Interview with Chuck Crews

Chuck Crews

This week I have two interviews with candidates for State Representative. Chuck Crews knows that he’s running in one of the reddest districts in Harris County in HD128, but he’s also running against one of the worst people in the Legislature. I’m talking about Briscoe Cain, avid election denier and forced-birth fanatic whose stated priorities for the next session are to punish everyone who has ever had anything to do with abortion. You couldn’t find a better contrast in Crews, a chemical engineer who has also worked in the insurance business before joining the Beto for Senate campaign in 2018 and becoming a fulltime activist, and who has both a deep understanding of issues as well as actual compassion and empathy. He has a tough challenge ahead of him but he’s facing it head on. You can hear us talk about it all here:


All interviews and Q&As through the primary runoffs
Michelle Palmer – SBOE6

As always, everything you could want to know about the Democratic candidates can be found at the Erik Manning spreadsheet.

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8 Responses to Interview with Chuck Crews

  1. Bill Daniels says:

    Chuck wants the petrochemical and oil and gas industries to run better, cleaner, and safer. A few thoughts about that:

    First, instead of agreeing with Briscoe, ‘thank God for oil’ on Earth Day, even though Crews later acknowledges that oil and gas has improved all of our lives and is responsible for our First World lifestyle, Crews derides even the sentiment of ‘thank God for oil.’ Talk about biting the hand that feeds you.

    Second, that petrochemical industry isn’t even going to flourish without low and stable feedstock prices, low and stable energy prices. Remember when Bush killed the economy with $ 5/gallon diesel? Natural gas was $ 15 and aluminum smelters and other large consumers just idled their plants? Being anti-oil and gas has a direct, negative impact on all those plants, and thus, all those jobs his potential constituents need.

    Finally, ”better, cleaner, safer.” Sounds nice, but I am sure Crews is familiar with the law of diminishing returns, spending more to get less and less benefit. We’re already at that point now. Adding new regulation is just going to hurt the very people we’re trying to help. Why are there no new nuclear plants, or brand new refineries? It’s just too hard to jump through all the hoops. So when you combine new legislation with forced higher prices for energy because we can’t drill and can’t even build a new unit at the South Texas Nuclear Project, I don’t see how that message sells to people who work in the petrochemical industry.
    Crews will have to win on emotional appeal, and hope voters vote against their own financial self interest. I mean, Lizzie did it in the energy corridor, so it is possible.

  2. bill says:

    Glad to see a Dem challenger in that district.

  3. C.L. says:

    Re: “So when you combine new legislation with forced higher prices for energy because we can’t drill and can’t even build a new unit at the South Texas Nuclear Project…”

    We can’t drill (for gas or oil) right now ? Did someone shut down the 160,000+ oil wells and 80.000+ gas wells in Texas ? Dang, when did that start taking place ? I really need to go fill up my gas tank and stockpile plastic bags.

    As far as the STNP goes…why the plant isn’t being expanded would be a good question to pose to G. Abbott and/or ERCOT, though I guess if you can’t keep natural gas flowing to it during a cold snap…

  4. Bill Daniels says:


    Assuming your question is serious, here is a serious answer. Wells are just like people…..they are more productive when new, but gradually become less productive over time, so you need to keep drilling to not only replace the loss from diminished production, but also to keep up with increased demand. America chose…..a different path.

    This is what we wanted, we should openly embrace the resulting high energy prices and inflation our policy has wrought. America and Europe must sacrifice in order to save the planet from climate change, even more so because China, Russia, India, Mexico, and pretty much the rest of the world will not participate, so we have to double down and sacrifice even more. Remember when Germany was warned about being dependent on Russian natural gas, and we tried to stop Nordstream II for that very reason? What is Germany doing now?

    As to the STNP, finally we have something to blame Trump for. All that relaxing of regulation and cutting red tape to get projects approved? Abbott or Beto couldn’t approve it. Has to be federal. Didn’t help STNP, did it? Federal regs are holding that expansion up, and Trump, the pro-energy guy, didn’t jump in to get it approved. I don’t know, maybe STNP just finally gave up on dreams of adding another unit before Trump took office? Same for oil companies building new refineries. At least we got easier refinery expansion, but then we changed course and not only killed pipelines like the KeystoneXL, but killed the refinery expansions in Houston and Port Arthur that would have been built to handle the influx of oil.

    Gas prices are coming down (but not diesel prices, the fuel that moves everything we buy, use, and own) because we are emptying out the Strategic Midterm Reserve, and also because recession is already setting in from inflation. Once the SPR is empty, we have no more ability to manipulate the market. What then?

  5. Ross says:

    Bill, there’s no reason to lease more Federal lands or most of offshore Alaska. None of those would help now, and oil companies have thousands of leases they do nothing with at all. Those thousands of Federal leases are not being worked on, are not having prospects mapped and set for drilling. Most of them were acquired to prevent other companies from getting them. If oil companies really wanted to, they could start drilling now, but they don’t. The Alaska lease sale was cancelled due to a lack of interest.

    Germany was stupid to shut down nuclear plants. For all I care, they can freeze to death.

    My next push is for oil companies in Texas to be required to put $2 per barrel n cash into an abandonment fund that stays with the oil field. That way, when the last buyer of the field goes bankrupt, there will be cash to plug the wells.

    The STNP expansion was cancelled in 2011.

    What refinery expansions were cancelled after Keystone XL was cancelled? Why should Southeast Texas suffer the pollution generated for export products?

  6. Bill Daniels says:


    Lost $ 6.6 BILLION in investment from Motiva in Port Arthur (not all of it on the failed KeystoneXL, of course). Not sure how much Total and Valero were going to invest in contemplation of getting the Canadian oil. Meanwhile, here in Houston, Lyondell is going to close its 225 plant. Maybe a lack of oil to refine is an issue? Refining margins are narrow, plants need to run full tilt to be productive. No Canadian oil, not running at full capacity.

    As to leasing, if your concern is oil companies pay for leases then do not drill, what is the problem? Free money for Uncle Sam! But the oil business isn’t instant gratification. Long term planning requires locking in leases. And back to the KeystoneXL killing fallout, here’s an actually decent and eerily prescient article about it from CNN of all places:

    As to your idea about a fund to cap orphan wells, no need, because Biden’s infrastructure bill is paying to do that. Bigger operators post a bond for that very eventuality, but I could entertain your suggestion. $ 2/bbl is too much, but maybe a lower number, with a maximum cap per well would be workable.

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