Saturday, April 2, 2011

VIDEO: Inhofe: Strong Bipartisan Majority in Congress Supports Stopping Obama Cap-and-Trade Agenda

As both the House and the Senate prepare take up the Inhofe-Upton Energy Prevention Act next week, Senator Inhofe released the following video announcing that there is strong bipartisan support in the US Congress for reigning in the Obama EPA cap-and-trade agenda.





 Hello, I am Jim Inhofe, Republican Senator from Oklahoma, and the top Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.


Today I have some good news to share with you: We have an overwhelming bipartisan majority in the United States Senate opposed to the Obama-EPA cap-and-trade agenda.  


For almost ten years, I successfully worked to stop cap-and-trade legislation. Now, President Obama is trying to do through regulation, what he couldn’t do through legislation.


Therefore, two weeks ago, Senator McConnell, the Minority Leader in the Senate and I introduced my bill as an amendment to stop EPA’s cap-and-trade regulations.


Majority Leader Reid announced that very day that we would have a vote. Of course, he soon heard from a number of his Democrats colleagues urging him not to do it.


What we now know is that several Senate Democrats are faced with a tough choice: either support President Obama’s cap-and-trade agenda to make gasoline and electricity more expensive, or stand with consumers, small businesses, farmer, and ranchers who are demanding affordable energy.


This really isn’t a choice. Democrats know they can’t stand with the President’s energy policy publically – it simply doesn’t sell back home. So they are trying to have it both ways.


Since my bill was offered on the Senate Floor, Democrats have introduced three alternative amendments, all of which admit that EPA will harm consumers, farmers, small businesses, auto makers, coal-fired power plants, and manufacturers. But none of them will actually stop the harm.  


That’s because these are what the newspaper Politico referred to as “cover amendments.”  What does that mean?  It means Democrats have designed amendments that create the appearance of getting tough on EPA, that they are “going to bat” for their constituents.  But at the same time, they want to keep President Obama happy, so they end up keeping his anti-energy cap-and-trade agenda in place. So farmers and all those who will be harmed by this agenda are left hanging out to dry.


The point of my bill is simple and straightforward: EPA’s cap-and-trade agenda should be repealed.  We know the reasons for this.  My friend Sen. Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, who is also a cosponsor of my bill, said it best recently.  He said, quote, “EPA has totally overstepped its boundaries.”  He also said, quote, “It was never an agency put in a position to the create public policy that’s going to affect us and change our way of life.”


Sen. Manchin is right.  Whether you live in West Virginia, or Ohio, or Michigan, or Missouri, or Oklahoma, if we don’t stop EPA, it will change our way of life, it will make energy less affordable, less reliable, and put our security and our economy at risk.  


I want you to know that my bill is moving quickly in the House, and I believe it will pass with overwhelming bipartisan support next week.


Here is where I need your help: I need you to tell your Senator to stop EPA and vote for the Inhofe-McConnell amendment.  I also need you to spread the word that the Democrats’ amendments don’t do anything—they allow EPA to continue its attack on affordable energy. 


So the path ahead is straightforward: If you want to avoid construction bans; if you want to prevent energy taxes on farmers, consumers, and small business; if you want to stop a $300 billion tax increase; if you want to stop EPA’s unprecedented regulatory expansion; if you want to block California and EPA from deciding what kind of car you drive; and if you want Congress to decide the nation’s climate change policy, then tell your senator to vote for the Inhofe-McConnell amendment. 


With your help, we can finally put an end to the EPA’s cap-and-trade agenda.

Inhofe Op-Ed: Energy Tax Prevention Act: The Only End to Cap and Trade

Human Events 

Op-Ed: Energy Tax Prevention Act: The Only End to Cap and Trade

By Sen. James Inhofe 


Link to Op-Ed 

Link to Inhofe-Upton Energy Tax Prevention Page

The evidence is in:  The Obama Environmental Protection Agency's cap-and-trade agenda is destroying jobs and decreasing domestic energy supplies.  That agenda is slowing our economic recovery.  It will mean higher gas and electricity bills for consumers. 

Congress can stop this attack on jobs and affordable energy by passing the Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011.  The bill would stop EPA's cap-and-trade regulations, which are designed to make the energy we use more expensive. 

They will also strangle economic growth.  As the National Association of Manufacturers wrote, "At a time when our economy is attempting to recover from the most severe recession since the 1930s, [EPA] regulations, with no guidance from Congress, will establish disincentives for the long-term investments necessary to grow jobs and expedite economic recovery."

Workers and consumers will feel the pain.  A study by CRA International estimates that the EPA's cap-and-trade regulations could increase wholesale electricity costs by 35% to 45% and reduce average worker compensation by $700 a year.  What would they get in return?  EPA itself has conceded that its unilateral actions will be overwhelmed and rendered meaningless due to ever-increasing emissions from China and India.

I introduced the Energy Tax Prevention Act (S 482) with House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R.-Mich.) on March 3.  The House is expected to vote on the bill soon, and it has bipartisan support.  The Senate could vote on the bill, in the form of an amendement sponsored by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, as early as this week. 

There is a bipartisan majority in the Senate that favors blocking or restricting the EPA's cap-and-trade agenda in some way.  The vote on the McConnell amendment comes down to a simple choice:  Are you for jobs and affordable energy or President Obama's energy taxes and bureaucratic regulations? 

Of course, some want to avoid this stark choice, so they have devised "alternatives," which amount to, as the newspaper Politico put it, "political cover"-they provide convenient talking points but keep the EPA's cap-and-trade agenda largely in place.  One example comes from Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D.-W.Va.), who has proposed a narrow two-year delay of the EPA's global warming regulations. 

I agree with Sen. Rockefeller that, as he put it last year, "Congress-not the unelected EPA-must decide major economic and energy policy."  But make no mistake:  A vote for the Rockefeller bill is a vote for higher energy taxes and more regulations.  That's because a two-year delay provides no certainty for businesses of all sizes planning for new, long-term investment.  That lack of certainty is already having a deleterious effect on jobs and economic growth. 

Consider Nucor Steel.  The company planned a $2 billion investment that would have created 2,000 construction and 500 permanent jobs.  But the project was curtailed-by more than 50%-largely because of the EPA's regulations.  Lion Oil, a refinery based in El Dorado, Ark., faced a similar fate:  The EPA's cap-and-trade agenda was, according to the company, a "critical factor" that delayed a "several hundred million" dollar refinery expansion, slated to create 2,000 jobs.

And under the Rockefeller bill, EPA and the states would have every incentive to stall new construction permits.  The EPA could even move forward-as it is now-with plans to regulate power plants and refineries, actions that will assuredly raise gas and electricity prices.  In short, the Rockefeller bill is not a solution.

The same applies to an amendment sponsored by Sen. Max Baucus (D.-Mont.).  The amendment is modeled on the EPA's "tailoring rule," which temporarily exempts smaller sources-schools, hospitals, farms, restaurants-from the EPA's cap-and-trade regulations.  That sounds good, but the rule blatantly violates the law, as the EPA changed the emissions thresholds established by Congress.

Hence the Baucus amendment:  It would codify the EPA's permitting exemptions for stationary sources that emit fewer than 75,000 tons a year of greenhouse gases.  This exemption, which is actually more stringent than the EPA's, purportedly is designed to help farmers and small businesses.  But as with the Rockefeller bill, it allows the rest of the EPA's cap-and-trade agenda to move forward.  So businesses and farmers would still face higher costs for diesel and fertilizer, while small businesses would face higher electricity costs. 

The American Farm Bureau is wise to the false charm of the Baucus amendment.  It testified recently that, even with limited permiting exemptions, "Farmers and ranchers would still incur the higher costs of compliance passed down from utilities, refiners, and fertilizer manufacturers that are directly regulated as of January 2, 2011." 

Manufacturers feel the same way.  The Industrial Energy Consumers of America wrote that the Baucus approach "does not solve the underlying problem that regulating [greenhouse gases] under the Clean Air Act is very costly for manufacturing, will impact global competitiveness, and encourage capital investment outside the United States ."

The only way to stop the "higher costs of compliance" the Farm Bureau rightly fears is to pass the Energy Tax Prevention Act.  It is the only legislation that puts an end to the EPA's cap-and-trade agenda, once and for all. 

It's also important to note that the Energy Tax Prevention Act does not affect, in any way, the EPA's authority to regulate pollution, including toxins, which can have public health impacts.  The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is running ads shamelessly portraying children with breathing apparatuses, suggesting that passing the bill would increase or exacerbate asthma.  The NRDC is lying.  There are no direct health impacts from carbon dioxide emissions.  And notably, carbon emissions have slightly declined in the U.S., while cases of asthma in children have increased

The contrast couldn't be starker:  The Energy Tax Prevention Act stops the EPA's energy taxes and costly regulations, freeing up job creation and economic growth.  The Rockefeller and Baucus bills free up the EPA to tax energy and stop new jobs, new construction, and America's economic recovery.

The Common Theme: Stop EPA

Link to Inhofe-Upton Energy Tax Prevention Page

As the Senate turns to vote on the McConnell-Inhofe amendment, several "alternative" amendments have emerged.  They are a great service to this debate.  They have shown that EPA's cap-and-trade agenda will, among other things:

  - harm farmers, manufacturers, consumers, and small businesses;

  - undermine America's economic competitiveness;

  - allow California bureaucrats to decide what kind of car you drive; and

  - allow unaccountable EPA bureaucrats to make national energy policy.   

Yet, while the Rockefeller, Baucus, and Stabenow amendments concede each of these points, they leave EPA's cap-and-trade regime largely in place.  Voting for these amendments, then, is a vote for higher prices for gasoline and electricity, and an unprecedented expansion of EPA's regulatory authority. 

Nonetheless, we welcome the amendments.  The fact that they were introduced at all reveals, among other things, the overwhelming bipartisan consensus in the Senate to stop, in some manner, EPA's cap-and-trade agenda. A cosponsor of the Rockefeller amendment said it best on Tuesday:

This unprecedented, sweeping authority over our economy at the hands of  the EPA is at the heart of the concern expressed by Senator McConnell, and ultimately, whichever way one ends up voting on his amendment, that common concern defines this debate. [Emphasis added]

That common theme was expressed in a letter by several supporters of the Rockefeller amendment to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson in 2010.  They wrote:

We remain concerned about the possible impacts [of EPA's regulations] on American workers and businesses in a number of industrial sectors, along with the farmers, miners, and small business owners...

This concern was expressed by a Rockefeller supporter on Tuesday:

[EPA's] regulatory framework is so broad and potentially far-reaching that it could eventually touch nearly every facet of this Nation's economy, putting unnecessary burdens on industry and driving many businesses overseas through policies that have been implemented purely at the discretion of the executive branch and absent a clearly stated intent of the Congress.

So what are supporters of the Rockefeller amendment telling us?  EPA's cap-and-trade agenda will: 1) harm workers, farmers, manufacturers, and small businesses; 2) reach into every corner of the economy; 3) undermine competitiveness and send jobs overseas; and 4) be implemented without Congressional authorization.

Yet, how would the Rockefeller two-year delay address any of this?  The answer: it wouldn't.

Then there's the Baucus amendment.  Why would one need an amendment that exempts farms and small businesses from EPA's greenhouse gas permitting regime?  Start with the Farm Bureau.  In recent testimony, it stated that "farmers and ranchers are adversely affected economically by EPA regulation of greenhouse gases" because:

Costs incurred by utilities, refiners and manufacturers to comply with greenhouse gas regulations will be passed along to their customers, including farmers and ranchers, resulting in higher costs of production. Farmers and ranchers generally cannot pass those costs on to their consumers.

The Farm Bureau also pointed out that:

Many farmers and ranchers will be required to obtain Title V operating permits and New Source Review construction permits under thresholds required by the Clean Air Act. The Department of Agriculture estimates that approximately 90 percent of the livestock industry is above the Clean Air Act thresholds required to be permitted.

What about small businesses?  According to the National Federation of Independent Business,  "EPA's regulation of GHG emissions from stationary sources will have a significant economic impact on its small business members..."

So what to make of the Baucus amendment?  It concedes exactly what the Farm Bureau and NFIB have argued about EPA's cap-and-trade regime: it will harm farmers and small businesses. 

Finally, we have the Stabenow amendment.  What's new here is a provision that protects the auto industry.  But protect it from what?  From EPA's enabling of the California Air Resources Board, or CARB, which is threatening drastic, unrealistic cuts in CO2 emissions from cars and trucks-cuts that would, in effect, establish fuel economy standards for the entire country.  Here's what the Auto Alliance, the car industry's trade group, thinks of California's plans:

[California] cannot appropriately or adequately consider the consequences of its actions on critical national interests such as jobs, the economy, costs to consumers, motor vehicle safety, or consumer acceptance of the types of vehicles that their standards would require manufacturers to make.  

Furthermore, the Alliance points out that CARB's greenhouse gas standards would ignore the "effect on the auto industry and other states or even on the national economy."  As the Auto Alliance argues, CARB:

does not need to take into account the economy or jobs in states like Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Missouri, Texas, Alabama, Indiana, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, North Carolina, or other states with significant auto industry-related employment.

So what do we learn from the Stabenow amendment?  EPA exacerbates the CARB problem, which makes drivers all across America beholden to whims of bureaucrats in Sacramento.  Auto workers in Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, and the rest of the Heartland: beware.

To sum up: the Rockfeller-Baucus-Stabenow amendments make plain how EPA will harm particular groups and sectors, but they don't remove the harm:

The Baucus amendment exempts farmers and ranchers from certain GHG permitting requirements, but it does nothing to stop EPA regulations on power plants and refineries-which means farmers and ranchers still pay more for diesel and fertilizer. 

The Stabenow amendment claims to establish one national standard for fuel economy.  But it lets EPA continue regulating greenhouse gases from cars and trucks.  That only creates potentially conflicting fuel economy standards set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).  So in the end we have two standards, not one.

The Rockefeller amendment would create more regulatory uncertainty and construction delays.  It  would not lead to approval of pending construction permits.  The opposite is true: permitting authorities would simply forgo action on CO2 requirements until the two-year delay expired.  In effect, then, Rockefeller creates de facto construction bans.

So the path ahead is straightforward: If you want to avoid construction bans; if you want to prevent energy taxes on farmers, consumers, and small business; if you want to stop EPA's unprecedented regulatory expansion; if you want to block California from deciding what kind of car you drive; and if you want Congress to decide the nation's climate change policy, then vote for the McConnell-Inhofe amendment. 

Tulsa EPA Hearing on Regional Haze Date and Time Set

This week we were informed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that the hearing in Tulsa on Regional Haze will be held on April 14, 2011 at Tulsa Tech - Riverside Campus in the Auditorium of the Alliance Conference Center in Tulsa.

This hearing, along with the one in Oklahoma City, will provide an important opportunity for Oklahomans to tell the EPA exactly what they think about EPA's flawed and misguided decision to reject Oklahoma's plan to reduce regional haze and replace it with a federal plan.  This decision is estimated to cost state utilities $2 billion, and Oklahomans would undoubtedly foot the bill. 

These hearings will give Oklahomans a chance to have an open, frank discussion about how to achieve affordable energy while continuing the state's progress on reducing emissions and protecting the environment. 

On a matter of this importance, the EPA needs to hear directly from the people of this great state, and Senator Inhofe encourage everyone to attend.


The EPA will hold two public hearings in Oklahoma City and Tulsa:



Thursday, April 14 at the Tulsa Tech-Riverside Campus in the Auditorium of the Alliance Conference Center

Address: 801 East 91st Street, Tulsa, Oklahoma

Time: There will be an open house from 1 -3 pm and the public hearing is from: 4 - 6 p.m. and again from 7 -9 pm.

Oklahoma City

Oklahoma City: Wednesday, April 13 at the Metro Technology Centers, Springlake Campus, Business Conference Center, Meeting Rooms H and I

Address: 1900 Springlake Drive, Oklahoma City, OK 73111

Time: There will be an open house from 1 - 3 .m and public hearing from 4 - 6 pm, and again from 7 - 9 pm.


Inhofe: EPA Overreaches in Oklahoma

Inhofe Hearing Statement: "Presidents Proposed FY 2012 Budget for the Army Corps of Engineers."

Link to Tulsa World: Inhofe questions Army Corps of Engineers on Arkansas River plan funding

Link to Video

On March 31, Senator Inhofe gave the following statement at a Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure hearing entitled, "President's Proposed FY 2012 Budget for the Army Corps of Engineers":

Thank you, Chairman Baucus, for holding this hearing and thank you, Secretary Darcy and General Van Antwerp for testifying before us this afternoon. 

Chairman Boxer has indicated her intent to draft and move a Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) this year.  I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate my support for doing so.  The purpose of today’s hearing is not to discuss a WRDA bill, but to look at the President’s fiscal year 2012 budget request for the Army Corps of Engineers’ Civil Works program, which lays out the Administration’s priorities for investing in water resources infrastructure.  I have to say that I was disappointed to see that this request was not only a decrease from FY10 enacted levels, but that it was even a decrease from the FY11 budget request.  

As a fiscal conservative, I strongly support the overall goal of cutting government spending, but I firmly believe that two areas worthy of spending taxpayer dollars are defense and infrastructure.  It may not be as headline-grabbing as some other areas of government spending, but investments in infrastructure – including water resources infrastructure – not only have job creation benefits, but more importantly, are essential for economic growth.   

We have significant water resources needs across the country, but we aren’t dedicating the funds necessary to address them.  For example, let’s look at our navigation infrastructure, which is essential to ensuring reliable and efficient movement of goods.  More than 50 percent of the locks and dams operated by the Corps are over 50 years old and the Corps navigation budget has been cut by 22 percent over the last five years.  In addition, only approximately half of the annual revenue in the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund is spent as intended – on critical maintenance dredging – while the rest is counted as offsetting the deficit. 

In my home state of Oklahoma, we have a very successful port that lies at the head of navigation for the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System, the Port of Catoosa.  On average, 8,000 barges transport approximately 12-million tons of cargo on the system each year. However, the system could function much more efficiently and productively if it was deepened from its current 9 foot depth to the authorized 12 feet. Let’s look at the numbers: Approximately 90 percent of this 445-mile system is currently at 12 feet, according to the Arkansas River Navigation Study.  This means only 10 percent or roughly 45 miles are at less than 12 feet.  If the entire system was 12 feet deep, the towing industry estimates that we could increase barge capacity by 43 percent. This needs to be a priority.

I’d like to briefly mention a few other items that are important to Oklahoma. I have been working with the Tulsa District Office and the local Lugert-Altus Irrigation District on chloride control at the Red River.  These actions will provide new drinking water supplies, increased agricultural irrigation in the southwestern Oklahoma area, and improved downstream water quality. 

Another substantial priority for me is Arkansas River Corridor Master Plan.  WRDA 2007 authorized $50 million to carry out ecosystem restoration, flood damage reduction, and recreation components of the Plan.  Cooperative efforts among the Corps, Tulsa County, the City of Tulsa, and Indian Nations Council of Governments (INCOG) are necessary to implement it. 

Finally, I authored the Oklahoma Lakes Demonstration Program because we cannot rely on federal funding for improvements at Corps lakes in Oklahoma.  I believe the Corps could do a better job working with local governments, the State of Oklahoma, and private investors to make this program a success.  I appreciate your receptivity to using the flexibility this program envisions and would like your commitment in conveying that flexibility throughout the Corps.

I look forward to hearing the witnesses’ testimony.  

Inhofe Hearing Statement: GSA: Opportunities to Cut Costs, Improve Energy Performance, and Eliminate Waste

Senator Inhofe gave the following statement at a Full Committee and Subcommittee on Oversight joint hearing entitled, "GSA: Opportunities to Cut Costs, Improve Energy Performance, and Eliminate Waste":  

Thank you, Madam Chairman, for holding this hearing. I am pleased to have the opportunity to discuss ways in which we can improve efficiency and eliminate waste within GSA.

Given the current state of the economy, people and businesses around the country continue to tighten their belts and look for ways to save money.  The federal government should be doing the same.  I look forward to hearing from Administrator Johnson on GSA’s efforts to improve property purchases and maintain efficient buildings. 

For me, this is an area where we can cut costs and save taxpayer money.  Additionally, it would be helpful to understand the financial impacts of EPA regulations and other federal mandates on the Administration—for example, how is GSA handling implementation of EPA’s lead-based paint rule.

I also continue to be concerned with GSA’s exclusive use of the LEED standard in certifying “green” buildings.  This has created unintended consequences, such as the use of foreign lumber instead of American-grown lumber.  Obviously, this is costly, inefficient, and environmentally unsound. 

I believe that the increased interest in green buildings and advances in technology in recent years have, and are, creating new building rating systems. These systems should be allowed to compete in the market and government agencies should be able to determine which system meets their performance requirements.

We also need to practice careful oversight to ensure that the best rating systems are being used in government decisions.

I am pleased to have Mr. Ward Hubbell, President of the Green Building Initiative, with us today to discuss some of the issues with LEED and explain another certification program used by GBI. 

I am also happy to have Mr. Jeffrey DeBoer, President and CEO of the Real Estate Round Table here today.  He will speak to the state of commercial real estate industry nationwide.  This is particularly important as GSA looks at disposing of excess and underutilized properties.

Thank you again Madam Chairman for this opportunity.  I look forward to hearing from all the witnesses.  

Inhofe Hearing Statement: Oversight Hearing on Disease Clusters and Environmental Health"

On March 29, Senator Inhofe gave the following statement at a Full Committee hearing entitled, "Oversight Hearing on Disease Clusters and Environmental Health."   

Thank you, Madam Chair, for scheduling this Oversight Hearing on Disease Clusters and Environmental Health, and in particular children’s health.

We can all agree that protecting children’s health is of great importance.  I agree with the overarching goal of S. 76, cosponsored by Sen. Crapo (R-Idaho).  It goes as follows: “[T]o protect and assist pregnant women, infants, children, and other individuals who have been, are, or could be harmed by, and become part of, a disease cluster…”  Who can disagree with that?  I have 20 children and grandchildren, and I think they fall into this category.

But general concern for kids and pregnant women is not the end of the matter.  As one of our witnesses today, Dr. Richard Belzer, notes in his testimony, “Detecting disease clusters is a very difficult epidemiological and statistical problem.”  How we actually dig into this issue and decide the best courses of action are obviously up for debate. 

At a minimum, we need to ensure the federal government, to the extent it’s involved in the issue, is relying on the best available science, and doing so in an open and transparent manner.  

We should also define, as best we can, science-based limits on what we are searching for and devise appropriate measures to address it once it’s found.  And we need to ensure that we have clear goals and that we have definite measures of what we mean by “success.”  This is especially important, for, as Dr. Belzer noted, “open-ended goals combined with indeterminate measures of success often result in significant future conflict.” 

The nation has an existing scientific structure for dealing with disease clusters—I hope we can examine this structure today and determine whether it’s adequate or not.  At this point, I think it is. 

Currently, investigating and addressing cancer and disease clusters is handled at the federal level by the Center for Disease Control, specifically by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).  This is a very capable agency, and I believe it should retain this exclusive authority. 

The reason I think this is clear: The ATSDR is an agency with a long history in public health, with the expertise and knowledge necessary to identify and deal with disease clusters.  For example, it has an existing infrastructure that facilitates communication between state and local public health departments, as well as local physicians. 

It is not a regulatory agency, and I think we should think twice before vesting authority of this kind in a regulatory agency, subject as it is to political pressures, as well as the inherent tendency to issue rules and mandates. 

It is vitally important we continue our efforts to identify, treat, and diagnose disease clusters using the best available science. Thank you again for holding this important hearing, and I look forward to hearing from our witnesses.