Offshore Drilling and Oil Shale Access a ‘Victory for the American People’ - Inhofe Says
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, today joined several of his Senate Republican colleagues to welcome the expiration of the ban on offshore oil drilling and the leasing of oil shale.
“Allowing the moratorium that bars offshore development and oil shale exploration to expire is a victory for the American people and our goal of energy security,” Senator Inhofe said. “America is finally able to utilize its plentiful domestic natural resources to help address high gas prices at the pump.
“After decades of refusing to allow common sense resource extraction, the Democrats finally folded on the issues of offshore development and oil shale just five weeks before Election Day. Quite simply, Democrats feared opposing the will of the American people to utilize more domestic energy supplies. Despite the Democrats complete capitulation on this issue; they undoubtedly will once again attempt to restrict access to domestic energy sources after the political expediency of Election Day passes.
“A vast majority of Americans now support offshore drilling and greater use of domestic energy resources. Republicans have consistently proposed measures to address high gasoline prices by increasing our domestic production. As often noted, America is not running out of oil and gas or running out of places to look for oil and gas. America is running out of places where we are allowed to look for oil and gas.“The Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) holds at least 19 billion barrels of recoverable oil. These enormous reserves are equivalent to 35 years’ worth of oil imports from Saudi Arabia. In addition, up to 1.1 trillion barrels of oil are estimated to be recoverable from oil shale and at prices as low as $35 to $48 dollars per barrel, within the first 12 years of commercial scale production. At current rates of consumption, 1.1 trillion barrels equals more than 145 years of domestic supply.”
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Opening Statement of Senator James Inhofe
Senate Environment and Public Works
Regulation of Greenhouse Gases under the Clean Air Act
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Madame Chairman, I am hopeful that today’s hearing will focus less on political theatrics and more on the substantive matter before us today, which has very urgent and troubling implications for our already fragile economy. This matter is the very real possibility of regulating greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.
Rather than trying to uncover who knew what and when during the deliberative process at the EPA, this hearing should begin our substantive look into the Clean Air Act, and just exactly how it will work in relation to the regulation of greenhouse gases. Despite my disagreement with the Supreme Court in the Massachusetts v. EPA case, I recognize that this Committee has a responsibility to evaluate the implications of that decision, which in my view we have failed to focus on until now. Therefore, I am grateful, Madame Chairman, for your decision to have this hearing today, and hope you will commit to work with me through this issue and take a hard look at all of the potential impacts as the climate debate moves forward next year.
As more and more analysis is done about the potential implications of regulating greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, the more alarming the consequences become. While some may seek to dismiss these analyses as scare tactics or exaggeration, I only offer up the recent D.C. Circuit Court decision vacating the CAIR rule as a reminder of how strictly the Courts interpret the provisions of the Clean Air Act. So while some in the environmental community or the Agency may see an inherent flexibility in the Act to soften some of the prescriptive permitting requirements that could be triggered if greenhouse gases are regulated, I am not so certain they should rush to those early conclusions.
My concern with the potential disastrous effects of this issue are not just mine alone. Several other Members, on both sides of the Capitol and on a bipartisan basis, have already expressed concern publicly with the Massachusetts case, and with the potential regulation of greenhouse gases under the Act. John Dingell, the Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, in a recent hearing even called the situation a “glorious mess” and that this has the “rich potential for causing a fine economic mess and a splendid manufacturing and industrial shutdown.”
We will also hear today from the United States Chamber of Commerce, who will voice their strong opposition over any proposed rules under the Act. They will discuss their new analysis that finds over one million mid-sized to large commercial-sector sources could become exposed to PSD permitting requirements, including 92,000 health care facilities and 100,000 schools and other educational facilities. In addition, almost 200,000 industrial manufacturing sector sources emit enough CO2 per year to become exposed to PSD permitting requirements, as well as over 17,000 large agricultural sector sources. Keep in mind that as part of the PSD process, regulated sources are often forced to install Best Available Control Technologies, or BACT, which in the case of CO2 has not been determined. This additional requirement would lead to even more bureaucratic delay and legal challenges.
In a time of record high energy prices, economic uncertainty, and dire financial news, and with Treasury Secretary Paulson testifying at this hour on the largest government bailout in history, the only positive economic data I can gather under those scenarios is for the legal profession as they will have a feeding frenzy of new Rules to challenge. Madame Chairman, this is only one example of the consequences of potential regulation under the Clean Air Act. There are also the State Implementation Plans, the New Source Review provisions, which can be applied in two different ways, and I could go on. It is my hope that this hearing will lead to broader understanding of the dire implications of regulating CO2 under the Clean Air Act, which it was never intended to do, and that as we move forward into next year, this Committee will exercise its jurisdiction to prevent any of these harmful and unnecessary regulatory impacts from happening.
Inhofe Takes Unusual Step of Objecting to EPW Hearing
Statement by Marc Morano, Communications Director for Environment and Public Works Committee’s Ranking Member Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.):
“This afternoon Senator Inhofe took the unusual step of objecting to the EPW Committee’s hearing titled 'Bush Administration Environmental Record at Department of Interior and Environmental Protection Agency.’ Senator Inhofe has asked the Bush Administration to honor his objection and not appear at the hearing.
“Senator Inhofe’s actions were in response to the Majority’s refusal to grant a single Minority requested hearing this entire 110th Congress, despite numerous requests. Specifically, Senator Inhofe requested twice in writing (May 5, 2008 and August 21, 2008) to a hearing to examine the ‘emerging questions surrounding ethanol’s effects on world food and livestock feed prices, its economic sustainability, and its transportation and infrastructure needs, its water usage, and numerous other environmental issues.’
“While the Clean Air Subcommittee did hold a hearing on July 10th, its stated purpose was “the status of life-cycle analysis and advancements in next generation biofuels.” At that hearing, Senator Inhofe renewed his request for an oversight hearing examining the issues he raised in his May 5, 2008 letter.
“As the former Chairman of the Committee he granted minority requests for hearings three separate times. This is the first time Senator Inhofe has ever objected to an EPW hearing.”
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Inhofe Urges Elimination of Ban on Oil Shale Exploration
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, today urged the elimination of the moratorium on oil shale exploration which is included in the Democratic stimulus package.
“Continuing the ban on oil shale development indicates Congressional Democrats are not serious about increasing American energy supply,” Senator Inhofe said. “Without Congressional action, a one-year delay in lifting the ban on oil shale exploration could end up lasting much longer, and, like the Outer Continental Shelf appropriations moratorium, continue year-after-year. This Congress has debated energy production for weeks, and an extension of this moratorium would do nothing to address increasing domestic energy supplies.”
“This stimulus bill would extend the oil shale moratorium for another year despite the fact that the American people have demanded the moratorium be removed. American’s strongly desire the ability to utilize their plentiful domestic natural resources to help address high gas prices at the pump.”
“It should now be absolutely clear to the American public that the Democrats reversal on offshore drilling this week was nothing more than an election year ploy designed to mask their opposition to increasing American energy production. With skyrocketing energy costs we need to consider all sources of energy – from oil and natural gas exploration, to shale exploration in the West, to alternatives. We need it all.”