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April 5, 2011

Cap and Trade

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Mr. INHOFE. Mr. President, the business at hand is the amendments to the small business act. The amendment that has been most talked about is the one I have authored, along with Senator McConnell. It is the same thing as the bill I introduced some time ago with Congressman Fred Upton of the House and myself in the Senate.

To give a little background, let me say this has been about a 9-year battle for me. I have gone back, all the way back to Kyoto when we talked about the fact that we were going to have to do something to limit greenhouse gases at that time. This was a national treaty at that time during the Clinton-Gore administration. Everyone at that time stated and believed, and I agreed because no one said anything to the contrary, that anthropogenic gases, greenhouse gases, methane and so forth, CO2, caused catastrophic global warming. That started with the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change. It met many years ago, back in the 1990s.

Then there was a wakeup call and we thought, Why should we, the United States of America, sign on to a treaty when the rest of the world was not going to do it, when it was going to be difficult for us economically, and it would not affect the developing world? So we passed a resolution saying we were not going to do it.

However, right after that, starting in 2003--2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, and as recently as last year--different Members have introduced legislation that would impose almost the same thing as the Kyoto treaty on us and that is cap and trade.

At that time, Republicans were the majority. I was the chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee. In that committee we thought we had better look at this to make sure the science is there. This is important, because we had found out that for us to pass a cap-and-trade bill, the cost would be somewhere between $300 and $400 billion a year. My feeling, as chairman of that committee, was let's find out if in fact the science is there.

Scientists started coming to me--one after another and another when they knew I was going to at least question the legitimacy of the science--and said: The science is not there. We would like the opportunity to get our views in.

That became a reality, so we defeated all the bills up to and including the Waxman-Markey bill that passed the House and came over to the Senate. Let me say we are talking about something that would cost the American people between $300 billion and $400 billion a year.

Sometimes I am not quite as smart as some of the guys here, so when you talk about billions and trillions of dollars I like to look and see how does that affect my State of Oklahoma. I have the total number of tax returns filed by Oklahomans. I do the math. When you do the math with $300 to $400 billion a year that means it would cost my average taxpayer who files a tax return in Oklahoma a little over $3,100 a year.

If that is going to stop the world from coming to the end, maybe it is worth that. But what do you get for that? I even asked Lisa Jackson, the Administrator of the EPA. She is one appointed by President Obama. I asked her in a public hearing if we were to pass any of these cap-and-trade bills that would be so costly to Americans, what would it do in terms of greenhouse gases?

Her response was it would do very little if anything because that would only affect the United States of America and that is not where the problem is. The problem is in China and India and Mexico, places where they do not have any restraints on emissions. So as we lost our jobs to other states, obviously it is going to end up not decreasing but increasing the emissions of CO2.

That is where we were. We passed all these things. With the President absolutely committed to doing something about the emissions of CO2, he decided he would do through regulation what he could not do through legislation. We had legislation that could not pass and so obviously he went ahead and started saying we are going to let the EPA do the same thing as we would have done in with legislation. That, again, would cost the American people between $300 and $400 billion a year.

This is kind of in the weeds, but to do that you have to have an endangerment finding and the endangerment finding has to be a proclamation by the administration. It has to be based on science.

A year-and-a-half ago, right before the Copenhagen event, again, Lisa Jackson, the Administrator of the EPA, a very fine person who is courageous enough to tell the truth when asked a question, was in and I again asked in a public forum: Director Jackson, I am going to leave for Copenhagen. I am going to be a one-man truth squad to go over there and undo the damage that has been done by people who are going to go over there and try to make people think we are going to pass all kinds of legislation. If you are going to do this through the administration, that means you have to base it on some type of science. I asked the question: What science would you base this assumption on, the endangerment finding?

The answer was the IPCC. That is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. It is the United Nations. For others who get offended by some of the things the United Nations does, it all started with the United Nations. We are going to be in a position to see where we would go from here.

With that, coincidentally--and it was not by design--somebody uncovered a lot of e-mails and things over in Europe that totally debunked or discredited what they were trying to do over there with the science. In other words, the IPCC was cooking the science. I think we all know that.

Now we have an effort to use an endangerment finding to try to do this by regulation. They are going full ahead as much as they can.

I have to say, it is my feeling the Obama administration does not want to have fossil fuels. When I say that, I would back up some of those things by stating what the administration said. Alan Krueger, the Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy, said:

The administration believes it is not longer sufficient to address the nation's energy needs by finding more fossil fuels.

We are talking about oil, gas, coal, fossil fuels.

Then there was a statement made:

To the extent lower tax rate encourages overproduction of oil and gas, it is detrimental to long-term energy security. .....

By this, the Nation is saying we want green energy. That is fine. After I am dead and gone, I am sure the technology will be there and we will be able to run the country on green energy. In the meantime, you cannot do it without oil, gas, and coal. Right now we are depending on coal for 50 percent of all of our energy.

I wish to say also, here is another statement out of the Obama administration. Steven Chu, Secretary of Energy, told the Wall Street Journal ``somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe.''

In other words, unless we get the American people complaining about the high price of gas, we are not going to be doing anything. The bottom line is they are trying to boost the price of gas to do that.

This is the surprise here. I could not have said this a year ago, but the CRS, Congressional Research Service, which pretty much is not challenged, came out with the fact that we in the United States have more recoverable reserves in oil, gas, and coal than any other country in the world. Here we are. The next is Russia. Next to that is Saudi Arabia. You can see that we have more than Saudi Arabia, China, and Iran all put together. That is us right there, the United States of America. We have those reserves.

You will hear people say we do not because we only have 3 percent of the

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world's supply of oil and gas. They are saying that because they are using the term ``proven reserves.'' In order to have proven reserves you have to drill to find out and prove the oil is there. Obviously, if we have a government, an administration that will not let us drill for oil and gas, then we cannot get about proving it, so we have to go by ``recoverable.'' No one will argue with this--well, they might argue but they cannot do it with a straight face--that our recoverable reserves are very large. Here, in the case of oil, it is this amount right here--135 billion barrels of oil, 83 percent of the oil. By the way, 83 percent of the oil that would be on public lands that we will not allow ourselves--or the liberals in this body will not allow us, and the White House, to drill on because of not just a moratorium but they stopped us from doing it sometimes through not issuing permits.

But we have enough oil out there to run this country for 50 years without relying upon anybody else, without relying upon, certainly, the Middle East or any of the rest of our hemisphere.

If we were to go ahead with the friendlies in our hemisphere, Canada and Mexico, we could be independent of the Middle East in a very short period of time.

The United States has 28 percent of all of the coal, and that is very significant. As far as natural gas is concerned, we have enough natural gas to actually run this country for 90 years at the rate we are using natural gas now, only on our own, if we would allow ourselves to go ahead and produce it.

So that is where we are right now. Of course, I would be remiss if I did not say we have been wanting my amendment. It is amendment No. 183 to the Small Business Act. We have been trying to bring it up for 3 weeks now. Several times it has been postponed. I think it has been postponed for one of two reasons. Either they do not have the votes to stop it--and according to Senator Manchin, West Virginia, who stated just the other day there are 12 or 13 Democrats willing to vote for my amendment, and you get all the Republicans, that would be enough to reach 60 and pass my amendment.

What does my amendment do? It takes away the jurisdiction from the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases. Simple as that. So maybe we have the votes, but the other reason is--and I do not blame the leadership on the other side of the aisle--they do not want to subject their Senators to voting, to have to cast a vote that would allow the EPA to continue harassing and overregulating manufacturers and refineries and businesses and farmers and the rest of America.

Well, there are two votes that are out there that they have offered as cover votes. One is the Baucus amendment; the other is the Rockefeller amendment. The Baucus amendment would exempt some of the smaller ones. Frankly, I think everyone knows that is something that would not work. In fact, somewhere I have the quote from the American Farm Bureau. Well, I do not have it right here, but, by and large, what they say is that they want to be sure everyone understands we cannot pass the Baucus amendment because that will just--we could exempt some farmers and some other smaller people, schools, maybe churches; but with the higher price of energy, it all trickles down to them. So that is why the American Farm Bureau, the Association of Manufacturers, and others are very much in favor of my amendment.

The other one is the Rockefeller amendment that would merely delay it for 2 years. The reason I am opposed to this--and on the floor of the Senate, Senator Rockefeller made some statements the other day that were not very flattering. That is unlike him because that is normally not the way he would do it. Unfortunately, my effort was dubbed as ``childlike,'' ``immature,'' and, yes, you guessed it, ``crazy'' too. But I will only say that over the years Senator Rockefeller has stated that the EPA--well, I will just read to you what he has stated: EPA has little or no authority to address economic needs. They say they do, but they don't. They have no ability to incentivize and deploy new technologies. They have no obligation to protect the hard-working people. And on and on.

So I would agree with those statements of Senator Rockefeller. I would just say, if we are going to get rid of this, the overregulation, let's go ahead and do it. Let's not postpone it for 2 years. We have documentation from various companies, industries that say we are going to put something in place that is going to employ a large number of people, but we cannot do it so long as the uncertainty is out there.

At Point Comfort in Texas, 1,182 jobs were lost. They wanted to--they were planning--Formosa Plastics--had been planning a $1 billion expansion. It would have employed 700 construction jobs, 357 service jobs, and 125 full-time operations and maintenance jobs. Yet they are not doing it because of the regulation that is taking place and the uncertainty of what the EPA is going to be doing to us.

El Dorado, AR, similar situation. Arkansas-based Lion Oil was forced to delay several hundred million dollars in refinery expansion because of the uncertainty of the regulation by the Environmental Protection Agency. Louisiana, the same thing; 1,850 jobs were lost.

I have had people ask me over the years: Inhofe, what if you are wrong? Well, this is what I would say and how I respond to that. When you stop and say I am wrong and actually that greenhouse gases do cause catastrophic global warming, if that is the case, then you are not going to resolve it by having the United States of America do something unilaterally.

The Chinese are over there celebrating right now, hoping we will pass something to stop us from regulating or make us regulate greenhouse gases because those jobs we have--we have all of the figures. If anyone is interested, my Web site is Inhofe.Senate.gov. We can quantify the jobs lost and money involved.

Stop and think about it. Anyone who has a comparable State to Oklahoma, do you want to increase your taxes by over $3,000 a year and get nothing for it?

With that, I would make another appeal to the administration and to the Democrats in the Senate, to call a vote on my amendment No. 183. Just call it and let's get this behind us. Let's try to save energy for America.

I yield the floor.

The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Blumenthal.) The Senator from Arizona.

Mr. KYL. Mr. President, I want to compliment my colleague from Oklahoma for the leadership he has exercised with respect to the rogue Environmental Protection Agency attempting to regulate, in effect, what we breathe and the job-killing program that would result from the regulations that would be prohibited from being adopted were the Inhofe-McConnell amendment to be adopted by this body. I share his desire that we be able to vote on that and stop these onerous regulations from being put into effect.

I ask unanimous consent to speak not to exceed 15 minutes in morning business.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

(Senate - April 4, 2011)

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