Abbott Warns Trump: Steel Tariffs Could Cripple Texas Oil Production

Governor Abbott has broken with President Trump in the increasingly significant issue of tariffs, News Radio 1200 WOAI reprots.

In a letter to the President, Abbott urges Trump not to go through with his plan to impose significant tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, saying they could badly damage the state's booming energy industry.

Abbott says he understands the President's desire to protect jobs in the metal industries, but warns he risks doing that by damaging jobs in the Texas oil and gas industry, and driving up gas prices at the pump in the process.

"Attempting to protect these jobs through the new tariffs could jeopardize the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of Texans and other Americans employed in the oil and gas industry," Abbott wrote in the letter, which was obtained by 1200 WOAI news.

Todd Staples, who is President of the Texas Oil and Gas Association, says his industry needs steel now more than ever, to get oil from the booming shale fields in the Eagle Ford and Permian Basin to refineries so it can be made into gasoline and other products.

"We need steel, we need pipelines, we need the specialty steel that just isn't produced in large quantities in the U.S.," Staples told News Radio 1200 WOAI news.  "We agree with Gov. Abbott that tariffs will increase prices in specialty steel and that would threaten increased domestic production of oil and natural gas."

Analysts say the U.S. is on the verge of becoming the world's largest oil producer, and that increased production is countering efforts by OPEC nations and Russia to raise prices.  But if U.S. production is artificially curtailed, the result will be skyrocketing gasoline prices for consumers, something President Trump, ironically, has condemned.

"This industry has been a job creator in Texas and across the nation, and those jobs are threatened because of these tariffs," Staples said.

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