Washington, D.C. - Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, today delivered a speech on the Senate floor opposing the nomination of John Bryson to be Secretary of Commerce.
Full Text of Speech:
Mr. President, I rise today to express my serious objection to the nomination of John Bryson to be Secretary of Commerce.
President Obama's choice of Bryson is a clear indication that he has no intention of backing down on his job-killing war on affordable energy.
At a time when unemployment is sky high, President Obama chooses the founder of the radical Natural Resources Defense Council, a left-wing environmental organization, which in the name of global warming, seeks to cut off access to our natural resources and increase drastically the price of electricity and gasoline across America.
Mr. Bryson once called the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill "moderate." Why did he like cap-and-trade? As he told students at the University of California Berkley last year, cap-and-trade "has the advantage politically at sort-of hiding the fact that you have a tax." This is legislation that would cost American taxpayers billions of dollars, destroy hundreds of thousands of jobs, and hurt families and workers by raising the price of gasoline and electricity - yet he thinks it is "moderate."
The Secretary of Commerce should have a record of promoting not stifling economic growth, and Bryson's career shows that he has a clear record of the latter. It makes no sense to have Secretary of Commerce who's against commerce.
I'm not the only one who thinks so:
An editorial in the Wall Street Journal states: "President Obama nominated John Bryson to head the Commerce Department on Tuesday, praising the Californian as ‘a business leader who understands what it takes to innovate, create jobs and to persevere through tough times.' That's one way of describing someone with a talent for scoring government subsidies."
The Washington Examiner notes: But there is another side to Bryson, one that fits squarely in the tradition of radical Obama appointees like "green jobs" czar Van Jones, a self-proclaimed Marxist; Medicare head Donald Berwick, who swoons over Britain's socialized National Health Service; and National Labor Relations Board member Craig Becker, the former labor lawyer who never met a union power grab he couldn't back.
Investor Business Daily wrote: "The nominee for commerce secretary founded an anti-energy group and believes in redistribution of wealth to help poorer nations. At this rate, we'll be one of them. If personnel is policy, there can be no better choice to help implement President Obama's anti-growth energy policy and redistribution of wealth plans than his choice to be the next secretary of commerce, John Bryson."
American Conservative Union said, "Putting John Bryson in charge of the Commerce Department is the dictionary definition of putting the fox in charge of the hen house."
The choice of Bryson is also part of President Obama's green energy jobs push; in fact, the President said that he specifically nominated Bryson because he is "a fierce proponent of alternative energy." But with more than 9% unemployment and the complete collapse of the solar company, Solyndra, the President's green agenda is clearly not creating jobs. In the end Solyndra is more than just a bankrupt company: it is a metaphor for the failure of Obama's war on affordable energy and American fossil fuel jobs. I have already called for hearings in the Senate on Solyndra and I hope that it will not be long before they occur.
President Obama has received the message loud and clear that his global warming green agenda no longer sells, but that doesn't mean that he has given up trying to implement it. Bryson is just one figure in Obama's green team: he follows in the footsteps of Carol Browner and Anthony Van Jones, who also supported increasing taxes on America's energy, as well as Energy Secretary Steven Chu who said, "[s]omehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe."
President Obama's choice of Alan Krueger to be Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers is yet another example. During his time at the Department of Treasury under President Obama, Mr. Krueger made clear his opposition to the development of traditional domestic energy. He even went so far as to say, ‘The administration believes that it is no longer sufficient to address our nation's energy needs by finding more fossil fuels ...' He further stated, ‘The administration's goal is to have resources invested in ways which yield the highest social return.' Yet as the Congressional Research Service [CRS] reports, America has the largest recoverable resources of oil, gas and coal in the world. The Obama administration's failure to appreciate this fact is one of the many reasons why they are not making progress on creating jobs and improving our economy.
Then there's Rebecca Wodder, who President Obama has chosen to be the Assistant Secretary of Fish Wildlife and Parks for the Department of the Interior. As CEO of American Rivers, which works actively to shut down energy production in the United States, she is a strong advocate of the federal regulation of hydraulic fracturing - a practice that is efficiently and effectively regulated by states and is crucial to our economic recovery and energy security. The selection of Ms. Wodder is a clear departure from her predecessor, Tom Strickland, who in testimony before the EPW Committee said that we should actively and aggressively develop our energy resources. Unfortunately, Ms. Wodder's support for regulatory advancement suggests that she would do the opposite, which exposes the reality of President Obama's agenda of increasing energy prices and destroying jobs.
These nominations are not surprising when you remember that President Obama said himself that he wants electricity rates to "skyrocket." As he told the San Francisco Chronicle in 2008: "if somebody wants to build a coal-fired plant they can. It's just that it will bankrupt them..." And that's just what the Obama EPA's regulatory agenda will do.
The EPA is moving forward with an unprecedented number of rules for coal fired power plants and industrial boilers that have now become known as the infamous "train wreck" for the incredible harm they will do to our economy. They are set to destroy hundreds of thousands of jobs, and significantly raise energy prices for families, businesses and farmers - basically anyone who drives a car of flips a switch.
The President himself has now publically acknowledged this. When he stopped the Agency from tightening the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for ozone, his statement couldn't have been clearer: EPA rules create regulatory burdens and uncertainty that stifle job creation. Just a few days ago, EPA also pulled back on its plan to tighten regulation on farm dust, undoubtedly due to bipartisan concern that it would cause great harm to farmers across the country.
Yet EPA continues to push regulations that harm the economy. The Cross State Air Pollution Rule and the so-called "Utility MACT" rule are prime examples of rules that are poised to destroy jobs. Let's not forget the economic ramifications of global warming regulations imposed by the Obama-EPA under the Clean Air Act which will cost American consumers $300 to $400 billion a year, significantly raise energy prices, and destroy hundreds of thousands of jobs. Then there's the ‘absurd result' that EPA readily admits they will need to hire 230,000 additional employees and spend an additional $21 billion to implement this greenhouse gas regime - that is if they are not given wide discretion to circumvent the law. And all of this economic pain is for nothing: as EPA Administrator Jackson also admitted before the EPW committee, these regulations will have no affect on the climate.
What this President fails to realize is that affordable, reliable energy is the lifeblood of a healthy economy and the foundation of our global competitiveness. Instead, he continues to favor a radical environmental agenda ahead of turning around our economy and putting Americans back to work.
On the other hand, in my home state of Oklahoma, oil and natural gas development has led to a tremendous economic boost and the creation of good paying jobs. In fact, in the first quarter of 2011, Oklahoma's 2.5 percent growth in personal income ranked fifth in the nation. So we can continue going down the path of President Obama's job-killing agenda, or we can start developing our nation's vast natural resources, which are the key to our nation's recovery.
We certainly have plenty of them. The CRS report I mentioned shows us that America's combined recoverable natural gas, oil, and coal endowment is the largest on Earth. In fact, our recoverable resources are far larger than those of Saudi Arabia, China, and Canada combined. We have 163 billion barrels of recoverable oil-that is enough to maintain our current levels of production as the world's third largest producer and replace our imports from the Persian Gulf for more than 50 years. Based on a 2009 assessment from the Potential Gas Committee the report also shows us that America's future supply of natural gas is 2,047 TCF-at today's rate of use, this is enough natural gas to meet American demand for 90 years. Finally the report also reveals that America is number one in coal reserves with more than 28 percent of the world's coal. Now that is a real solution to energy security and the key to economic prosperity.
If Bryson becomes Secretary of Commerce, energy development and economic growth in Oklahoma and across the nation could be in jeopardy, and that's why I'm doing everything in my power to block his confirmation.