Representative James Lankford (R-OK) issued the following statement after the conclusion of a House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform full-committee field hearing at the University of Central Oklahoma. The hearing was the first of a two-part series on the future of American energy.
"As the epicenter of American energy production, Oklahoma is a logical location for the first part of this two-part hearing series on energy independence," said Representative Lankford. "We want to bring Oklahoma common sense to Washington by bringing Washington to Oklahoma.
"After decades of missed opportunities, energy independence is finally an attainable and foreseeable goal. But if we do not make the intentional and strategic decisions to utilize our own resources, this opportunity will slip through our fingers. The testimony provided at this hearing proves that regulatory burdens--like painfully slow federal permitting, nonsensical regulations and the unreasonable overprotection of beetles and chickens--stand between us and energy freedom.
"State regulation and market-driven business practices will result in a thriving energy sector. It is no coincidence that the top energy-producing states are also those with the lowest unemployment rates. If we continue to improve the local regulatory situation by encouraging production while still rationally protecting wildlife, we can grow our economy to prosperity," observed Lankford.
Through advancements in energy exploration and production, the United States has the technology and reserves to become energy independent. During the last quarter of 2011, 58 percent of the oil we used in the United States was produced domestically and 79 percent came from North America.
House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) joined Representative Lankford at the field hearing along with a panel of witnesses asked to discuss federal policy impediments to achieving energy independence.
"The Oversight Committee came to Oklahoma to learn from those doing it right," said Chairman Issa. "Oklahoma knows how to maximize energy production while respecting the environment. State regulators and the energy industry have found a productive and efficient balance that increases job growth and the economy. It's time for the federal government to address unnecessary regulatory barriers and move toward achieving energy independence."
The list of hearing witnesses included:
Mr. C. Michael Ming, Secretary of Energy, State of Oklahoma
Ms. Patrice Douglas, Commissioner, Oklahoma Corporation Commission
Mr. Mike McDonald, President, Triad Energy, Inc. and Domestic Energy Producers Alliance
Ms. Patricia D. Horn, VP for Governance and Environmental Health & Safety, OGE Energy Corp.
Mr. Brian Woodard, VP of Regulatory Affairs, Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association
Mr. Joseph Leonard, Environmental Health & Safety Engineer, Devon Energy Corporation