Inhofe Questions Witnesses At EPW Hearing On Water Quality And Section 401
Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) senior member of the Environmental and Public Works
(EPW) Committee, questioned witnesses at an EPW hearing to receive testimony on
state perspectives of the S. 1087, the Water Quality Certification Improvement
Act of 2019, and other potential reforms to improve implementation of Section
401 of the Clean Water Act.
introduced the Honorable Kevin Stitt, Governor of Oklahoma. Watch Inhofe’s
witnesses included the Honorable Mark Gordon, Governor of Wyoming and Laura
Watson, Senior Assistant Attorney General and Division Chief, Washington State
Attorney General’s Office.
Inhofe:Thank you Mr.
Chairman. Governor Stitt, as you said in your testimony, Oklahoma has been on
the front lines in America's energy and independence. And it's worked. America
leads the world in oil and gas production and we've done all of this while
reducing pollution and leading the world with the cleanest drinking water.
You've already talked about that. Let's talk about the economic impact of
energy produced in Oklahoma. One in five jobs are tied to oil and gas
production where the average salary in this industry is over $94,000. So,
Governor Stitt, what would happen to
Oklahoma's electricity and energy prices if natural gas production ceased to
Stitt: Thank you,
Senator. You know, it would be devastating to our economy. You know, our energy
cost, electricity cost to the consumer would more than double. We get 42
percent of our electricity generation from natural gas. Without natural gas to
generate that base load, when the winds don't blow, when the sun doesn't shine,
we would be without power. So it would be devastating to the electric grid. Twenty-eight
percent of our revenue comes from the oil and gas industry. So, the countless
number of jobs, it would just be devastating to our economy.
Inhofe: Yes. Now, let's
talk about other states. How can Oklahoma help lower cost of other state's
electricity and energy bills?
Stitt:Yes, well the
amount of natural gas that we have and we would love to be able to transport
that to other states to help with their energy cost, their generation. Natural
gas is such a clean burning fuel that we would love to be able to transport
that to other states and help them with their low energy cost as well.
Inhofe: Help them the
same way it's been helping us for a long period of time.
Stitt:Absolutely. And I
just want to tell you one other fact that I think is significant. Since 2011,
Oklahoma has reduced its emissions by nearly double the national average.
Sulfur dioxide is actually down by 56 percent. Nitrogen oxide is down by 69
percent. Carbon dioxide is down by 37 percent in Oklahoma. So, we are
definitely leading the way in our emission reductions.
Inhofe:Yes, we have. And
you can't overlook the president's policies and how successful they've been. A
lot of our colleagues often claim that Republicans don't care about the
environment and it couldn't be further from the truth. As you point out, since
1970, combined emissions of the six pollutants dropped by 74 percent, while the
economy grew by 275 [percent.] Now this is even more astonishing, when you look
at since 2005, the U.S. energy related CO2 emissions fell by 14 percent while
global emissions increased by over 20 percent. That's hardly believable. So, is
there anything that you have not spoken to already on what Oklahoma has done to
protect water quality because we've got the best that is out there.
Stitt:Yes, I love the
stats in our state and I've already outlined them about pipeline capital of the world but we've got the cleanest water
and the reduction. We're number one in several categories in reducing non-point
and also nitrogen into our water bodies. So, just excellent success stories in
Inhofe: Yes, it really
is. In fact this morning my wife was pointing out on one of the bottled waters,
that it came from Tahlequah, Oklahoma. Anyway, we are doing a great job, let's
try to share that with others.