For decades, radical environmental extremists have waged war on oil and gas by touting claims of “man-made climate change” supposedly caused by the industry.

But now it appears the head of the Texas Oil and Gas Association, a “statewide trade association representing every facet of the Texas oil and gas industry,” is jumping on the liberal bandwagon.

Todd Staples, a Republican who previously served as the state’s Agriculture Commissioner and now heads up TXOGA, told reporters on a conference call on Tuesday that he believed climate change was real and the oil and gas industry, as well as other industries, were to blame.

The story was first reported by KUT, the Austin-based NPR affiliate, who took notice of comments made by Staples in which he said, “I think Texas is at risk if we don’t have a very real, factual-based conversation about our climate, about our environment, and about the progress that needs to be made.”

“I think Texas-based oil and natural gas companies are committed to making climate progress. They’re committed to a lower emissions future,” he added.

When pressed by reporters as to whether he believed oil and gas emissions were to blame for climate change, Staples replied, “We believe that all emissions contribute to climate change, and we believe that our industry is committed to doing our part to make improvements.”

Though the comment appeared to take many reporters by surprise, Staples told KUT that his position was “consistent” with previous statements by TXOGA.

The Texas oil and gas industry employed 428,234 Texans in 2019 and contributed over $16 billion in state and local taxes, according to a recently released report by TXOGA.

Texas Scorecard has asked TXOGA for additional comment on the matter but has not received a response as of publishing. This article will be updated should one be received.

Brandon Waltens

Brandon serves as the Senior Editor for Texas Scorecard. After managing successful campaigns for top conservative legislators and serving as a Chief of Staff in the Texas Capitol, Brandon moved outside the dome in order to shine a spotlight on conservative victories and establishment corruption in Austin. @bwaltens