Following President Bush's State of the Union address on Tuesday night, Senator Inhofe commented on the President’s plan for ensuring energy reliability and improving the nation’s energy security by promoting renewable fuels, clean coal technology, and the expansion of the use of nuclear power.
“President Bush is right; America is far too dependent upon foreign powers for our energy needs and we must improve the nation’s energy security,” Senator Inhofe said. “Congress should build upon the significant gains made in passing the bi-partisan Energy Bill in 2005 where Congress made a commitment to advancing clean technologies and expanding domestic energy production. While Chairman of the EPW Committee, I worked with my colleagues to include several provisions in the Energy Bill that have helped expand refinery capacity, expand the use of nuclear energy and strengthen security at nuclear facilities, and improve permitting processes so we can explore our domestic resources in an environmentally-conscious manner. These provisions continue to benefit Oklahoma and the nation as a whole.”
“I am a strong proponent of increasing energy security by increasing domestic production. However, we must carefully measure the President’s ambitious proposal to drastically increase the use of alternative fuels, particularly when the unintended consequences of such a mandate could have on the American people. While Chairman, I worked closely with my colleagues to craft a responsible bi-partisan compromise that lead to the historic RFS included in the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Since passage of that comprehensive measure last August, I chaired three EPW Committee oversight hearings on transportation fuels, and a legislative hearing on my bill that improve the process to build critical fuels infrastructure. My careful examination of ethanol and monitoring the RFS implementation has lead me to voice concern over increasing costs of food and feed. Secure energy supply must be grounded on three key principles – stable, diverse, and affordable. I look forward to weighing how the President’s initiative meets this test.
“I commend the President for his continued commitment to increasing domestic refining capacity. As Chairman of the EPW Committee I introduced the Gas PRICE Act and Energy Price Reduction Act, legislation designed to increase refining capacity for gasoline and boutique fuels, only to see Senate Democrats block and obstruct reasonable legislation. As the President said today, increased refining capacity can go a long way in addressing the nation’s short-, mid-, and long-term fuels challenges. My refining legislation established greater regulatory certainty without changing any environmental law, through improving efficiency, and by establishing a future for the use of ultra-clean transportation fuels derived from abundant domestic resources such as coal and renewable agriculture sources.”
EPW COMMITTEE COMMITMENT TO NATIONAL SECURITY AND ENERGY INDEPENDENCE
In 2005 as Chairman of the EPW Committee, Senator Inhofe introduced the Gas Petroleum Refiner Improvement and Community Empowerment Act (Gas PRICE Act), which will expand the nation’s refining capacity and help establish a future for the use of ultra clean transportation fuels derived from abundant domestic resources. During the Committee’s mark-up, the Gas PRICE Act was amended to include coal-to-liquid facilities, biorefineries, and any facility that produces a renewable fuel as defined by the Clean Air Act under the definition of a “refinery.”
As Chairman of the EPW Committee, Senator Inhofe co-sponsored legislation that created a comprehensive program to increase the use of renewable fuels in the United States. The Reliable Fuels Act, ultimately incorporated into the Energy Policy Act signed into law in 2005, encourages the production and use of ethanol made from cellulosic biomass by counting each gallon of ethanol produced from cellulosic biomass as if it were 1.5 gallons of corn-based ethanol. The legislation also authorized loan guarantees for up to four cellulosic ethanol commercial demonstration projects under the Federal Non-Nuclear Energy Research and Development Act of 1974. These projects will produce cellulosic ethanol from agricultural residue or municipal solid waste.
Also included in the Energy Policy Act were three bills approved by the Committee that will encourage the expansion of the use of nuclear power:
· S. 858: the Nuclear Fees Reauthorization Act of 2005
Titles II and III of S. 858 contain key Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) reform provisions that are critical to better aligning the NRC’s resources and capabilities as well as human capital provisions needed to ensure that NRC meets its long-term staffing needs.
· S. 864: Nuclear Security Act of 2005
S. 846 includes additional authorities that the NRC has requested of the Committee such as expansion of background checks, finger printing, and providing additional security tools for the personnel who guard these sites. The bill as introduced provides the base text for comprehensive discussion on nuclear security.
· S. 865: Price-Anderson Act Amendments of 2005
The Price Anderson Act of 1957 established a liability insurance program for damages to the general public from potential nuclear incidents. The Act has been reauthorized four times with the latest occurring in the FY2003 Omnibus Appropriations Act when the program was extended to December 31, 2003. Although the program never expires for existing reactors, the program would not be available for new reactors until it is reauthorized. Recognizing the reauthorization of this program is absolutely essential for the growth of nuclear power in the nation, this legislation reauthorizes the program until December 31, 2025. Variations of the bill have passed the EPW Committee and the full Senate over the past few congresses.
# # #
America Needs a Stable, Diverse and Affordable Energy Supply
by Senator Inhofe
Posted Jan 25, 2007
The President is correct -- the U.S. is too dependent on foreign sources of energy, a necessary and vital component to national security. Government policies should do more to promote domestic energy production in all its forms, including but not exclusively related to motor fuels.
The fact of the matter is that the country is over 70% self-sufficient when we consider total energy (coal, nuclear, hydro, renewables, gas, etc). Although much of that dependence relates to oil, the U.S. does not import nearly as much from the Middle East as some suggest. As energy expert Daniel Yergin recently pointed out in the Wall Street Journal, “[s]ome 81% of oil imports do not come from that region. Thus, only 19% of imports -- and 12% of total petroleum consumption -- originates in the Middle East.” It may surprise many readers that the U.S. imports most of its oil not from Arab Sheiks but from our friends in Canada.
Yet, even though North America is blessed with abundant energy resources, small businesses, manufacturers, and families across the country have experienced high and volatile energy prices. The reason: our energy and environmental policies are conflicted. Even former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan noted, “[w]e have been struggling to reach an agreeable tradeoff between environmental and energy concerns for decades. I do not doubt we will continue to fine-tune our areas of consensus. But it is essential that our policies be consistent.”
In my leadership position, I have worked to make our policies more consistent, but the challenges are formidable. Although many Democrats say that they are concerned with high energy prices they consistently vote against reasonable policies that would lower them, and in fact pursue policies that increase them. For example, Democrats have repeatedly voted against proposals to increase oil and gas production (remember ANWR?). Further, members of the Massachusetts delegation snuck a provision into the transportation bill that effectively blocked construction of an already certified Liquefied Natural Gas Terminal in Falls River. What is particularly galling about this example is not that they blocked a project that would reduce gas prices in the region by 20 percent, but that they expect the rest of us to pay for it. After they blocked the project they sought to increase funding (aka, your money) for the Low Income Heating and Energy Assistance Program -- one that largely benefits the cold Northeast.
In an effort to reduce motor fuel prices, I tried to move the Gas PRICE Act (S. 1772) -- a bill that would improve the permitting process for the construction of new and expansion of existing petroleum, renewable fuel, and coal-to-liquids facilities. Although both Democrat Presidential front-runners, Senators Clinton and Obama claim to support biofuels and coal-to-liquids, they both voted against my bill. Instead, they voted in favor of a Democrat alternative that would socialize refining capacity by placing the Environmental Protection Agency in charge of designing and operating these facilities. Thankfully, their proposal was defeated along party lines last Congress. I remain concerned about what they may try now that they are in the majority.
The Democrats’ response to the State of the Union was exceptional in its lack of information. Sen. Webb pointed out that our manufacturing base is hurting, yet he failed to mention that his party could have eased that pain years ago if they only joined Republicans to address the natural gas crisis. Instead, their party has pursued the not-in-my-backyard policies similar to their Massachusetts’ colleagues.
I have mixed feelings over the President’s proposal. I applaud his focus on increasing domestic energy production, and look forward to learning the details of the plan, where I expect to find quite a number of devils. As the past chairman of the Committee with jurisdiction over motor fuels, I held several hearings on ethanol. The President’s proposal raises many important questions that must carefully be weighed before proceeding. The nation’s fuels and distribution system is complex and we must consider the unintended consequences to the related industries, but most importantly to motorists and families across the country.
Secure energy supply must be grounded in three key principles -- stable, diverse, and affordable. I hope that the President will convince me that his proposal meets that test. In the meantime, I encourage him to broaden the proposal to include all forms of domestic energy production including oil, gas, nuclear, coal, as well as renewable forms. I also encourage my Democratic colleagues to move beyond their rhetoric and embrace the energy that has made this country great -- unfortunately, I am not too optimistic that will happen, as long as the anti-growth forces hold such sway in the Democrat Party.
The Wall Street Journal
If the Cap Fits
By KIMBERLEY A. STRASSEL
January 26, 2007; Page A10
Washington this week officially welcomed the newest industry on the hunt for financial and regulatory favors. Big CarbonCap may have the same dollar-sign agenda as Big Oil or Big Pharma, but don't expect Nancy Pelosi to admit to it.
Democrats want to flog the global warming theme through 2008 and they'll take what help they can get, even if it means cozying up to executives whose goal is to enrich their firms. Right now, the corporate giants calling for a mandatory carbon cap serve too useful a political purpose for anyone to delve into their baser motives.
The Climate Action Partnership, a group of 10 major companies that made headlines this week with its call for a national limit on carbon dioxide emissions, would surely feign shock at such an accusation. After all, their plea was carefully timed to coincide with President Bush's State of the Union capitulation on global warming, and it had the desired PR effect. The media dutifully declared that "even" business now recognized the climate threat. Sen. Barbara Boxer, who begins marathon hearings on warming next week, lauded the corporate angels for thinking of the "common good."
There was a time when the financial press understood that companies exist to make money. And it happens that the cap-and-trade climate program these 10 jolly green giants are now calling for is a regulatory device designed to financially reward companies that reduce CO2 emissions, and punish those that don't.
Four of the affiliates -- Duke, PG&E, FPL and PNM Resources -- are utilities that have made big bets on wind, hydroelectric and nuclear power. So a Kyoto program would reward them for simply enacting their business plan, and simultaneously sock it to their competitors. Duke also owns Cinergy, which relies heavily on dirty, CO2-emitting coal plants. But Cinergy will soon have to replace those plants with cleaner equipment. Under a Kyoto, it'll get paid for its trouble.
DuPont has been plunging into biofuels, the use of which would soar under a cap. Somebody has to cobble together all these complex trading deals, so say hello to Lehman Brothers. Caterpillar has invested heavily in new engines that generate "clean energy." British Petroleum is mostly doing public penance for its dirty oil habit, but also gets a plug for its own biofuels venture.
Finally, there's General Electric, whose CEO Jeffrey Immelt these days spends as much time in Washington as Connecticut. GE makes all the solar equipment and wind turbines (at $2 million a pop) that utilities would have to buy under a climate regime. GE's revenue from environmental products long ago passed the $10 billion mark, and it doesn't take much "ecomagination" to see why Mr. Immelt is leading the pack of climate profiteers.
CEOs are quick learners, and even those who would get smacked by a carbon cap are now devising ways to make warming work to their political advantage. The "most creative" prize goes to steel giant Nucor. Steven Rowlan, the company's environmental director, doesn't want carbon caps in the U.S. -- oh, no. The smarter answer, he explains, would be for the U.S. to impose trade restrictions on foreign firms that aren't environmentally clean. Global warming as foil for trade protectionism: Chuck Schumer's dream.
What makes this lobby worse than the usual K-Street crowd is that it offers no upside. At least when Big Pharma self-interestedly asks for fewer regulations, the economy benefits. There's nothing capitalist about lobbying for a program that foists its debilitating costs on taxpayers and consumers while redistributing the wealth to a few corporate players.
This is what comes from Washington steadily backstepping energy policy into the interventionist 1970s, picking winners and losers. In ethanol, in biodiesel, in wind farms, success isn't a function of supply or demand. The champs are the ones that coax out of Washington the best subsidies and regulations. Global warming is simply the biggest trough yet.
Both Republicans and Democrats understand this debate is increasingly about home-state economics, even as they publicly joust about environmental rights or wrongs. The softening Republican stance on a mandatory program is one result. New Mexico's Pete Domenici appeared to undergo an epiphany about global warming in 2005, voting for a Senate resolution supporting caps. The switch might have more to do with remembering that his state is nuclear-power central, and will win big under a new program. Just ask his fellow New Mexican, Jeff Bingaman, who introduced the resolution.
Economic interests also motivate those Democrats who won't play nice. The senators who have voted against previous bills represent those industries that will suffer most under Mr. Immelt's agenda. Louisiana's Mary Landrieu (oil); Montana's Max Baucus (coal); West Virginia's Robert Byrd (ditto). House Energy & Commerce Chair John Dingell remains a skeptic, since the last thing his Michigan auto makers need is yet another reason for people to not buy their cars.
Which is fine with Ms. Pelosi. The Democratic leadership ran out of the winner's circle last November promising to tackle climate. And much was made this week of Madam Speaker's decision to wrest control of the debate away from Mr. Dingell's purview, handing it instead to a new "select" committee on climate change.
But read the fine print. The new vaunted committee will have no legislative authority, but exists solely to hold hearings and to "communicate with the American people." Ms. Pelosi and Harry Reid want to talk about this issue . . . and talk, and talk and talk. But not necessarily anything more.
That's because Democrats want global warming as an issue through 2008. With Al Gore getting his Oscar nod, they've got a "problem" that captures the public imagination, as well as an endless supply of cash from thrilled environmental groups. No need to spoil it with a solution. And a Democratic president in 2009 would be more open to any ultimate legislation.
Best yet, they've got the "support" of the business community, or at least the savvier elements of it. Welcome, Big CarbonCap; we're likely to be hearing a lot from you.
Click Here for the column: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB116978243861488666.html
From The Wall Street Journal's OpinionJournal.com
Senator Inhofe Joins the Pajama Pundits
By Kimberley A. Strassel
January 23, 2006
Pundits do it. Scientists do it. Even Donald Trump does it. So why shouldn't Congress blog too?
As the former Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Republican Jim Inhofe was a coruscating critic of climate change alarmism. Now in the minority, he plans to make sure his voice is heard over the din of the media-savvy environmental groups through a new blog. His team even intends to make a bit of Congressional history by conducting the first-ever live Senate blog during the president's State of the Union Address tonight. Watch out, National Review Online.
This is the latest in Senator Inhofe's strategy of trying to shout louder than his many opponents in the environmental community. His media team is somewhat notorious in Washington for their "facts of the day" and "weekly closer" emails that attempt to get out another side of the story. And their new blog is already making waves, not to mention causing some congressional tech malfunctioning.
Last week the minority blog issued a scathing indictment of Heidi Cullen, host of the Weather Channel's weekly global warming program "The Climate Code." Ms. Cullen had called for the American Meteorological Society to decertify any TV weatherperson who exhibits undue skepticism about climate warming. The widely-read Drudge Report linked to the Inhofe site's critique of Ms. Cullen, generating so much traffic that the Senate's web servers shut down. A subsequent email update from the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms said the link had been bringing "30-50,000 queries per hour to senate.gov."
No word yet as to when Senator Inhofe himself might roll up his sleeves and post a few items. Let's hope the Senate can get its still-sluggish servers up to speed by then. The blog can be found at this link.
Emily Heil, in her column Under the Dome in The Hill newspaper, uncovers the reason why Senate Web sites were down throughout the Senate last Friday morning.From her column:
Internet surfers trying to access the Senate’s website on Friday (oh, c’mon, you know you were) might have encountered a bit of a delay. For part of the day, all of the Senate’s Web pages, including senators’ personal pages and committee sites, were down.
The culprits? Two oft-blamed scourges: DrudgeReport.com and global warming. Well, sort of.
Traffic to a blog posted by Republicans on the Environment and Public Works Committee was so heavy Friday, thanks to a link posted on DrudgeReport.com, that the Senate site got bogged down. The blog entry that caused the stir was critical of the Weather Channel’s call for decertification of meteorologists who are skeptical of global warming.
An e-mail sent to Senate offices by the Sergeant at Arms, whose office was scrambling to fix the problem on Friday, read in part, “Drudgereport.com established a link on their web site to a press release on a Senate committee Web site. This link was creating 30-50,000 queries per hour to senate.gov, which in turn was generating a query to the Press Application for each of those hits.”
EPW ranking member Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) started the blog in December.
Hmm, now if only the Senate could generate that kind of readership for such scintillating online features as “The Senate’s First Decade on the Web.”
Posted by Matthew_Dempsey@epw.senate.gov
Senator Inhofe's EPW press team conducting the first-ever live Senate blog during Tuesday night’s State of the Union Address. Go to this link to follow along as the GOP side of the EPW Committee blogs live during President George Bush’s speech and the Democratic response.
The Inhofe EPW blog incorporated commentary, facts and interactive web links with policy reactions to the President and the Democratic response. Read the Live 2007 Inhofe-EPW Blog here.
The Weather Channel’s top climate expert -- already under fire for advocating the scientific decertification of global warming skeptics -- is one of the stars of a new politically charged global warming documentary that, according to the film's website, accuses the U.S. government of “criminal neglect” and blames "right-wing think tanks" for helping to "defeat climate-friendly legislation."
The supercharged political message in the new documentary “Everything’s Cool,” which prominently features the Weather Channel's climate expert Heidi Cullen, appears to conflict with the network and Cullen’s recently stated goal of not taking “a political position on global warming.” ( See Cullen’s blog ) Cullen, who hosts the Weather Channel’s weekly show “The Climate Code,” made the remarks on January 18, following the controversy surrounding her proposal that the American Meteorological Society decertify broadcast meteorologists skeptical of manmade global warming predictions. (Click here to see Cullen’s original remarks on the Weather Channel website calling on the AMS to decertify climate skeptics)
Cullen is featured in the new documentary as one of the “global warming messengers,” along with many eco-activists and such Hollywood celebrities as Salma Hayek and Jake Gyllenhaal. The film premiered last week at Robert Redford’s Sundance Film Festival in Utah which runs through January 28.
Movie Slams ‘Right-Wing think tanks’
“Everything’s Cool” severely challenges Cullen’s promise to steer clear of politics. The documentary’s promotional website states that the climate “crisis” is being met by the U.S. “government with apathy, denial, and perhaps, even criminal neglect.” See: http://www.everythingscool.org/about.htm
An excerpt from the “About the Film” webpage of “Everything’s Cool” reveals the political overtones of the film, noting that Cullen and the other “global warming messengers” are opposed by “recalcitrant politicians, the fossil-fuel corporations” and “right-wing think tanks that do their bidding, by working tirelessly to obscure the science and gum up the works of government to defeat climate-friendly legislation and promote the unrestrained use of fossil fuels.”
“Tell Congress to reject ExxonMobil's tactics to undermine science cast doubt on the facts about global warming,” the documentary’s website also implores.
The overtly political content of the film is at odds with the mission of The Weather Channel as stated by website executive editor Matthew de Ganon, who noted on January 19th that The Weather Channel’s goal was “to present an open, balanced dialogue around the scientific facts concerning global climate change.”
Cullen Criticized for Starring in ‘Big Political Movie’
ABC-TV Birmingham meteorologist James Spann was quick to critique Cullen’s participation in the new documentary.
“She is trying to say [global warming] should not be a political issue and I totally agree with that, but boy this movie looks political,” said Spann, an AMS certified meteorologist, on Monday after reviewing the “Everything’s Cool” movie website. Spann made his comments during his weekly podcast “Weather Brains.”
“When you start talking about your government and ‘criminal neglect,’ that to me is a big political movie,” Spann said. Spann had previously denounced Cullen’s call for the American Meteorological Society to decertify TV weathermen who express skepticism about manmade global warming.
The "Everythings Cool" website urges concerned citizens to “Take Action” by contacting a long list of politically charged environmental special-interest groups including: The National Resources Defense Council, The Union of Concerned Scientists, The Sierra Club, Greenpeace USA and Environmental Defense.
US Puts 'Planet in Jeopardy'
It appears from the promotional material available on the movies website, that “Everything’s Cool” is set to make former Vice President Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” appear downright timid in its presentation of the fears of global warming. The website states:
“If the U.S. as a nation and a government does not aggressively cut greenhouse gas emission in the next decade, the problem of climate change will eventually dwarf all other economic and social problems. Inaction by the U.S. places everyone else on the planet in jeopardy.”
Actor/activist Redford reportedly made special arrangements for a special pre-screening of “Everything’s Cool” for the Sundance Festival’s key financial backers. The film, which is being billed as a “toxic comedy,” was produced by Daniel B. Gold and Judith Helfand. (Note: The movie apparently also “premiered” at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival as well. See 2006 website listing of “Everything’s Cool”
Review Calls Celebrity Roles ‘Silly’
Hollywood celebrities Salma Hayek and Jake Gyllenhaal roles in the film have been ridiculed in at least one early review of the movie. The review noted that the scenes featuring the two celebrities at a “publicity appearance at an Arctic village comes off as silly.”
Also appearing with Cullen in the documentary is longtime global warming activist Ross Gelbspan. (Note: Gelbspan has made somewhat of a career out of the humorous allegation that all global warming skeptics are funded by industry while totally ignoring the overwhelming funding advantage that climate alarmists enjoy. See funding notes near end of the blog. Also see this link for more on funding advantages of global warming proponents:
Cullen’s appearance in “Everything’s Cool” is not the first time she has flirted with political activism. On March 14, 2005, Cullen called for “simple measures” to limits C02 emissions while participating in a Capitol Hill press conference. "The UK has cut emissions by 15 percent and it hasn't hurt their economy," Cullen says.
Cullen also featured a guest on the December 17, 2006 episode of The Weather Channel’s "The Climate Code" TV show, who had once openly called for Nuremberg-style Trials for global warming skeptics.
Weather Channel Climate Expert Calls for Decertifying Global Warming Skeptics
Ams Certified Weatherman Strikes Back At Weather Channel Call For Decertification
The Weather Channel Climate Expert Refuses to Retract Call for Decertification for Global Warming Skeptics
The Hill: Drudge, global warming shut down Senate site
Wall Street Journal Praises New Inhofe EPW Blog for "Making Waves"
Senator Inhofe Announces Public Release Of “Skeptic’s Guide To Debunking Global Warming”
In her new column in The Wall Street Journal, Kimberly Strassel writes today about the Democrat’s agenda on global warming for the 110th Congress: Strassel writes:
“With Al Gore getting his Oscar nod, they've [Democrats] got a "problem" that captures the public imagination, as well as an endless supply of cash from thrilled environmental groups. No need to spoil it with a solution.”
And so it begins next week in the United States Senate. The EPW Committee will hold a hearing in which every United States Senator has been invited to share their thoughts on the issue of global warming with each Senator allowed up to ten minutes to speak. The hearing is scheduled to last all day, so we thought we would provide you some useful resources whether you can make it to the hearing or not:
Check out the recently redesigned EPW Committee Website where you will find all of Senator Inhofe’s speeches (video and audio clips available), press releases, facts of the day, blog entries related to global warming.
Download Senator Inhofe’s “A Skeptic’s Guide to Debunking Global Warming Alarmism. Hot & Cold Media Spin Cycle: A Challenge To Journalists who Cover Global Warming.” and bring it with you next week.
Read the new Inhofe-EPW Press Blog. The Hill reported this week that due to the volume of people visiting the new Inhofe-EPW Blog, all Senate Web site were shut down for part of the day.