WASHINGTON, DC – Sen. James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, welcomed Oklahoma State Representative Dennis Adkins(R-Broken Arrow)to today’s EPW Committee hearing on “State, Regional, and Local Perspectives on Global Warming.” Senator Inhofe invited Rep. Adkins to testify on the impact of federal global warming legislation on Oklahoma and what action is taking place at the state level.
“As Democrats rush to pass carbon cap legislation resulting in the largest tax increase in American history, it is essential to hear from state and local officials about the significant cost back home,” Senator Inhofe said. “Therefore, I am particularly grateful to Oklahoma Representative Adkins, who as chair of the Oklahoma House Committee on Energy and Technology has significant knowledge of these issues, for raising concerns in his testimony stressing that Oklahoma, as an energy state, would suffer significant job losses and higher energy prices if federal carbon cap legislation passed.”
Representative Adkins has served as the chairman of the since 2005, which has jurisdiction over all state legislation affecting the oil and gas industry in Oklahoma and utility regulation. Further, Rep. Adkins is involved in the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the Energy Council. Both ALEC and the Energy Council are organizations comprised of state legislators from throughout the country.
“First and foremost, we would be concerned about the impact on Oklahomans. We would want to carefully weigh the proposed benefits of any action to the impact it will have on our citizens’ pocketbooks, our economy, as well as on the environment.
“Oklahoma is blessed to have an abundant supply of electricity at rates below the national average. Unfortunately, we are not as blessed when it comes to cool summers. Oklahoma can get hot in the summertime driving up power consumption as a result and that translates into high electric bills. I know because I hear from my constituents, and I am a ratepayer too.
“As state and federal legislators, we all heard the public uproar when the cost of gasoline began climbing. A few winters ago, we heard loud and clear that citizens were not at all pleased with the increase in natural gas prices. Now, we are talking about taking steps that could drive energy prices even higher without a clearly articulated benefit.
“Generally speaking, measures such as carbon caps, cap and trade systems, and emission allowances would inevitably raise energy prices, raise costs of consumer products and services, reduce profits, impair productivity and may not achieve global reductions of greenhouse gas emissions. For example, under the Kyoto Protocol, emissions reductions are imposed on developed countries, while developing countries such as India and China, which will ultimately surpass the United States in carbon dioxide emissions, are left out.
“In Oklahoma, for example, our utilities are becoming leaders in wind power. Without mandates, our state has over 500 megaWatts of wind power. Although I realize this falls behind larger states that have developed their infrastructure over a longer period of time, over the last three years, Oklahoma now has the fifth largest wind generation base in the country. In fact, as transmission costs climb to $1 million per mile, our largest problem is transmission of this energy from the western portion of the state throughout the rest state.
“Pending in the Oklahoma Legislature presently is a measure that will establish the Oklahoma Bio-fuels Center over the next four years. Oklahoma will invest $40 million in a consortium among the University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University, and the Noble Foundation to engage in research developing the bio-fuels sector focusing on cellulosic feedstock.
“At the same time, while the majority of the electricity capacity in Oklahoma is natural gas fired at roughly 58 percent, I know the utility sector is presently investing in building a new coal-fired plant in the central part of the state, and they are going above and beyond the standard technology. We are planning to build a cutting edge plant that will reduce greenhouse gases and other emissions.”