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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Inhofe Reacts to Obama's National Address on Syria

Sen. Jim Inhofe joined Bill Bennett on Morning in America today to discuss President Obama’s national address seeking public support for military action in Syria. Inhofe continued to outline his opposition to the current plans for a military strike stating that the President still failed to address a long-term strategy for the region or the proper funding, equipment and capabilities to defend the United States and our allies should a strike escalate into a larger contingency.
 
You can listen to the segment by clicking here.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

EPA Nominees Go On Record Agreeing to Include Industry in “Sue and Settle” Discussions

Sen. Jim Inhofe at an EPW nomination hearing yesterday questioned the nominees Kenneth Kopocis to be Assistant Administrator for the Office of Water of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), James Jones to be Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention of the EPA, and Avi Garbow to be General Counsel for the EPA about the issue of "sue and settle."  All three committed on the record to have an open door policy with industry groups in respect to “sue and settle” discussions. 

EPW Hearing Screen Shot

See Video Here: http://bit.ly/1aHaTeq

Inhofe has led the charge to expose the Administration's pattern of choosing to use “sue and settle” tactics to implement backdoor regulations without the direction of Congress. One recent example includes the involvement of U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) in two closed-door settlement agreements in 2011 with the Center for Biological Diversity and the Wild Earth Guardians. The agreements led to a commitment to make final listing determinations for more than 250 species by 2016, including the lesser prairie chicken. In May 2012, Inhofe, then-ranking member of the EPW committee, joined Sen. Sessions in sending a letter to FWS requesting documents related to the settlement agreement. Two more letters have since been issued by Inhofe and his colleagues, one in February 2013 and another in June 2013, with no response from FWS to date.

Transcript:

Senator Inhofe: “I have a question for all three of you having to do with the Sue and Settle issue. It’s really been concerning to me. But I was encouraged that the agency recently allowed the National Association of Manufacturers to be at least somewhat involved in a recent lawsuit involving the development of the new Ozone standard. The question would be for all three of you and if you’d like you can go ahead and answer it for the record but be really definitive. Will you commit to engaging with industry groups that will be affected by settlement agreements with Non-Governmental Organizations before those agreements have been entered into? If you’d like to give me a short answer now that’s fine, if not, for the record would be fine.”

Mr. Avi Garbow – If I may Senator with respect to your question, I will commit to have, if confirmed, an open door and to respond to any requests to meet and…

Senator Inhofe: Okay, that’s a good answer. Anybody else agree with that?

Mr. Kenneth Kopocis: I would say that that has been my track record. I’ve always been willing to listen to anybody’s point of view and that would certainly continue if I were confirmed. 

Senator Inhofe: I appreciate that very much.

Mr. James Jones: The same answer applies to myself, thank you sir 

Senator Inhofe: Very good, thank you very much Madam Chairman. 

Should the Senate confirm these nominees, Sen. Inhofe stands ready to hold them accountable to their promise.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Another EPA Advisor Admits No Link Between Hydraulic Fracturing & Groundwater Contamination

Sen. Jim Inhofe today at an EPW nomination hearing questioned Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Senior Advisor Kenneth Kopocis, who has been nominated to be Assistant Administrator for the Office of Water, on the issue of hydraulic fracturing. Kopocis admitted on the record that he has no knowledge of hydraulic fracturing contaminating groundwater.

Sen. Inhofe: “Are you aware of any documented cases of groundwater contamination being definitely caused by hydraulic fracturing?” 

Mr. Kenneth Kopocis: “No I am not.”

 EPW Hearing Screen Shot

See Video Here: http://bit.ly/11cgIh3

Background:

The EPA has tried unsuccessfully three different times in the last four years to link hydraulic fracturing to local groundwater contamination, most recently ending its politicized investigation into a project near Pavillion, Wyoming. Despite repeated and biased attempts, EPA officials continue to admit - there is not a single case linking the two. In May 2011, former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson testified before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform that she was “not aware of any proven case where the fracking process itself has affected water…”  

Inhofe has been a watchdog for the past several years of the Obama Administration and EPA's attempt to implement federal regulation on hydraulic fracturing. On June 26, Inhofe introduced the Fracturing Regulations are Effective in State Hands (FRESH) Act of 2013 (S.1234) with 18 original cosponsors. The legislation would clarify that states have the sole authority to regulate hydraulic fracturing on all land within the boundaries of the state. Companies with hydraulic fracturing operations on federal lands would still be required to comply with the applicable state laws and regulations affecting the process. 

Inhofe's opening statement for the hearing can be viewed here: [http://bit.ly/13Bd2qe]

Inhofe's full time of questioning the nominees can also be viewed here: [http://bit.ly/14E7eOF]

Friday, July 27, 2012

OBAMA, SEC. MABUS’ GREEN FLEET NOT JUST R&D AFTER ALL

Much has been made about the Navy’s recent Green Fleet exercise in the Pacific.  During the event and since, officials have repeatedly made the case that the expenditure of Defense funds for this exercise was limited to Research and Development (R&D). [1] Yet, in order to conduct this major public relations event, R&D funds were not used.  Instead, under Sec. Mabus leadership, the Navy used Operations and Maintenance (O&M) funds for last week’s Great Green Fleet demonstration that cost $12 million just to purchase the R&D biofuel for the ships. [2] Tapping into O&M funds for last week’s demonstration means less funding for training, supplies, equipment, repairs, and over all readiness putting at risk the lives of our sailors. This is why I have requested more information on why the Great Green Fleet demonstration was necessary in the first place. I have also asked for the full cost of the event, including the price to transport the fuel for the fleet, sell memorabilia t-shirts, temporarily paint parts of Navy ships and aircraft green, and conduct this publicity stunt sure to make President Obama’s environmentalist base smile. Other similar R&D programs have tested a limited number of engines and equipment to prove their concept. This event seems to be more about putting dollars in the hands of the biofuel industry.

Under the Obama Administration, the Department of Defense (DOD) said they are pursuing renewable fuels for reasons of “national security, energy security, and GHG [Green House Gas] reduction.” [3] Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus made a similar statement during the great Green Fleet demonstration last week, saying the Navy’s development of biofuels was a “big stride towards energy security…energy independence.” [4]

I support the development and use of all sources of alternative fuels.  For the sake of our energy security and independence, we must take an all-of-the-above approach in order to end our dependence on foreign oil. At the same time, I believe these pursuits within the military must be sensible and affordable solutions. Given the President’s ongoing war on affordable energy, a sensible and affordable approach is not taking place under the current leadership of our Commander in Chief. Instead it looks like another attempt to put taxpayer money into a bankrupt green energy initiative. [5]

President Obama is using DOD to push through his liberal green agenda, what the DOD lists as its “GHG reduction” objective. The proof is in the pudding. The fact is, North America already has enough energy resources above and below ground to fully support our military and end its dependency on foreign oil. [6] If the President would allow these resources to be accessed and developed, this country could be energy independent, accomplishing the first two objectives of national security and energy security. Instead, the President continues to tax, regulate, and suppress an all-of-the-above domestic energy plan, while spending an unprecedented amount of taxpayer dollars on unproven and costly biofuels through the U.S. Navy.

Finally, Sec. Mabus has argued biofuel will cost less as market demand grows. No one can forecast the future price of conventional fuels, much less the future cost of biofuels that are mixed with conventional fuel to create the alternative fuel. Even DOD in a 2011 Congressional study shows that the future cost is unpredictable. In their report, DOD warned if the military’s future biofuel demand on the market outweighs 40 percent of market supply, then the cost of biofuels would rise. [7] To my knowledge, neither the Navy nor the DOD has conducted any studies that evaluate the cost-effectiveness of developing a domestic advanced biofuels industry.

It is disheartening to me to see our military used for Obama’s political pursuits and green agenda. Our men and women took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of this great nation.  We owe every Soldier, Sailor, Airmen and Marine the best equipment and training in the world.  We must ensure our military is sized and equipped with all the resources they require to be decisive in any and every engagement from special operations to large force-on-force combat operations. Diverting limited DOD funds away from other programs in order to advance the green agenda is unacceptable.

 

1.     Snider, Annie. “Navy’s ‘Green Fleet’ sails in ‘historic’ Pacific test.” Environment & Energy Daily. July 19, 2012.

2.   Account 1804 indicates Navy O&M  http://inhofe.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Files.View&FileStore_id=ef3ae9b5-2fe1-497a-9803-cf9a534084ca 

3.      “Opportunities for DOD Use of Alternative and Renewable Fuels: FY10 NDAA Section 334 Congressional Study.” Department of Defense. July 2011. Page 8-19.

4.     Casteel, Chris. “Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe wants U.S. Navy to detail costs of Green Fleet exercise.” The Oklahoman. July 16, 2012.

5.     Obama’s Green Energy Bets Keep Coming Up Short.” Republican Policy Committee. July 23, 2012.

6.     Whitney, Gene; Behrens, Carl; & Glover, Carol. “U.S. Fossil Fuel Resources: Terminology, Reporting, and Summary.” Congressional Research Service. Nov. 30, 2010. Page 16-18.

7.     Opportunities for DOD Use of Alternative and Renewable Fuels: FY10 NDAA Section 334 Congressional Study.” Department of Defense. July 2011. Page 8-13.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

If the U.S. joins LOST, the U.S. would become environmental lawsuit target #1.

At today’s Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST), a false narrative was presented, and must be corrected.

Supporters of this American sovereignty eroding treaty insist that if the U.S. joins LOST it will not require the U.S. to enforce treaties to which the U.S. is not a party, such as the Kyoto Protocol on climate change, thus the U.S. will be exempted from environmental litigation.

False.

The Chairman, unfortunately, at today’s hearing constructed this highly misleading “straw man” argument.  He is rebutting an argument that has never been made by those who oppose LOST.  

Neither I nor anyone else has argued that the U.S. would be subject to environmental lawsuits for environmental treaties the U.S. has not signed.  Rather, the real concern is that baseless and costly environmental lawsuits brought under LOST may be based on much broader areas of international law than just those treaties that the U.S. has not ratified, including internationally recognized norms and standards.

For example, Article 213 of UNCLOS, titled “Enforcement with respect to pollution from land-based sources” would require the U.S. to adopt laws and regulations to “implement applicable international rules and standards established through competent international organizations or diplomatic conference to prevent, reduce and control pollution of the marine environment from land-based sources.”

So, if another country thinks that the U.S. has failed to comply with Article 213 in regard to, say, internationally accepted standards on carbon emissions, that country may sue the U.S.—regardless of whether the U.S. is a party to the Kyoto treaty.  Other countries could also point to U.S. commitments in the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (which the U.S. is a party to) or other universally accepted environmental standards such as the “no harm” rule as the basis of climate change lawsuits against the United States.  The U.S. would become environmental lawsuit target #1, and crippling costs to the U.S. economy would result.

The threat of baseless environmental lawsuits is very real, and no amount of straw man arguments can prove otherwise.  International environmentalists, academics, and lawyers have already made clear their intention to bring such lawsuits immediately against the U.S. should we join LOST.  We should take them at their word, and reject LOST.  

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