Friday, February 6, 2009

Inhofe Leading Fight for More Responsible Infrastructure Money in Stimulus Bill

Posted 02/04/09

Link to Amendment



WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, will be filing a bi-partisan amendment to dramatically increase the percentage of infrastructure spending in the stimulus bill. Inhofe co-sponsored the bi-partisan Boxer-Bond-Inhofe-Baucus   amendment, filed yesterday, which increases highway investment by $5.5 billion.

“I am proud to help lead the effort in the Senate along with a bipartisan group of Senators to introduce amendments to responsibly increase infrastructure investment in the stimulus bill,” Senator Inhofe said. “Through my leadership position on the EPW Committee and as the primary author of SAFETEA I know firsthand the link between infrastructure spending, job creation, and a robust economy. 

“I believe it is our duty in this stimulus bill to create as many jobs as quickly as possible.  It’s not just the funding that is important, but how quickly we are able to stimulate the economy with the money in these programs.” 

Senator Inhofe fully supports increases in funding for infrastructure as long as they don’t add to to the cost of this already bloated bill.

“We can’t just add to the size of the bill and deficit without giving priority to programs that are stimulate the economy.  If we are going to call this package a stimulus bill, then we need to direct resources to programs that have demonstrated ability to create jobs immediately, and all other programs must be seriously considered,” Senator Inhofe said. “Any additional funding to the stimulus needs to be offset, including infrastructure.” 


The Boxer-Bond-Inhofe amendment increases highway investment by $5.5 billion. The amendment will eliminate this cumbersome new discretionary program, and merge the $5.5 billion with the $27 billion that goes out to all states as soon as the bill is enacted. This amendment provides every state additional funding.  

The Inhofe-Boxer amendment takes funds not obligated within a year, up to $50 billion, from programs in the stimulus that are not spending and redirect them to infrastructure project that are ready to have a contract awarded within 120 days of receiving this money.   

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Inhofe: 'Pork-Filled Stimulus Bill Fails to Tackle Real Energy Issues' ... In Case You Missed It

Posted 02/03/09

by Sen. James Inhofe

February 2, 2009 


Link to Human Events Article


As Democrats in Congress cobble together an obscenely massive spending bill, tens of billions of these dollars are intended to be force fed into so-called green and renewable energy programs under the pretense of job creation. There are also hundreds of millions more being proposed for climate-change research under the dubious banner of stimulating the economy.

In fact, climatologist Dr. Patrick Michaels slammed the stimulus package for its climate-related pork. “We already fund global climate-change research to the tune of $5-6 billion. What’s going on here I am guessing is to fatten up some programs or some budgets from some agency or administrator that didn’t get exactly what he or she wanted in the last budgetary cycle,” Michaels told CNN on January 28.  

Beware of Gore’s OK

This funding boost’s real purpose may be to further the political aims of the Obama Administration when it comes to offering alleged global-warming “solutions.” Caution is a must when former Vice President Al Gore touts the stimulus as some sort of “solution” to global warming.  

While some renewable energy programs included in the proposed stimulus may be promising, they unquestionably cost more and offer uncertain benefits.  Instead of endlessly adding to the substantial government subsidies renewables already enjoy, Congress should address a handful of commonsense policies to encourage real energy and job creation—policies that wouldn’t cost the American taxpayer a dime.  

ANWR, OCS and Oil Shale

For instance, Congress should open ANWR and the Outer Continental Shelf to environmentally sensitive oil and gas exploration, resulting in tens of thousands of high-paying jobs. Democrats should allow a sustained development of the oil shale in the American West, which the Rand Corporation estimates contains up to 1.1 trillion recoverable barrels. That is the equivalent of 145 years of domestic supply at current rates of oil consumption. In addition to reducing our dependence on foreign oil, this increased domestic energy production would provide both state and federal taxes, pay royalties to mineral owners, and keep jobs and dollars on American soil and in American pockets.  

Expand Clean Coal Use

Additionally, let’s create a streamlined and consolidated permitting process for new refineries in which EPA would be required to either approve or disapprove of a project within a year for new applications. France currently derives more than 75% of its electricity from nuclear power, a clean, proven, and economical resource. Congress should encourage a reasonable and predictable process for the construction of the next generation of nuclear power. The American Coal Foundation says that U.S. coal deposits contain more energy than of all the world’s oil reserves, and the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity states that today’s coal-based electricity generating fleet is 70% cleaner than it was in 1970 and is getting cleaner. Washington should promote the development of clean coal technologies, not institute regulatory and legal roadblocks to bankrupt the industry.

What is the government actually doing when it spends nearly a trillion on a stimulus? That money doesn’t just materialize out of thin air. It comes from the taxpayers or if it’s deficit spending, it comes from private lenders when they buy Treasury bonds. Either way, this money is taken out of the private sector marketplace and then put right back in when it’s spent by Uncle Sam. And don’t be fooled into thinking that the entire trillion dollars is put back into the economy. No doubt a large percent is wasted on government overhead and bureaucracy. At best it’s a zero sum game. It’s not stimulus. This is bigger government and it is more likely to harm economic performance than to improve it.  

Despite today’s lower energy costs, Congress must confront long-followed government policies that unnecessarily restrict our access to plentiful supplies of America’s own natural resources. Those restrictive policies heavily contributed to the $4 gasoline prices we experienced last summer. Since it’s also reasonable to conclude that those high prices played a role in our current economic downturn, America can’t wait until prices once again hit $4.  

Where Are Deficit Hawks?

This historic spending binge, touted as an economic “stimulus,” reveals that the taxpayer’s hard earned money truly now has become an almost meaningless commodity in Washington. It is amazing how many of yesterday’s deficit hawks are now suddenly today’s top cheerleaders for a massive stimulus bill. Restoring fiscal sanity in Washington looks more and more like a dream of yesteryear.  

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Inhofe: 'Don't Let Green Job Mandates Push Us into the Red' ... In Case You Missed It

Posted 02/05/09

By Senator James Inhofe

February 5, 2009

Link to The Hill Blog


With the backdrop of a severe recession, President Obama and Congressional Democrats are pitching the ideas that the regulation of greenhouse gases will result in a “green job” boom and have the desirable side-effect of cleaning up the environment. In short, limiting carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions will force Americans to turn to clean energy sources that will employ millions of people. Reality, however, suggests otherwise. In all likelihood, energy bills will rise, manufacturing costs will soar, and there will be an exodus of well-paying jobs.


Need proof? A review of the impact of similar policies in Europe and California provide the evidence. In December, nearly 11,000 metal workers protested similar policies in Brussels for fear of continued outsourcing. In Germany, auto manufacturers have also argued against such strict cuts. Italy protested that new policies would cost its industries up to 20 billion Euros. In California, as noted by the Wall Street Journal, state-commissioned economists lambasted the supposedly positive impact of strict greenhouse gas cuts. WSJ columnist Stephen Moore wrote, “Other states are plundering the Golden State’s industries by convincing businesses to pick up stakes and move out before the cap-and-trade earthquake hits.The state has the fourth-highest housing foreclosure rate in the nation, has lost more businesses than any state in recent years, and is facing a $40 billion deficit. With cap and trade firmly in place, the economic situation is only likely to get worse.”


Green jobs currently enjoy significant government subsidies, and where market circumstances make sense, they will continue to grow at a healthy rate.  Case in point, good green jobs are already being created in towns from Tulsa, Oklahoma to Toledo, Ohio to Newton, Iowa. The questions become: How much more is appropriate to subsidize and at what pace?  What regions of the country will be winners and losers? And what is the quality and working conditions of these new jobs?


Certainly, the short-term impact of green mandates on the U.S. economy will also depend not just on how many jobs they create but how much income that they generate. A February 3rd report by “Good Jobs First,” a coalition of labor and environmental groups, makes this exact argument. Their report finds that low pay is not uncommon in the [green jobs] workplace and that wage rates at many wind and solar manufacturing facilities are below the national average for workers employed in the manufacture of durable goods. They also confirm that some U.S. wind and solar manufacturers have already begun to offshore production of components destined for U.S. markets to low-wage havens such as China and Mexico. These findings hardly represent the panacea that many green jobs proponents advocate.  


In short, mandatory carbon caps will force energy providers to utilize much more expensive renewable energy, which will be passed on to already short in the pocket consumers. American businesses will be able to avoid these costs through outsourcing. Like California, but on a national scale, U.S. jobs will migrate to China, India and other emerging markets. We have seen the impact of European and Californian policies and we must recognize the lessons learned, so as not to blindly follow them down the same dark green path.  


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California's 'Green Jobs' Experiment Isn't Going Well...In Case You Missed It

Posted 02/03/09

JANUARY 31, 2009


Link to Wall Street Journal Article

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was all smiles in 2006 when he signed into law the toughest anti-global-warming regulations of any state. Mr. Schwarzenegger and his green supporters boasted that the regulations would steer California into a prosperous era of green jobs, renewable energy, and technological leadership. Instead, since 2007 -- in anticipation of the new mandates -- California has led the nation in job losses.

The regulations created a cap-and-trade system, similar to proposed federal global-warming measures, by limiting the CO2 that utilities, trucking companies and other businesses can emit, and imposed steep new taxes on companies that exceed the caps. Since energy is an input in everything that's produced, this will raise the cost of production inside California's borders.

Now, as the Golden State prepares to implement this regulatory scheme, employers are howling. It's become clear to nearly everyone that the plan's backers have underestimated its negative impact and exaggerated the benefits. "We've been sold a false bill of goods," is how Republican Assemblyman Roger Niello, who has been the GOP's point man on environmental issues in the legislature, put it to me.

The environmental plan was built on the notion that imposing some $23 billion of new taxes and fees on households (through higher electricity bills) and employers will cost the economy nothing, while also reducing greenhouse gases. Almost no one believes that anymore except for the five members of the California Air Resources Board (CARB). This is the state's air-quality regulator, which voted unanimously in December to stick with the cap-and-trade system despite the recession. CARB justified its go-ahead by issuing what almost all experts agree is a rigged study on the economic impact of the cap-and-trade system. The study concludes that the plan "will not only significantly reduce California's greenhouse gas emissions, but will also have a net positive effect on California's economic growth through 2020."

This finding elicited a chorus of hallelujahs from environmental groups. The state finally discovered a do-good policy that pays for itself. Californians can still scurry around in their cars, heat up their Jacuzzis, and help save the planet. But there was a problem. The CARB had commissioned five economists from around the country to critique this study. They panned it.

Harvard's Robert Stavins, chairman of the federal Environmental Protection Agency's economic advisory committee under Bill Clinton, told me that "None of us knew who the other reviewers were, but we all came up with almost the same conclusion. The report was severely flawed and systematically underestimated costs." Another reviewer, UCLA Prof. Matthew E. Kahn, a supporter of the new regulations, criticized the "free lunch" aspect of the report. "The net dollar costs of each of these regulations is likely to be much larger than is reported," he concluded. Mr. Stavins points out that if these regulations are a net boon for businesses and the economy, "why would you need to impose regulations like cap and trade?"

The Sacramento Bee, which has editorialized in support of the new regulations, was aghast at CARB's twisted science. We have to "be candid about the real costs of the transition," a cautionary editorial advised. "Energy prices will rise, and major capital investment will be needed in public transit and new transmission lines. Industries that are energy intensive will move elsewhere."

The green lobby has lectured us for years that global warming is all about the sanctity of science. Those who question the "scientific consensus" on catastrophic atmospheric changes are belittled as "deniers." Now, in assessing the costs, the greens readily cook the books and throw good science out the window. "To most of the most strident supporters of this legislation," says Mr. Niello, "the economic costs don't really matter anyway, because we are supposedly facing an environmental apocalypse."

Mr. Schwarzenegger fits into that camp. He recently declared: "I recommend very strongly that we move forward . . . . You will always have people saying this will lose jobs."

Meanwhile, the state is losing jobs, a lot of them. California's unemployment rate hit 9.3% in December, up from 4.9% in December 2006. There are now 1.5 million Californians out of work. The state has the fourth-highest housing foreclosure rate in the nation, has lost more businesses than any state in recent years, and is facing a $40 billion deficit. With cap and trade firmly in place, the economic situation is only likely to get worse.

Other states are plundering the Golden State's industries by convincing businesses to pick up stakes and move out before the cap-and-trade earthquake hits. Governors and Washington politicians who want to reduce their "carbon footprint," but are worried about the more immediate crises of cascading unemployment, unbalanced budgets, and the housing-market collapse, would be wise not to follow California's lead. Green policies have a tendency to push states into the red.


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Inhofe Comments on Democrats' Global Warming Principles

Posted 02/03/09

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, commented on the Democrats’ new climate principles.

"At a time when Congress is debating a near term multi-billion dollar bailout for the American economy, once again the Democrats are proposing principles for climate legislation that will impose a long-term multi-trillion dollar energy tax on families and workers,” Senator Inhofe said.

“As demonstrated last year, when it comes to drafting comprehensive climate legislation, the devil is in the details. These principles offer nothing more than a punt on all of the difficult issues that Americans expect to be honestly debated. Congressional cap-and-trade bills, often touted as an ‘insurance policy’ against global warming, would instead be nothing more than all economic pain for no climate gain. We look forward to debating these tough issues in the Committee this year.”


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