Plan to cut methane emissions could yield 35,000 new union jobs in Texas, study finds

The report appears to contradict energy industry claims that reining in emissions will kill jobs.

A pump jack operates in rural Texas. - Wikimedia Commons / Flcelloguy
Wikimedia Commons / Flcelloguy
A pump jack operates in rural Texas.
Reducing methane emissions in Texas could create 35,000 union jobs in the state, according to a new study by the Texas Climate Jobs Project and the Ray Marshall Center at the University of Texas at Austin.

The Lone Star State stands to gain 20,000 jobs specific to implementing proposed EPA standards for slashing emissions of the greenhouse gas, researchers found. An additional 15,000 jobs would involve long-term methane reduction maintenance, with about a third of those workers capping abandoned oil and gas wells.

Scientists consider slashing methane emissions a key step in fighting climate change. It's a potent greenhouse gas, second only to carbon dioxide, and Texas emits more of it than any there state.

The report appears to contradict claims from the energy industry and its legislative allies, who argue that reining in emissions will kill jobs and lead to economic decline. Further, the researchers note that many of the created jobs would be high-quality positions protected with union pay and benefits. 

“This report outlines a clear path forward for the benefit of countless Texans,” Texas Rep. Erin Zwiener, D-Driftwood, said in a written statement. “We need to do better for the workers in construction and oil and gas while also cutting our emissions. This report shows that when it comes to creating high-quality jobs and protecting our environment, methane mitigation is a win-win.”

Zwiner chairs the Texas House Caucus on Climate, Environment, and the Energy Industry.

The EPA's latest methane rules call for new standards for equipment used in oil and gas production. It also provides federal funding for states to plug abandoned wells. Those proposed changes would boost employment in the state's energy industry by as much as 9%, the study's authors found.

“There is a new industrial revolution taking place, right now, under our noses,” said Texas AFL-CIO President Rick Levy said in a written statement. “Mitigating methane in Texas can benefit the environment and create thousands of union jobs with workers who are well-trained, paid a family-sustaining wage and receive the benefits they deserve. These jobs are going to set the course of this country for generations to come.”

Subscribe to SA Current newsletters.

Follow us: Apple News | Google News | NewsBreak | Reddit | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter


Since 1986, the SA Current has served as the free, independent voice of San Antonio, and we want to keep it that way.

Becoming an SA Current Supporter for as little as $5 a month allows us to continue offering readers access to our coverage of local news, food, nightlife, events, and culture with no paywalls.

Join today to keep San Antonio Current.

Scroll to read more San Antonio News articles

Join SA Current Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.