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July 19, 2017

Inhofe Speaks on Senate Floor on Threats to American Energy

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), senior member of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, today spoke on the Senate floor on the need for Republicans to come together to address threats towards American energy. 

“With the election of a Republican-led Congress and with a Republican in the White House, we should be working together to address the concerns of the industries that provide cheap, reliable fuel for American energy consumers,” Inhofe said on the Senate floor, “There are many regulations that threaten the availability of cheaper energy and I will be pursuing any means available to address them—from the Waters of the United States Rule, the Clean Power Plan, and the EPA and the BLM methane rules, to fixing compliance issues with the most recent NAAQs standards…I’ll also be pursuing ways to amend the RFS and CAFE programs….I am looking forward to working with my colleagues to ensure that not only is the environment protected but that the entire fuel industry is as well.”

fs

Click Here to Watch Video

 

Remarks as prepared for delivery:

Mr. President, the fossil fuel industry has long been under assault. 

Oil and gas alone accounts for over 5 percent of jobs in the country and accounts for over a trillion dollars of economic impact on the U.S.’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). 

In my state of Oklahoma, the oil and gas industry directly employs nearly 150,000 people and each of those jobs support more than two additional jobs in the state. 

Thanks to the election of President Trump, help has arrived. 

However, there is a very vocal sector of America that wants to put the fossil fuel industry out of business and the attacks will keep coming. 

While many inroads were made toward that goal during the Obama administration, the environmental extremists will continue to use our court system and the media to ensure that the war on fossil fuels continues—putting American jobs and the economy at risk. 

With the election of a Republican-led Congress and with a Republican in the White House, we should be working together to address the concerns of the industries that provide cheap, reliable fuel for American energy consumers. 

Unfortunately, as what always seems to be the case when we’re in power, Republicans can’t seem to get together and work toward common goals, dividing ourselves over other issues instead—the healthcare bill is just one example.

However, there is another. 

The threat against fossil fuels should be a priority to all Republicans, whether or not they come from a state that is dependent on these resources for jobs, because cheaper and more reliable energy is an issue that affects all Americans, helping them get to work, heat their homes and cook their meals. 

Yet we already have examples of Republicans not working together to defeat threats to our energy sector. 

We had only one CRA vote fail—the BLM venting and flaring rule—and it was held up by some Republicans who want to expand a mandate they already have—the Renewable Fuel Standard—and was ultimately defeated by another Republican.

Meanwhile, we have very real issues that need to be addressed regarding the energy sector. 

We are all aware of the many ways that the Obama administration has tried to regulate the fossil fuel industry into the ground, but in the past, Congress has developed legislation under past circumstances that do not exist today. 

Programs were created at times in our history when we were dependent on foreign oil or when our energy production at home was receding. 

Some of you might not be old enough to remember, but back in the early 1970s OPEC retaliated against us for helping Israel against Egypt and Syria in the Yom Kippur invasion by imposing an oil embargo. This resulted in gas shortages and long lines at the pumps as people waited to fill their cars with limited gasoline. 

And in the late 1970s, unrest in the Middle East again disrupted the oil market once again causing shortages and prices to sky rocket. 

The Corporate Average Fuel Economy—or CAFE–standards program was created during this time of uncertainty in the oil and gas market—when we were dependent on oil from the Middle East. 

But the bleak future we were facing then did not happen—in fact the opposite has happened. The U.S. is much less dependent on foreign sources for oil and gas and is in the position to export our resources and provide better security for us here at home. 

During the last eight years, CAFE became a tool for the administration in their constant fight against fossil fuels—with Obama’s DOT tightening the standards in 2009 and then his EPA got into regulating vehicle emissions under the Clean Air Act. 

Meanwhile, the cost of cars goes up—by $3,800 per vehicle for 2016 standards, consumers hold on to their less efficient cars longer and drive more because fuel costs are low and the cost per mile to drive is falling. 

So any small benefit of new standards—estimated at .007 to .018 degrees by 2100—is outweighed by the fact that consumers are doing something different than the government predicted. Which always seems to be the case when the government messes industry. 

And none of this touches the effect that the California waiver has on the fuel economy debate and the consumer market—if California and the states that have followed had their way, liquid fuels will be phased out altogether, consumer demand and price doesn’t matter. 

Another way that Congress has tried to manipulate the fueling market when our energy future was uncertain is through the Renewable Fuel Standard. 

In 2005 and expanded in 2007, despite my best efforts, the RFS was created to address decreased energy production at home and to decrease carbon dioxide emissions. 

However, with the shale revolution our dependency on foreign energy has stopped. 

The more we learn about corn ethanol, the more we know the RFS has not been the environmental solution it was sold as—evidence is increasing that the RFS is actually harming the environment in several ways. 

Land is increasingly set aside for the production of corn to feed the mandate, and the more corn that is diverted to ethanol production, the less there is for our food consumption and for ranchers who need corn to feed their livestock, making the cost of our food rise. 

Fuels with corn-ethanol are less efficient than gasoline or diesel—by 27 percent, so while consumers may pay less at the pump than conventional fuel, they’re coming back to the pump more often—paying more in the long run. 

This also translates into more greenhouse gases being released into the atmosphere to make up for the efficiency lost in using corn-ethanol. 

Oklahomans know this and demand for clear gas remains high in my state. In fact, retailers in Oklahoma advertise ethanol free gas. 

They also don’t like corn-ethanol because they understand that it’s not good for their engines.

Ethanol supporters claim the warning label on the pump is sufficient to alert consumers. But studies show consumers make fueling choices by price and have ruined boat and small engines, causing manufacturers and retailers to invest in a nation-wide campaign to prevent mis-fueling. 

Furthermore, the mandate is not living up to its promises of advancing biofuels. In fact, over the last five years, the EPA has had to lower the total renewable fuel volume requirements to amounts below statutory requirements because advanced biofuels have not been developed in the capacity drafters of the RFS had hoped, even with a mandate. 

To comply with the RFS, we’ve become reliant on foreign imports of soybeans and ethanol from South America to count towards the RFS—the exact opposite of what the mandate was supposed to prevent. 

Meanwhile, supporters of the RFS want more. They want a waiver for even higher ethanol levels in gas.

Currently, gas with 15 percent ethanol or higher can’t be sold during the hot summer months because of its negative effect on ambient air quality. 

Ethanol supporters want a waiver so E15 or higher can be sold year round. 

With all the problems with the RFS it would be irresponsible of the Congress to give them this waiver without addressing the larger issues with the program. 

Between CAFE and the RFS, the fuel industry has its hands full. But the war is being waged on all fronts and I will be working to address as much as I can while I can. 

There are no guarantees that the next administration after President Trump will not return to the “regulate to death” plans of the Obama administration. 

We need to work together to address the regulations that we were not able to with the CRA process. I will work with my colleagues to get as much as I can on any legislation that looks like it might be moving—both in my committees of jurisdiction and on the Senate floor. 

Any regulation that is a threat to the energy sector should be addressed so we don’t find ourselves in the situation of hoping for favorable court rulings again. 

There are many regulations that threaten the availability of cheaper energy and I will be pursuing any means available to address them—from the Waters of the United States Rule, the Clean Power Plan, and the EPA and the BLM methane rules, to fixing compliance issues with the most recent NAAQs standards. 

I’ll also be pursuing ways to amend the RFS and CAFE programs—from rescinding the California waiver that drives CAFE issues and harmonizing the EPA and DOT rule-making to reforms of the RFS program, including requiring any E15 or higher blend be tied to the commercial availability of cellulosic ethanol, or requiring certain criteria be reached before an E15 waiver is triggered. 

There are many ways I will be looking to address the issues I’ve outlined here today and I am looking forward to working with my colleagues to ensure that not only is the environment protected but that the entire fuel industry is as well. 

The latest battle on fossil fuels was won with the election of President Trump, but the war is still being waged and I will continue to defend an industry that employ millions of Americans and provides more than a trillion dollars to our economy and, of course, cheap energy.

Click Here to Watch Video

 

Remarks as prepared for delivery:

Mr. President, the fossil fuel industry has long been under assault.

 

Oil and gas alone accounts for over 5 percent of jobs in the country and accounts for over a trillion dollars of economic impact on the U.S.’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

 

In my state of Oklahoma, the oil and gas industry directly employs nearly 150,000 people and each of those jobs support more than two additional jobs in the state.

 

Thanks to the election of President Trump, help has arrived.

 

However, there is a very vocal sector of America that wants to put the fossil fuel industry out of business and the attacks will keep coming.

 

While many inroads were made toward that goal during the Obama administration, the environmental extremists will continue to use our court system and the media to ensure that the war on fossil fuels continues—putting American jobs and the economy at risk.

 

With the election of a Republican-led Congress and with a Republican in the White House, we should be working together to address the concerns of the industries that provide cheap, reliable fuel for American energy consumers.

 

Unfortunately, as what always seems to be the case when we’re in power, Republicans can’t seem to get together and work toward common goals, dividing ourselves over other issues instead—the healthcare bill is just one example.

However, there is another.

 

The threat against fossil fuels should be a priority to all Republicans, whether or not they come from a state that is dependent on these resources for jobs, because cheaper and more reliable energy is an issue that affects all Americans, helping them get to work, heat their homes and cook their meals.

 

Yet we already have examples of Republicans not working together to defeat threats to our energy sector.

 

We had only one CRA vote fail—the BLM venting and flaring rule—and it was held up by some Republicans who want to expand a mandate they already have—the Renewable Fuel Standard—and was ultimately defeated by another Republican.

Meanwhile, we have very real issues that need to be addressed regarding the energy sector.

 

We are all aware of the many ways that the Obama administration has tried to regulate the fossil fuel industry into the ground, but in the past, Congress has developed legislation under past circumstances that do not exist today.

 

Programs were created at times in our history when we were dependent on foreign oil or when our energy production at home was receding.

 

Some of you might not be old enough to remember, but back in the early 1970s OPEC retaliated against us for helping Israel against Egypt and Syria in the Yom Kippur invasion by imposing an oil embargo. This resulted in gas shortages and long lines at the pumps as people waited to fill their cars with limited gasoline.

 

And in the late 1970s, unrest in the Middle East again disrupted the oil market once again causing shortages and prices to sky rocket.

 

The Corporate Average Fuel Economy—or CAFE–standards program was created during this time of uncertainty in the oil and gas market—when we were dependent on oil from the Middle East.

 

But the bleak future we were facing then did not happen—in fact the opposite has happened. The U.S. is much less dependent on foreign sources for oil and gas and is in the position to export our resources and provide better security for us here at home.

 

During the last eight years, CAFE became a tool for the administration in their constant fight against fossil fuels—with Obama’s DOT tightening the standards in 2009 and then his EPA got into regulating vehicle emissions under the Clean Air Act.

 

Meanwhile, the cost of cars goes up—by $3,800 per vehicle for 2016 standards, consumers hold on to their less efficient cars longer and drive more because fuel costs are low and the cost per mile to drive is falling.

 

So any small benefit of new standards—estimated at .007 to .018 degrees by 2100—is outweighed by the fact that consumers are doing something different than the government predicted. Which always seems to be the case when the government messes industry.

 

And none of this touches the effect that the California waiver has on the fuel economy debate and the consumer market—if California and the states that have followed had their way, liquid fuels will be phased out altogether, consumer demand and price doesn’t matter.

 

Another way that Congress has tried to manipulate the fueling market when our energy future was uncertain is through the Renewable Fuel Standard.

 

In 2005 and expanded in 2007, despite my best efforts, the RFS was created to address decreased energy production at home and to decrease carbon dioxide emissions.

 

However, with the shale revolution our dependency on foreign energy has stopped.

 

The more we learn about corn ethanol, the more we know the RFS has not been the environmental solution it was sold as—evidence is increasing that the RFS is actually harming the environment in several ways.

 

Land is increasingly set aside for the production of corn to feed the mandate, and the more corn that is diverted to ethanol production, the less there is for our food consumption and for ranchers who need corn to feed their livestock, making the cost of our food rise.

 

Fuels with corn-ethanol are less efficient than gasoline or diesel—by 27 percent, so while consumers may pay less at the pump than conventional fuel, they’re coming back to the pump more often—paying more in the long run.

 

This also translates into more greenhouse gases being released into the atmosphere to make up for the efficiency lost in using corn-ethanol.

 

Oklahomans know this and demand for clear gas remains high in my state. In fact, retailers in Oklahoma advertise ethanol free gas.

 

They also don’t like corn-ethanol because they understand that it’s not good for their engines.

 

Ethanol supporters claim the warning label on the pump is sufficient to alert consumers. But studies show consumers make fueling choices by price and have ruined boat and small engines, causing manufacturers and retailers to invest in a nation-wide campaign to prevent mis-fueling.

 

Furthermore, the mandate is not living up to its promises of advancing biofuels. In fact, over the last five years, the EPA has had to lower the total renewable fuel volume requirements to amounts below statutory requirements because advanced biofuels have not been developed in the capacity drafters of the RFS had hoped, even with a mandate.

 

To comply with the RFS, we’ve become reliant on foreign imports of soybeans and ethanol from South America to count towards the RFS—the exact opposite of what the mandate was supposed to prevent.

 

Meanwhile, supporters of the RFS want more. They want a waiver for even higher ethanol levels in gas.

Currently, gas with 15 percent ethanol or higher can’t be sold during the hot summer months because of its negative effect on ambient air quality.

 

Ethanol supporters want a waiver so E15 or higher can be sold year round.

 

With all the problems with the RFS it would be irresponsible of the Congress to give them this waiver without addressing the larger issues with the program.

 

Between CAFE and the RFS, the fuel industry has its hands full. But the war is being waged on all fronts and I will be working to address as much as I can while I can.

 

There are no guarantees that the next administration after President Trump will not return to the “regulate to death” plans of the Obama administration.

 

We need to work together to address the regulations that we were not able to with the CRA process. I will work with my colleagues to get as much as I can on any legislation that looks like it might be moving—both in my committees of jurisdiction and on the Senate floor.

 

Any regulation that is a threat to the energy sector should be addressed so we don’t find ourselves in the situation of hoping for favorable court rulings again.

 

There are many regulations that threaten the availability of cheaper energy and I will be pursuing any means available to address them—from the Waters of the United States Rule, the Clean Power Plan, and the EPA and the BLM methane rules, to fixing compliance issues with the most recent NAAQs standards.

 

I’ll also be pursuing ways to amend the RFS and CAFE programs—from rescinding the California waiver that drives CAFE issues and harmonizing the EPA and DOT rule-making to reforms of the RFS program, including requiring any E15 or higher blend be tied to the commercial availability of cellulosic ethanol, or requiring certain criteria be reached before an E15 waiver is triggered.

 

There are many ways I will be looking to address the issues I’ve outlined here today and I am looking forward to working with my colleagues to ensure that not only is the environment protected but that the entire fuel industry is as well.

 

The latest battle on fossil fuels was won with the election of President Trump, but the war is still being waged and I will continue to defend an industry that employ millions of Americans and provides more than a trillion dollars to our economy and, of course, cheap energy.



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