GRAND JUNCTION, CO— House Small Business Subcommittee on Agriculture, Energy and Trade Chairman Scott Tipton (R-CO) today held a field hearing in Grand Junction, Colo., to examine burdensome federal energy industry regulations and policies and their impact on small businesses, jobs and consumer prices. The Subcommittee heard testimony from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator for Region 8, James Martin, as well as local and state officials and local energy business owners and employees.
“America has been blessed with abundant natural energy resources and the technology to utilize those resources in a safe and environmentally sound manner. It is beyond all common sense why the Obama administration continues to rely on volatile foreign oil and push costly regulations while our energy prices skyrocket and unemployment remains intolerably high. Unlocking our vast natural resources right here at home would solve this problem and lead us closer to energy independence using skilled American workers.
“In the president’s speech to Congress, he discussed how vital small businesses are to job creation. He is right. And I hope the administration takes note of today’s hearing, where we heard firsthand from small business owners on how onerous regulations and uncertainty are preventing them from making investments and hiring more employees. If our best job creators continue to be hammered with regulations, our economy will continue to falter.
“During tough economic times, it is essential that we work towards practical solutions that will protect our environment while leading us closer to an all-of-the-above energy plan. The president and Congress play a role in fostering this environment, and I am committed to working together on real solutions to our nation’s job and energy challenges.”
Specifically, the hearing examined the coal combustion residuals proposed rule (75 Federal Register 35127-35264), the proposed rule to limit mercury and other air toxics from coal-burning electricity generators (76 Federal Register 24976-25147), the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) regulation of greenhouse gas emissions and potential regulation of hydraulic fracturing in the natural gas industry. The hearing also focused on the permitting and leasing process of the Department of the Interior.
For related hearing documents, click here.
Notable Witness Quotes:
Dick Welle, Manager of White River Electric in Meeker, CO, said, “Over ninety-five percent of White River Electric’s load is made up of industrial consumers; specifically related to coal, natural gas and oil production and processing. Overreaching regulation that abandons scientific and common sense will be a direct threat to the economic stability in Northwest Colorado.”
David Ludlam, Director of West Slope COGA in Grand Junction, CO, said, “Earlier this month, the President of the United States presented a jobs plan for America. What stood out to our organization was the fact that no mention was made, and no meaningful policy was proposed, to allow America’s energy sector to get busy creating energy jobs and the much-needed federal tax revenues that would result. Next time, please ask the President’s policy advisors to give us a call and we can give the administration a more practical jobs plan for America that is quite simple: remove regulatory roadblocks to “shovel ready” energy projects in Western Colorado. We believe this would be a great first step to creating high paying jobs, generating much-needed federal revenues and reducing the notorious and burdensome U.S. trade imbalance.”
Jennifer Bredt, Development Manager at RES Americas in Broomfield, CO, said,“We encounter many obstacles to developing renewable energy projects, but the number one obstacle our industry faces is uncertainty. When the uncertainty is created by an unclear regulatory regime, the negative consequences are particularly frustrating, because they could have been avoided.”
David White, County Commissioner of Montrose, CO, said,“Bureaucracy, red tape and the hurdles imposed by these policies and regulations have been the most significant impediments to meeting the objectives of retaining the mill and the jobs it provides. Of the 4 million plus acres of bark beetle killed trees, only a fraction of those acres have been made available for logging. Rather than aggressively removing the dead timber, reducing the fuel load in the forest and mitigating fire danger, the contracting policies of the federal government have failed to treat any appreciable volume of timber. This fact defies common sense as we face a huge potential forest fire hazard, yet the sawmill can’t get timber.”
James A. Kiger, Environmental Manager at Oxbow Mining, LLC, Elk Creek Mine in Somerset, CO, said, “The Environmental Protection Agency has expressed views that, to us, indicate its desire to discontinue the use of coal as a fuel for electricity generation. The regulatory agenda appears to be pursuing this goal.”