Matt Dempsey Matt_Dempsey@epw.senate.gov (202) 224-9797
Katie Brown Katie_Brown@epw.senate.gov (202) 224-2160
Obama tries to take credit for pipeline in Cushing, OK as Inhofe asks EPA Administrator Jackson to explain anti-fossil fuel agenda
Washington, D.C. - Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, gave the following remarks at today's Environment and Public Works Committee hearing entitled, "Environmental Protection Agency Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Hearing," with EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson.
Inhofe on Obama Speech in Cushing, Oklahoma
Boxer-Inhofe Spar over Obama Support of Oil Gas and Coal
Text of Opening Statement:
Administrator Jackson, it's always good to see you. Your visit before the EPW Committee today is timely as it comes right as President Obama is traveling through my state of Oklahoma. I don't expect the President will be touting much of the work you have accomplished over the past three years. I think you and I both know that wouldn't go over very well.
Let me say again that I have great respect for you and have always enjoyed our tremendous relationship, in large part, because you and I have always been honest and straightforward with each other. So let me share with you why I think President Obama - the same President who told us that fossil fuels will bring the world to an end - is in Oklahoma today standing in an oil field touting oil and gas production. The only explanation is that he is running scared from his anti-fossil fuel agenda that he has asked you to implement for the past three years. This agenda is one specifically designed to increase the price of gas at the pump and energy in our homes. Remember, President Obama himself said that under his plan, energy costs would "necessarily skyrocket." But this is not a record that gets you reelected.
Now that the global warming movement has completely collapsed, I can see why President Obama is trying to associate himself with oil and gas development in Oklahoma. As recent CNN piece on Cushing, Oklahoma reported: "The place is booming...There's a shortage of workers around here. I mean we know nationally there's actually a shortage of engineers and oil workers in skilled and unskilled labor. In fact petroleum engineers - get this, Carol - petroleum engineers graduating from school can earn upwards of 90,000 a year."
What's Oklahoma's secret? It's simple: Oklahoma actually develops its own resources. Oklahoma has over 83,000 producing oil wells and 43,000 producing natural gas wells. Oklahoma City University found in 2009 that the Oklahoma oil and gas industry supports 300,000 jobs and contributes $51 billion to the state economy every year. That is exactly why Oklahoma's unemployment rate is consistently much lower than the national employment rate, which has been hovering around 8 to 9 percent.
Now with his job on the line, I wouldn't put it past President Obama to take credit today for the part of the Keystone pipeline that will be constructed from Cushing, Oklahoma to the Gulf of Mexico. If you can't stop it, why not take credit?
But even as President Obama stands in an Oklahoma oil field, pretending to support this pipeline to save his job, he continues full force with his efforts to regulate fossil fuels out of existence, spearheaded in large part by your agency. His EPA is moving forward with an unprecedented barrage of expensive rules, from greenhouse gas regulations, to hydraulic fracturing, to clean water regulations, with the express purpose of eliminating fossil fuels.
Let me end by saying to you Administrator Jackson, I can appreciate that this will be a tough year for you. You and I both know what President Obama is trying to achieve through regulation, but I suspect he has asked you not to mention it here today. That would go very much against what he is telling my constituents today in Cushing. Again, it is good to see you and I look forward to your testimony.