Senator Inhofe today said he is reaching out to his colleagues to quickly resolve a Washington DC dispute that will force the Federal Highway Department to shut down on Monday. (See coverage in the Tulsa World: Senate fight blocks Oklahoma road funds, jobless benefit extension )
"Oklahomans are going to pay a huge price once again because of politics as usual in Washington," Inhofe said. "Today Congress failed to prevent the Federal Highway Program from shutting down. I have already been in touch with Oklahoma Secretary of Transportation Gary Ridley and discussed with him the fallout of Congress's failure. Gary tells me that if Congress cannot resolve this quickly, Oklahoma will lose contracts which will have a significant impact on this year's construction season.
"Of course, there is plenty of blame to go around. Earlier this week, the Senate passed legislation that included a number of tax cuts and a long-term extension of the highway program. House Democrats were divided on the bill and their leadership couldn't pass the bill. Given the chaos in their caucus, they passed a 30 day extension of the Highway Program late yesterday. Because this 30-day extension would add about $10 billion to the debt, a GOP Senator said he'd only agree to it if it was offset. Senate Democrats refused to offset the package. Nobody was willing to back down. As a result, the Federal Highway Administration will shut its doors on Monday and the highway program will no longer pay states money they are owed.
"To resolve this crisis, I have been on the phone all day with several of my Senate colleagues. Those who are using this to score political points need a reality check. This is far too important to let partisan politics get in the way of helping out states. Let's roll up our sleeves and get to work so people in Oklahoma and across the country don't have to pay the price for business as usual in Washington."
On Tuesday, February 23, the Minority Staff of the EPW Committee released a report entitled, "‘Consensus' Exposed: The CRU Controversy." The report covers the controversy surrounding emails and documents released from the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit (CRU). It examines the extent to which those emails and documents affect the scientific work of the UN's IPCC, and how revelations of the IPCC's flawed science impacts the EPA's endangerment finding for greenhouse gases.
The report finds that some of the scientists involved in the CRU controversy violated ethical principles governing taxpayer-funded research and possibly federal laws. In addition, the Minority Staff believes the emails and accompanying documents seriously compromise the IPCC-based "consensus" and its central conclusion that anthropogenic emissions are inexorably leading to environmental catastrophes.
In its examination of the controversy, the Minority Staff found that the scientists:
- Obstructed release of damaging data and information;
- Manipulated data to reach preconceived conclusions;
- Colluded to pressure journal editors who published work questioning the climate science "consensus"; and
- Assumed activist roles to influence the political process.
"This EPW Minority Report shows that the CRU controversy is about far more than just scientists who lack interpersonal skills, or a little email squabble," said Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. "It's about unethical and potentially illegal behavior by some of the world's leading climate scientists.
"The report also shows the world's leading climate scientists acting like political scientists, with an agenda disconnected from the principles of good science. And it shows that there is no consensus-except that there are significant gaps in what scientists know about the climate system. It's time for the Obama Administration to recognize this. Its endangerment finding for greenhouse gases rests on bad science. It should throw out that finding and abandon greenhouse gas regulation under the Clean Air Act-a policy that will mean fewer jobs, higher taxes and economic decline."
After the release of the EPW's Minority Report on the CRU controversy Tuesday, there was an outpouring of media attention surrounding the scientific scandal. Please see below for the latest news on TV, radio, the blogosphere, and in print.
Inhofe EPW News Round-Up
FOXNEWS: Inhofe Weighs Criminal Probe of Scientists' Climate Change E-Mails - Feb 23, 2010 - The Senate's top global warming skeptic on Tuesday said he would ask the EPA's watchdog to investigate the data once used as the centerpiece of international climate change research and now bolstering an endangerment finding that gives the EPA authority to regulate greenhouse gases. The Senate's top global warming skeptic on Tuesday said he would ask the watchdog of the Environmental Protection Agency to investigate the data once used as the centerpiece of international climate change research and now bolstering an endangerment finding that gives the EPA authority to regulate greenhouse gases.
CBSNEWS: Inhofe is pressing for a reappraisal of the government's position on climate change - Inhofe is pressing for a reappraisal of the government's position on climate change following revelations of errors in reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (deemed "trivial" by Sanders) as well as the so-called "Climategate" controversy. He wants an investigation into what he calls "the greatest scientific scandal of our generation," complete with testimony from former Vice President Al Gore. But as the New York Times notes, EPA administrator Lisa Jackson did not give an inch when it came to the overwhelming scientific consensus on climate change. "The science behind climate change is settled, and human activity is responsible for global warming," she said. "That conclusion is not a partisan one." Republicans criticized the EPA at the hearing for its plan to introduce greenhouse gas regulations next month.
PajamasMedia: Senator Barbara Boxer and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson Throw IPCC Under the Bus Feb 23, 2009 - During the review of the Environmental Protection Agency budget in today's Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing, both Senator Barbara Boxer - the chair of the committee - and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson distanced themselves from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report (AR4). Boxer and Jackson's statements, in addition to being a striking change in policy, are problematic because U.S. climate science is very closely tied to the IPCC reports (as Christopher Horner showed in his recent PJM series on the NASA FOIA emails.)
ED MORRISSEY: Inhofe to release report blasting IPCC on Climategate Feb 23, 2010 - Last night, I got an exclusive interview with Senator James Inhofe in his Senate office to discuss a new report his office will release today, ahead of an appearance by EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson at an Energy and Public Works Committee hearing. Jackson once dismissed the Climategate scandal of the East Anglia CRU as nothing more than a demonstration that some climate scientists "lack interpersonal skills." An initial inquiry by the minority members of the EPW Committee comes to a much different conclusion - that the e-mails reveal unethical and potentially criminal activities within the IPCC: Obstructing release of damaging data and information; Manipulating data to reach preconceived conclusions; Colluding to pressure journal editors who published work questioning the climate science "consensus"; and Assuming activist roles to influence the political process. The new report will also include in its findings the scandals of the bogus claims on Himalayan glacier retreat, Amazon rain forest damage, and African crop projections.
CNSNEWS: Fifteen Years With No Global Warming Doesn't Mean There's No Global Warming, Says EPA Chief Wednesday, February 24, 2010 - (CNSNews.com) - Fifteen years with no statistically significant increase in global temperatures does not mean that the human race is not causing the climate to change, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson told CNSNews.com on Tuesday. Jackson reasserted her faith in manmade global warming in response to a question from CNSNews.com asking if she agreed with the recent statement by prominent climate scientist Phil Jones that there had been no statistically significant global warming since 1995. Jackson also said "we need to move aggressively" to pass energy regulation legislation. On Capitol Hill Tuesday, after a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing, CNSNews.com asked Jackson if she agreed or disagreed with one of the world's top climate-change scientists that there had been no statistically significant global warming for the past 15 years.
DailyCaller: Inhofe Calls for Investigations 2/23/10: When asked if he expects to see more push-back against the EPA and climatologists, Inhofe said, "I think we might. They [Democrats] are coming over one by one. It's gonna be very difficult to go back to their homes and say they are promoting regulations that are going to cost taxpayers $300 billion. We've won on the science."
TheHill: Republicans seize on climate errors to challenge EPA 02/23/10 - Senate Republicans on Tuesday seized on errors in a United Nations climate change report and the recent "Climategate" e-mail controversy to press the administration to drop its push to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. Democrats, meanwhile, countered that the overwhelming evidence suggested human activity was causing global warming and compared climate change skeptics to people in the 1930s who refused to believe Nazism was a threat.
E&ENEWS: EPA Chief Goes Toe-To-Toe With Senate GOP Over Climate Science Feb 23, 2010 - U.S. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson today defended the science underpinning pending climate regulations despite Senate Republicans' claims that global warming data has been thrown into doubt. "The science behind climate change is settled, and human activity is responsible for global warming," Jackson told the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. "That conclusion is not a partisan one."
Minority Report Says IPCC is Discredited 02/23/10 - One group of Senate Republicans wants the Environmental Protection Agency to halt its plans to regulate greenhouse gases because its conclusions are based on what the lawmakers call faulty and possibly manipulated data. A minority report from the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee says federal agencies cannot rely on information obtained from the embattled UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit following the release of e-mails in which climate scientists appeared to discuss muzzling their critics and mistakes in the IPCC's landmark 2007 report. "The emails and accompanying documents seriously compromise the IPCC-backed consensus and its central conclusion that anthropogenic emissions are inexorably leading to environmental catastrophes," the 84-page minority report concluded.
RushLimbaugh: Inhofe and Boxer Spar Over the Climate Change Hoax at Hearing February 23, 2010 - RUSH: This is Boxer-Inhofe this morning in Washington, Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. James Inhofe said this. INHOFE: One of the largest newspapers over there said this is the most significant scientific scandal of our generation.
FOXNEWS: U.N. Climate Panel to Announce Significant Changes (2/23/10) - In the wake of its swift and devastating fall from grace, the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC) says it will announce "within the next few days" plans to make significant changes in how it does business. Just one year ago a pronouncement from the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC) was all that was needed to move nations and change environmental policies around the world. But today, the panel's creditability and even its very existence are in question. In the wake of its swift and devastating fall from grace, the panel says it will announce "within the next few days" that it plans to make significant though as yet unexplained changes in how it does business.
Inside EPA: Inhofe Alleges ‘Climategate' Crimes February 23, 2010 - Flaws in the most recent United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report and the release of a slew of emails that appear to show climate scientists massaging data to support the theory of anthropogenic climate change -- a scandal dubbed "Climategate" by IPCC critics -- "should prod EPA back to the drawing board" and cause it to reconsider its finding that greenhouse gases (GHGs) endanger public health and welfare, states a report released Feb. 23 by the office of Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK).
Time : EPA Prepares to Take the Lead on Regulating Co2 February 23, 2010 - Other skeptics have used recent revelations of a few errors in the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to attack the very notion of global warming and the basis for the EPA's ruling that CO2 is a human health hazard. "The EPA's endangerment finding rests on bad science," Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe, a Republican, said at an annual Senate hearing on the EPA's budget on Tuesday, Feb. 23. "The EPA needs to start over."
E&E NEWS: Climate science and public opinion 'can be a bit messy' February 24, 2010 - Both sides of the raging climate debate on Capitol Hill can find solace in new polling data. In the wake of the "Climategate" episode and sharpened criticism from skeptics, there has been a jump in the percentage of individuals who think global warming is a hoax, according to the survey from George Mason and Yale universities. The researchers divided Americans into six categories, ranging from the "alarmed," who are certain man-made warming is happening, to the "dismissive," who think it isn't happening at all.
American Thinker Desperate Democrat Warmists Deep in Denial February 24, 2010 - On the very same day that the EPW minority released a report [PDF] citing "unethical and potentially illegal behavior by some the world's leading climate scientists," the ruling majority promised "to make policy based on [the same discredited] science." It was like watching shopkeepers wading through knee-deep water to tape a handwritten "open for business" sign to their cracked and filthy front windows after days of devastating storms.
UK Telegraph: Rajendra Pachauri to defend handling of IPCC after climate change science row (2/24/10) - He will try to save his job and shore up support for the IPCC in the wake of the discovery of errors in its latest report. He is attending a special closed meeting of environment and climate ministers in the fringes of the annual assembly of the United Nations Environment Programme's (UNEP) Governing Council, the biggest such event since Copenhagen climate summit that ended in confusion and recriminations last December.
AP: UN Weather Meeting Agrees to Refine Climate Data (2/24/10) GENEVA (AP) -- Weather agencies from around the world have agreed to collect more precise temperature data to improve climate change science, Britain's Met Office said Tuesday...The Met Office proposed that climate scientists around the world undertake the ''grand challenge'' of measuring land surface temperatures as often as several times a day, and allow independent scrutiny of the data -- a move that would go some way toward answering demands by skeptics for access to the raw figures used to predict climate change. ''This effort will ensure that the datasets are completely robust and that all methods are transparent,'' the Met Office said. The agency added that ''any such analysis does not undermine the existing independent datasets that all reflect a warming trend.'' The proposal was approved in principle by some 150 delegates meeting under the auspices of the World Meteorological Organization this week in Antalya, Turkey. It comes after e-mails stolen from a British university and several mistakes made in a 2007 report issued by the U.N.-affiliated Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change prompted public debate over the reliability of climate change predictions.
UK Times Online: Met Office: we must check 150 years of climate data (2/24/10) - More than 150 years of global temperature records are to be re-examined by scientists in an attempt to regain public trust in climate science after revelations about errors and suppression of data. The Met Office has submitted proposals for the reassessment by an independent panel in a tacit admission that its previous reports have been marred by their reliance on analysis by the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit (CRU). Two separate inquiries are being held into allegations that the CRU tried to hide its raw data from critics and that it exaggerated the extent of global warming. In a document entitled Proposal for a New International Analysis of Land Surface Air Temperature Data, the Met Office says: "We feel it is timely to propose an international effort to reanalyse surface temperature data in collaboration with the World Meteorological Organisation."
Roger Pielke Jr Blog: Mojib Latif on ZDF: "A Fraud to the Public"(2/22/10) - Mojib Latif, a prominent German climate scientist, comments on the misrepresentation of the science of disasters and climate change in very strong terms: "This is clearly a fraud to the public and to the colleague. Everybody has to reject such a behaviour. We have to take care, those things won't happen again."
In a radio interview Wednesday, Lou Dobbs paid tribute to Sen. Inhofe's years of singular leadership on climate change and global warming issues referring to him as "a man utterly vindicated."
Lou Dobbs: The timing is good. And I'm going to say this, because one of the things I don't think happens often enough in our society - in part because it doesn't happen so often that we have public figures who stand up, who put their, you know, set their feet squarely forward, and say, "This is nonsense. We have to be fact-based, we have to be rational. And this nonsense has to end." James Inhofe has been such a man over the past 6-7 years. He sometimes stood absolutely alone, and was demonized, vilified, ridiculed by the national media. He stands now, in 2010, as a man utterly vindicated, and for whom I think everybody needs to, you know, extend a round of applause. Senator Inhofe, thank you very much for being with us today.
Senator Inhofe: Thank you so much.
Lou Dobbs: You got it. You take care. Now, you know, it's funny. The national media doesn't like to give credit where credit is due, because of the politics they can't, the bias. But, I mean really, this man at many junctures was absolutely singular, he was absolutely alone in resisting a wave of popular faddism, which was climate change and global warming. So, I sincerely mean that. He deserves a great deal of both applause and respect for what he has done.
In a letter sent February 25, Americans for Tax Reform praised Sen. Inhofe for releasing the report, "'Consensus Exposed': The CRU controversy," which formally requested the EPA reconsider its endangerment finding on the basis that they relied on the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports.
Full Text of Letter:
Dear Senator Inhofe:
On behalf of Americans for Tax Reform, and millions of taxpayers, I would like to thank you for your report titled Consensus Exposed: The CRU controversy, which formally requested the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reconsider its endangerment finding on the basis that they relied on the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports, which have now been revealed to be full of faulty science.
Your response to the EPA's endangerment findings is wholly appropriate given the de-legitimization of the once esteemed University of East Anglia‘s Climatic Research Unit (CRU), and subsequently, the United Nation's IPCC reports, many of which were authored by CRU scientists or drew heavily from CRU findings.
Unable to pass comprehensive climate legislation through Congress, members of the current administration have attempted to shape American energy policy via the EPA, a contentious point your report confronts head on. Questioning the EPA's authority to implement broad energy regulation while challenging the justification for such regulation, your thorough report rebuts EPA's most convincing arguments.
This refutation of the EPA is critical because of the enormous impact EPA regulation or cap-and-trade like legislation would have on American people and American businesses. The EPA should not be the chief regulator of America's economy.
The effect of suggested energy taxes would be devastating; resulting in lost income, lost jobs, and higher energy prices. Energy taxes deter foreign investment negatively impacting future growth. In order to compensate for higher energy prices, American companies would be forced to raise the price of their products, reduce their payroll, or ship jobs overseas. Higher energy prices directly affect consumers as Americans will see their energy bills soar. None of these results are desirable.
I would like to commend your efforts in standing up for taxpayers, small businesses, consumers and American families nationwide. Thank you for your leadership.
Sen. Inhofe, along with Senators Mike Crapo (R-ID), John Barrasso (R-WY), David Vitter (R-LA), and James Risch (R-ID), yesterday introduced the Small System Drinking Water Act of 2010, a bill to assist water systems in Oklahoma and throughout the country in complying with Federal drinking water standards, and require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to utilize all of its resources provided by the 1996 Safe Drinking Water Act amendments (SDWA).
"My goal is to ensure that small towns across the country have safe, affordable drinking water and that the laws are fair to small and rural communities," Inhofe said. "Today there are simply too many regulations coming out of Washington that come with a steep price tag for local communities. It is unreasonable to penalize and fine local communities because they cannot afford to pay for regulations we impose on them especially given all of the misguided spending coming out of Washington today. Forcing systems to raise rates beyond what their ratepayers can afford only causes more damage than good."
Inhofe's legislation has wide support across Oklahoma:
Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Thompson: "The Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality is fully in support of Senator Inhofe's effort to provide small drinking water systems with the technical assistance necessary to meet the growing number of requirements of the Safe Drinking Water Act. As importantly, the burden on water rate payers in communities with a limited rate base is rapidly outpacing their financial capacity. We support Senator Inhofe's effort to require federal funding for both operational and infrastructure issues related to these requirements."
Piedmont Mayor Mike Fina: "Piedmont's water system has suffered greatly at the hand of federal regulation. We have been forced to shut down vital well-fields that provide a major source of our water supply. It has been extremely costly to our community to find alternative water sources funded on the backs of our citizens. Senator Inhofe's proposal would protect small communities from falling victim to increased federal regulation."
Martin Tucker, City Manager, Skiatook: "Unfunded mandates on the utility portion of municipal income undoubtedly cause the other functions of government to suffer. Legislation, such as this, would be a welcome relief in our efforts to balance the needs of the citizens with the ever increasing cost of providing basic services."
Mark Mosley, City Manager, Wewoka: "As City Manager of Wewoka, I am encouraged by the legislation you are proposing that will provide funds for small towns under EPA and DEQ mandates. This would allow the City to use grants, funds and extra money to improve other infrastructure such as roads, bridges, parks and the overall quality of life of the small towns.
State Rep. Ed Cannaday: "This is very helpful and addresses problems for many small rural communities dependent on rural water systems that are being stretched to meet new and expanding regulations on water quality. Porum is an example of this dilemma in that many people feel their water system is not doing their job but they are within the technology they have available. It has an undermining effect for those water systems that are working at their capacity. Many praise rural life but few make efforts to help those in that environment."
Through his leadership position on the EPW Committee, Senator Inhofe has made unfunded mandates a top priority. Since the 108th Congress, he has co-authored and cosponsored legislation to provide additional resources to communities through the State Revolving Loan Funds.
The Small Drinking Water Bill requires the federal government to live up to its obligations and require the EPA to use the tools it was given in the 1996 Safe Drinking Water Act amendments (SDWA). Currently EPA assumes that families can afford water rates of 2.5 percent of their annual median household income, or $1,000 per household. For some families, paying $83 a month for water may not be a hardship but for so many more, it is nearly impossible. There must be some flexibility inserted into the calculation that factors in the ability of the truly disadvantaged to pay these costs. Forcing systems to raise rates beyond what their ratepayers can afford only causes more damage than good.
The bill directs EPA to take additional factors into consideration when making this determination: These include ensuring that the affordability criteria are not more costly on a per-capita basis to a small water system than to a large water system. In EPA's most recent drinking water needs survey, Oklahoma identified a total of over $4.1 billion in drinking water needs over the next 20 years. $2.4 billion of that need is for community water systems that serve fewer than 10,000 people. The $4.1 billion does not include the total costs imposed on Oklahoma communities to meet federal clean water requirements, the new Groundwater rule, the DBP II rule or the Long Term 2 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule. Oklahoma continues to have municipalities struggling with the 2002 arsenic rule. Many of our small systems are having difficulty with the Disinfection Byproducts (DBP) Stage I rule, and small systems who purchase water from other systems and did not have to test, treat or monitor their water must now comply with DBP II. EPA estimates that over the next 20 years, the entire country will need $52.0 billion dollars to come into compliance with existing, proposed or recently promulgated regulations.
The bill proposes a few simple steps to help systems comply with all these rules:
1. Reauthorizes the technical assistance program in the Safe Drinking Water Act. The DBP rules are very complex and involve a lot of monitoring and testing. If we are going to impose complicated requirements on systems, we need to provide them with help to implement those requirements.
2. The bill creates a pilot program to demonstrate new technologies and approaches for systems of all sizes to comply with these complicated rules.
3. It requires the EPA to convene a working group to examine the science behind the rules in order to compare new developments since each rule's publication. Section 1412(b)(4)(E) of the SDWA Amendments of 1996 authorizes the use of point of entry treatment, point of use treatment and package plants to economically meet the requirements of the Act. However, to date, these approaches are not widely used by small water systems. The bill directs the EPA to convene a working group to identify barriers to the use of these approaches. The EPA will then use the recommendations of the working group to draft a model guidance document that states can use to create their own programs.
Most importantly this bill requires the federal government to pay for these unfunded mandates created by laws and regulations: In 1995, Congress passed the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act to ensure that the Federal government pays the costs incurred by state and local governments in complying with Federal laws. The bill is designed to ensure that EPA cannot take an enforcement action against a system serving less than 10,000 people, without first ensuring that it has sufficient funds to meet the requirements of the regulation.
Watch / Read: Inhofe Op-ed and Interview on how punitive taxes would cost jobs, hitting economy (The Hill)
Op-Ed: Punitive taxes would cost jobs, hitting economy
By: Sen. James Inhofe
The surest way to rejuvenate our ailing economy, create American jobs, and strengthen our energy security is through an "all-of-the-above" energy policy that encourages production of our vast domestic resources. We can and should utilize all of the energy available to us, including natural gas, oil, coal, and nuclear - along with emerging alternative energy sources like wind, biofuels, geothermal, and solar. A new non-partisan government report shows that America is an energy-rich nation. The Congressional Research Service found that America's combined supply of recoverable natural gas, oil, and coal is the largest on Earth. In fact, the CRS reports that America's recoverable resources are far larger than those of Saudi Arabia (3rd), China (4th), and Canada (6th) combined - and that's without including America's immense oil shale and methane hydrates deposits. Additionally, just-released Department of Energy statistics show that the United States has eclipsed Russia as the world's largest producer of natural gas.
To the detriment our energy security and the economy, the Obama administration - through, in some cases, explicit regulations and purposeful inaction - is keeping much of our abundant energy supply off-limits. As with most of my colleagues, I appreciated President Barack Obama's support for nuclear energy and natural gas during his State of the Union address last month. But the release of the Obama budget just one week later told a much different story, especially when it comes to natural gas.
The Obama administration's 2011 budget - once again - proposes a crippling tax increase on America's homegrown natural gas and oil industry - specifically, $36.5 billion of new taxes, which would be paid by consumers in the form of higher heating bills and higher prices at the gas pump. (It's worth noting the stubbornness of this administration: This tax comes after Congress rejected Obama's $31 billion energy tax increase in last year's budget.)
In his State of the Union address, President Obama pledged to put America back to work. The domestic oil and gas industry is a great place to start. Last September, PricewaterhouseCoopers released a report finding that "the U.S. oil and natural gas industry's total employment contribution to the national economy amounted to 9.2 million full-time and part-time jobs, accounting for 5.2 percent of the total employment in the country ... The industry's total value-added contribution to the national economy was over $1 trillion, accounting for 7.5 percent of U.S. GDP in 2007."
But the benefits of affordable, abundant, and domestic energy production don't stop there: hundreds of thousands of land and mineral owners - some of whom are farmers and ranchers - from 33 producing states receive monthly checks from natural gas and oil royalties produced on their properties. And states receive tens of billions of dollars in natural gas and oil excise and severance taxes that support roads, schools, and law enforcement. Yet by punishing America's oil and natural gas industry with new taxes, President Obama is impoverishing states, harming consumers, and stifling creation of new jobs.
Those who ignore history are condemned to repeat it: that's one of the unfortunate lessons of the Obama energy tax. Just turn back the clock to 1980. Then-President Jimmy Carter imposed a similar tax on the oil and gas industry, ostensibly to increase our energy independence and lower prices at the pump. It didn't work. A government report from CRS later found the following: "The WPT [windfall profits tax] reduced domestic oil production between 3 and 6 percent, and increased oil imports from between 8 and 16 percent ... This made the U.S. more dependent upon imported oil."
Punitive energy taxes didn't work in 1980, and they won't work now.
President Obama appears to suffer from an energy cataract. So-called "green energy" is all he can see - while all other forms of energy are punished or ignored. And what has American gained? The Los Angeles Times noted recently that "[President] Obama promised to create some 5 million green jobs over a decade. The stimulus bill approved last year allocated billions of dollars to the clean energy sector ... Last month, government economists released their first tally of clean energy jobs created or saved by the stimulus: 52,000."
These results are simply tragic, given that millions of new jobs can be created through a few simple policy reforms - reforms that will, among many other benefits, make energy more affordable and reliable. President Obama has stressed the need for bipartisanship to jumpstart America's economy. I agree, and the solution is ready at hand: it's called American energy, in all its forms.
Senator Inhofe voted in favor of legislation Wednesday that includes an extension of the federal highway program until December 31, 2010. Given the tremendous impacts on states, a long-term extension of the Highway Program has been a top priority for Inhofe since the program expired back on October 1, 2009. Inhofe led a number of bipartisan efforts over the past several months to get an extension completed.
"I am extremely pleased that after months of unnecessary delay, the United States Senate finally passed legislation that includes an extension of the Federal Highway Program," Inhofe said. "Oklahoma and states across the nation have been forced to pay a steep price, in many cases with significant jobs losses and cancelled highway projects, because of the failure of Democrats and Republicans in Washington to come together sooner to get the job done. The series of short term extensions the highway program has been operating under since October has funded the program $1 billion a month lower than 2009. This long-term extension fixes that and restores the funding, which according to Gary Ridley, Oklahoma's Transportation Secretary, means an additional $15 million a month in additional funding. With the extension now passed, states will have the needed certainty to move forward on transportation projects, leading to more jobs in many cases.
"The real outrage is how long it took Congress to act. With the billions of dollars of wasteful spending pouring out of Washington these days, it's unforgivable that it took us this long to get a provision passed that will mean more jobs and investment in America's transportation system. It is ironic that some of the most outspoken critics of this measure supported the $700 billion bailout.
"I have said repeatedly that transportation infrastructure is one of the best forms of stimulus spending that the government has at its disposal. The economic benefits from transportation investment include both immediate job creation from construction and long-term economic benefits associated with the completed project. It's time for Congress to get our priorities straight and invest in areas that will ensure long-term economic growth.
"Some of my colleagues disagree with the legitimacy of recouping the $8 billion that Bill Clinton took from the Highway Trust Fund in 1998, but Congress already decided to recoup those funds. It is only logical that we get back the interest too. According to CRS, the Highway Trust Fund is the only trust fund that does not receive interest."
Oklahoma Secretary of Transportation, Gary Ridley, thanked Inhofe for his leadership in the Senate to get an extension passed: "I am pleased that the US Senate today passed a long-term extension of the Federal Highway Program which is of critical importance to Oklahoma. Today we have projects sitting in the queue but can't move forward on them because of lack of funds. This winter has been especially hard on our bridges; in fact we have had to close a bridge at 163rd St and I-44 in Tulsa because it was unsafe. Not properly funding our highway infrastructure is coming to a head, so getting this longer term extension done now is imperative. I want to thank Senator Inhofe in particular for his tremendous leadership in getting this extension passed. There is never any question that Oklahoma transportation needs are always a top priority for him."
Sen. James Inhofe commented Monday, February 22, on the Supreme Court's denial of agriculture's petition to review the case of The National Cotton Council of America, et al. v. the United States Environmental Protection Agency. The petition to review was in response to the 6th Circuit's ruling reversing EPA's longstanding authority to exempt applications of pesticides from the Clean Water Act. In December 2009, Senator Inhofe, along with several members from the House and Senate, filed an amicus brief supporting the petition for review.
"The Supreme Court's denial is unfair to agriculture and consumers," Inhofe said. "The court's denial means agriculture will face yet another layer of bureaucracy and regulation, which will stifle job creation in rural America. Also, EPA will now have to process 5.6 million new pesticide applications per year, which will hinder farm operations and add significant costs to both producers and consumers of agriculture. I hope the Obama Administration will work with Congress as soon as possible on bipartisan legislation to address this issue."
Inhofe Hearing Statement on Legislative Approaches to Protecting, Preserving and Restoring Great Water Bodies
Senator Inhofe released the following statement yesterday at a joint EPW hearing entitled, "Legislative Approaches to Protecting, Preserving and Restoring Great Water Bodies":
Thank you Madam Chairman and Chairman Cardin for holding this hearing on the following Great Water Bodies: the Great Lakes, Lake Tahoe, Puget Sound, Long Island Sound, and the Columbia River.
Americans use these great water bodies for recreation and businesses use them as essential transportation links from ocean ports to inland ports where goods are then distributed throughout the country. Furthermore, water from these water bodies irrigate farms, provide drinking water and generate electricity. Their many important and essential uses to our everyday lives truly make them great.
The Clean Water Act states that "it is the policy of Congress to recognize, preserve, and protect the primary responsibilities and rights of States to prevent, reduce, and eliminate pollution, to plan the development and use (including restoration, preservation, and enhancement) of land and water resources." (Clean Water Act Sec. 101 (b)). Regional Commissions have been established to, among other things, help states and local governments balance the many needs for water use with water protection.
When States have conflicts on how to respond to issues affecting these great water bodies, regional commissions should serve as the appropriate referees to resolve these conflicts. If that option fails, then the federal government can provide tools and assistance to reach a resolution.
Additionally, it is appropriate for the federal government to set national standards and provide assistance in meeting those clean water goals. It is not the role of the federal government, however, to decide how water bodies should be used or to plan for the use of land within states. Let me emphasize: Washington, DC should not be issuing mandates determining how a water body should be used.
Several bills have either been introduced or are currently being worked on to help address some of pollution control concerns. I hope that this committee will hold additional legislative hearings on these individual bills to determine how they balance the authority of federal, regional, state, and local governmental bodies in addressing interstate or regional water concerns.
Thank you again.