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Public Statements

Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2012

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. INHOFE. First, let me comment on something I am glad the Senator from Alabama brought up because it is very significant. The frailty in the CRA, for a lot of our fellow Members who are not familiar with the history of that, is that the President can veto it. I am a little hopeful in this case, if we are successful, because I wonder if the President wants to veto, a few months before the election, a bill that is going to cost the American people over 200,000 jobs this year, along with all of the other costs they admit.

The EPA itself says it will cost $10 billion, but it is going to be considerably more than that in nearly everyone else's view. So I hold that out as a hope, that even though he would love to veto it, if we are successful, I don't think he will do it because he wants to get reelected more than he wants to veto this.

I would also comment that I think it is worth bringing up that the other side had an opportunity to do something about real pollution--and we are talking about NO

X, SO

X, and mercury, not CO

2. Remember the Clear Skies Act that was such a successful operation? That was back during the Bush administration. That would have mandated the 75-percent reduction the Senator from Alabama talked about in SO

X, NO

X, and mercury. Those are real pollutants. But it was held hostage because it didn't include CO

2. At that time that was the crown jewel of their efforts.

So all I can say in this remaining time we have is that everything has been said, although it hasn't been said by everybody, and I am not going to repeat that and be redundant. But I think the points were made by all the Senators who spoke, looking at the economy of this and how devastating this would be in terms of jobs in America. But if you look at Utility MACT, it is not about public health, it is about killing coal. And everybody knows that. Everybody knows that. People from coal States are trying to act as if that is not the case, but it is the case. I think we are all very much aware of that.

According to EPA's own analysis, Utility MACT will cost $10 billion, though others have it up higher than that. However, if $10 billion a year to implement it is correct, then it will only yield $6 million in projected benefits--health benefits. This is the EPA talking, not me. And that is at 1600-to-1 ratio. That is not a very good ratio to depend on.

I wish to address the myth that top EPA officials are perpetrating, and that is the idea coal is not being killed by the EPA regulations but by the cheaper price of natural gas. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said recently it is simply a coincidence that EPA's rules are coming out at the same time natural gas prices are low, so utilities are naturally moving toward natural gas. So her message was, don't blame the EPA. The truth is the EPA itself has admitted the agency deliberately and consciously made a decision to kill coal.

EPA Region 1 Administrator Curt Spalding was caught on tape saying:

Lisa Jackson has put forth a very powerful message to the country. Just two days ago, the decision on greenhouse gas performance standard and saying basically gas plants are the performance standard which means if you want to build a coal plant you got a big problem.

He also went on to say the decision by the EPA to kill coal was ``painful every step of the way'' because you have got to remember if you go to West Virginia, you go to Pennsylvania--and he could have included other States in there too, such as Ohio, Illinois and Missouri--but he said ``and all those places, you have coal communities who depend on coal.'' And they are going to put those people out. This is a very serious attack that is taking place right now, I think, when we saw the attack on fossil fuels, as presented by Region 6 Administrator Armendariz, when he said the truth is EPA's ``general philosophy'' is to ``crucify'' and ``make examples'' of oil companies and gas companies.

I only bring that up because many people think this is just about coal. No, it is very clear about fossil fuels. This has been a relentless war of this President on fossil fuels; that is, coal, gas, and oil, ever since he has been in office. It was the president of the Sierra Club who said a short while ago, yes, Utility MACT is about killing coal. Fine, we can kill coal, but that doesn't mean we want to change and start using natural gas because it is also a fossil fuel.

It may be that over in the House it took Nancy Pelosi 6 months to recognize natural gas is a fossil fuel, but it is. So this is just the beginning. This is the one where they are admittedly trying to kill coal because it is an easier target. In their belief, there are fewer States that are the big producers of coal, so go after them first.

I know my time has expired. I only want to say in closing that we will have another opportunity tomorrow. There are many other people wanting to be heard who don't want to kill coal and have this dramatic negative effect on our economy, our jobs, and our ability to produce the necessary energy to run this machine called America.

If we are dependent upon just under 50 percent for our entire generation ability on coal, imagine, if they are successful, what is going to happen to the price of the remaining available fuel? And of course they would be subject next. So I would urge our people to forget for a short period of time this President's obligation to certain small groups and oppose the Utility MACT.

We went through the same thing with greenhouse gases and we fought that battle before, I say to my good friend Senator Boxer from California. At that time, there were many legislative efforts to kill greenhouse gases, and yet every time there was a vote, the people who were answerable to the American people were the ones who voted it down. Now there might be, at most, 25 left in the Senate in favor of greenhouse gas emissions.

I urge Members to pass my CRA and let the President decide what he is going to do about vetoing this issue.

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