Washington, D.C. - Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, welcomed the defeat of S. 2204, legislation sponsored by Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), which would significantly raise taxes on American energy produces and - as many Democrats have admitted - will do nothing to address the rising price of gas at the pump.
Republicans, meanwhile, offered several amendments to the Menendez bill that would increase American energy production and stop the stranglehold of regulations on energy producers here in the United States. The debate this week provided a clear contrast between Democrats who want to deflect blame for rising energy prices against Republicans who brought forward commonsense solutions to bringing down the price of gas at the pump. Unfortunately, Democrats refused to allow votes on any Republican amendments.
"I am pleased that President Obama and the Democrats' latest proposal to raise taxes on American energy producers was rejected today," Senator Inhofe said. "We all know that when you tax something you decrease supply and when you decrease supply prices go up. Last time they tried this, the sponsor of the bill, Senator Menendez, made the shocking admission, 'Nobody has made the claim that this bill is about reducing gas prices.' He's right, it's not about reducing gas prices, it's about attempting to deflect blame for their policies that continue to make gas prices go up.
"The Republican plan is about reducing gas prices. It's about increasing supply by taking advantage of the immense resources of oil, gas and coal that our nation possesses so that American families can have affordable electricity and lower prices at the pump. That is why I offered three common sense amendments that would dramatically spur American energy production and stop the overregulation by the Obama- EPA."
"During the Senate debate this week, Republicans provided a stark contrast to the Democrats' war on affordable energy. Remember when President Obama said that under his plan of a cap-and-trade system electricity rates would ‘necessarily skyrocket'? He went on to explain that this is 'because I'm capping greenhouse gases...they would have to retrofit their operations. That will cost money. They will pass that money on to consumers.' Significantly raising taxes on oil and gas is just part of this same cap-and-trade agenda: those extra costs would be passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices at the pump. There was never any way the Senate would pass such a measure, especially at a time when gas prices are already skyrocketing. Its defeat is a good thing for the American people."
Senator Inhofe filed the following amendments that Democrats refused to allow a vote on:
American Jobs and Domestic Energy Production Act, Amendment 1974
This amendment makes literally billions of barrels of oil and gas available that are currently being held back by the Obama administration. It allows drilling in ANWR - the north slope of Alaska. It opens up all of the Outer Continental Shelf, and it allows oil shale development in the Mountain West. Lastly, it reserves the right to regulate hydraulic fracturing to the states so the federal government cannot shut it down. While the Democrats want to address gas prices by raising taxes, this legislation actually solves the problem by unlocking supply, which will result in lower prices, faster economic growth, and - consequently - more tax revenue.
Gasoline Regulations Act of 2012, Amendment 1963
This legislation, which mirrors Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield's bill in the House, establishes and requires an interagency committee to conduct a cumulative impact analysis on certain EPA rules and actions that affect the price of gasoline and diesel fuel. These rules and actions include: Tier 3 Gas Standards, New Source Performance Standards for Refineries, RFS2, Ozone Standards as well as GHG permitting actions. This legislation would also put a pause on implementing Tier 3 Gas Standards, NSPS as well as Ozone Standards until at least six months after the final report is submitted so that consumers would be protected from a regulatory train wreck that promises to tax them at the pump.
Inhofe-Upton Energy Tax Prevention Act, Amendment 1967
This week, as the Obama EPA rolled out greenhouse gas regulations on new power plants, Senator Inhofe introduced his Energy Tax Prevention Act as an amendment, which will stop EPA's back-door cap-and-trade agenda from taking effect. It protects American families from the Obama administration's plan to impose skyrocketing gas and electricity costs; it prevents the EPA from destroying hundreds of thousands of jobs in America's manufacturing sector; and puts Congress - not unelected bureaucrats - in charge of our nation's climate policies, all while ensuring that the health provisions of the Clean Air Act remain intact.