April 3, 2020: Roy’s Conflict of Interest Grows as Kinder Morgan Pollutes TX-21 Water

Drilling by pipeline company Kinder Morgan recently polluted the water supplies of at least three homes in Hays County. The “Permian Highway Pipeline” will run across environmentally sensitive Hill Country land, including at least three counties in Texas’s 21st Congressional District. Kinder Morgan is taking land for the pipeline by eminent domain, and has been successfully sued for not paying landowners fair value for their property.

In response to the negligence that fouled his constituents’ water supply, Chip Roy wrote a remarkably toothless letter to the company, politely inquiring what had happened.

Chip Roy letter to Kinder Morgan

One possible reason Roy is so friendly with the company that is tainting his constituents’ water: he owns stock in it. Roy’s ownership of Kinder Morgan stock was reported in the Financial Disclosure forms he is required to file with the House of Representatives. According to his most recent filing, in July 2019, Roy owns up to $15,000 worth of stock in Kinder Morgan, Inc. (KMI).

Roy’s extremely polite letter to the company he’s invested in calls the water contamination “concerning,” while praising Kinder Morgan for being “very responsive to my previous correspondence” (on what topic, he does not divulge). Poisoning Texans’ drinking water is “unacceptable,” Roy says, adding meekly, “I hope you would agree.”

Roy closes his letter by assuring Kinder Morgan that even Texans whose water is being polluted “support American energy independence and the development of Texas’s oil and gas resources to the benefit of society.” He says he wants answers about the pollution, but he’s not in any hurry. He’ll settle for a response “at your earliest convenience.”

After all, he wouldn’t want to slow down any of the dividend checks Kinder Morgan might send him.



April 4, 2020: Roy Pushes Disastrous Plan to End COVID-19 Health Precautions

In a March 20th editorial in the National Review, Roy called for “a quick date certain” to “save our economy” by ending the social distancing protocols for COVID-19. Picking a “Coronavirus D-Day” is, according to Roy, “The most important thing we need to do — right now.”

Even though President Trump himself has backed off from his initial desire to “open the country up” by Easter, and is urging Americans to “stay at home and save lives,” Roy has doubled down on his foolhardy plan, tweeting on April 3rd that “We must announce a date to signal our economic restart,” and demanding the country abandon social distances protocols immediately:

It’s clear we will eventually need to lift stay-at-home orders. But the consensus from healthcare professionals and epidemiologists is also clear: lifting stay-at-home protocols too early will worsen and lengthen the devastation of COVID-19—including its economic impact. Changes to social distancing policies must be carefully weighed, and shouldn’t be made at all until we have better data about the spread of the disease.

Yet despite this clear advice, and despite the horrific examples we can see unfolding in other countries that have not locked down, Roy is remarkably vague about when his “Coronavirus D-Day” should be scheduled, or how it should be calculated. “Perhaps that date should be around April 1,” he mused at the end of March. “Perhaps it should be April 15.” Any pertinent details are irrelevant to Roy; he just wants a date, fast: “In consultation with our nation’s health experts, the federal government must announce a date within the coming weeks, no later.”

Perhaps Chip himself ought to consult “our nation’s health experts,” who have warned that COVID-19 will kill between 100,000 and 240,000 Americans, even with social distancing measures. Ending those measures “within coming weeks, no later,” is at best a pipe dream and at worst a reckless, suicidal proposal. Either way, it is unhelpful, and serves only to distract from the real work of managing this crisis.

“Date certain,” Roy’s official-sounding term for his imaginary COVID-19 victory party, is a legal term used to refer to a contractually binding date. But viruses don’t sign contracts. They aren’t impressed by legal jargon or WWII references.

“All our national leaders need to work to ensure that we have the medical challenges of the pandemic under control,” Roy wrote in the National Review, “and that we can quickly bridge the financial gap before us. We cannot achieve success without declaring a D-Day for the coronavirus, and marshaling all our collective energies toward restarting our economy.”

As usual, Chip wants to talk like a leader, but expects others to do the hard work.