Barrasso: EPA rules aim to shut down natural gas, coal jobs
by U.S. Senator John Barrasso
June 19, 2012
WASHINGTON, DC –Today (Tuesday, June 19, 2012), U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee for Clean Air and Nuclear Safety, delivered the following opening statement at the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on Clean Air Act Hydraulic Fracturing Rules. Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality Director, John Corra, also testified at today’s hearing.
Excerpts of Senator Barrasso’s Opening Statement:
"I want to welcome John Corra, the Director of the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality.
"John was appointed as the Director of the Department by then Democrat Governor Dave Freudenthal and confirmed by the State Senate in March of 2003—when I was a member of the Wyoming State Senate. So John, thanks so much for coming back from Wyoming for a visit.
"Mr. Chairman, the White House has touted its strong support for natural gas as a viable alternative to, they say to cheap, affordable American coal.
"President Obama stated during his 2012 State of the Union speech that ‘We have a supply of natural gas that can last America nearly one hundred years,’ he said ‘my Administration will take every possible action to safely develop this energy.’
"The rhetoric of this White House does not match the actions of this Administration
and its allies in the environmental community.
"On May 9th, 2012 Bloomberg news story highlights an important point made by Jack Gerard, President of the American Petroleum Institute and Dave McCurdy, President of the American Natural Gas Association.
"The Bloomberg article states that ‘Both Gerard and McCurdy had been emphasizing one point: While Obama had called for more gas production, as many as a dozen federal agencies were considering various rules or policies that could deal drilling a setback.’
"Among these rules Mr. Chairman are proposed EPA rules governing hydraulic fracturing.
"This week, we will debate whether the Senate will endorse President Obama’s War on Coal, when we vote on Ranking Member Inhofe’s amendment to block the EPA’s Utility MACT rule.
"This rule makes it nearly impossible for energy companies to build new coal fired power plants.
"The War on Coal has been devastating to communities across the West, the Midwest and Appalachia. What we are going to discuss here today is this Administration’s upcoming war now on natural gas.
"The War on Natural Gas should be no surprise to those who have followed the words of then candidate Senator Barack Obama who campaigned against natural gas as part of his cap and trade climate change agenda.
"In a 2008 interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, then candidate Obama stated that ‘Because I’m capping greenhouse gases, coal power plants, you know, natural gas, you name it — whatever the plants were, whatever the industry was, they would have to retrofit their operations.’
"It is important to note that the Sierra Club has once again endorsed President Obama for President. On May 3rd, the Sierra Club announced their ‘Beyond Natural Gas’ campaign.
"In a May 7, 2012 Energy and Environment Daily article, the Executive Director of the Sierra Club spelled out his intentions towards new natural gas plants when he stated ‘We’re going to be preventing new gas plants from being built wherever we can.’
"I suspect that many in this Administration agree with this goal, while they still tell folks across America that natural gas will be there to supply their needs after they are done with their war on coal.
"What I want my colleagues to understand is that we cannot simply allow the same tactics that are hurting the many working men and women across this country who work in the coal industry to have those same tactics used to drive natural gas out of business.
"Organizations like the Sierra Club have praised these tactics and have celebrated the closing or blocking hundreds of coal plants. These same organizations now fully expect this EPA to begin to using the same tactics to attack natural gas.
"They are advocating this just as the first shovels are hitting the ground to build the natural gas well pads and new natural gas plants to replace the coal mines and power plants that are being forced to close.
"If we do not change course, the end result will be an expensive, rationed and foreign supplied energy future for our country.
"Mr. Chairman, I believe we must make American energy as clean as we can, as fast as we can, and do it in ways that don’t raise energy prices for American families or cost thousands of jobs.
"I believe this Administration has been on the wrong track to accomplish this goal."