over the RRC statistics and know that Texas is in charge of its own.

No doubt some of my readers will find this all very premature. I believe the late December article in the Wall Street Journal, featuring a Russian analyst’s forecast of a US breakup, was also met with a maximum smirk. See: In Moscow, Igor Panarin’s Forecasts Are All the Rage; America ‘Disintegrates’ in 2010. Fair enough. But I suspect that before 2009 is through, some mainstream journalists will spend time in the Lone Star State, taking a more serious gauge of the public’s mood towards Sovereignty and the 10th Amendment movement. Until then, do watch Texas Governor Rick Perry’s recent press conference on the Sovereignty Resolution.


Photo: Texas Republic Three Dollar Bill c. 1839