Texas Governor Greg Abbott barred natural gas suppliers from shipping fuel out of state without first offering it for sale in-state on Wednesday.
Abbott announced the new order during a press conference on Wednesday as his state continues to suffer from an energy shortage amid widespread freezing temperatures. The order is set to last through Feb. 21, according to Bloomberg.
“I hereby mandate that all sourced natural gas be made available for sale to local power generation opportunities before leaving the state of Texas, effective through February 21, 2021,” Abbott said in a letter to the Texas Railroad Commission, which regulates the state’s oil and gas industry. “I ask that you immediately take all reasonable and necessary steps to ensure that this mandate is carried out.”
Critics alleged that Abbot’s order violates the commerce clause of the Constitution, which bars states from interfering in inter-state trade. Abbott said he had the authority to take such a sweeping step because