Today, Senate Western Caucus Chairman John Barrasso (R-WY), Congressional Western Caucus Chairman Steve Pearce (R-NM), and Members of the Senate and Congressional Western Caucuses held a bicameral hearing entitled "The Western Economy--Perspectives of Job Creators in the West."
Members heard testimony from western business leaders on the specific challenges they face creating jobs in the West. Witnesses discussed the growing amount of Washington red-tape that is limiting American energy and mineral production and threatening to push investment and job creation out of the West.
At today's hearing, the Western Energy Alliance, which represents over 400 energy companies, presented a new study detailing potential oil and gas development across the entire West. The study specifically found that there are twenty projects that oil and gas companies have proposed in the West that would create 120,905 jobs, $8 billion in wages and bring in $27.5 billion in economic activity.
Highlights from the Hearing:
"Rather than support legislation that will spur economic growth and American energy production, the Obama administration continues to enforce arduous regulations that make it even more difficult for Americans who are already struggling to scrape by. Today, we heard again from American job producers from across the West who reiterated that the jobs and energy are available if they are given certainty and predictability from the federal government."
- U.S. Representative Steve Pearce (R-NM), Congressional Western Caucus Chairman
"Ever since President Obama took office, he has made it clear that the West is not a priority for him. EPA, the Interior Department, and other Federal agencies seem to almost go out of their way to target jobs in the West--specifically jobs producing American energy."
- U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), Senate Western Caucus Chairman
"When President Obama and unelected bureaucrats at the EPA talk about an all-of-the-above energy plan they clearly mean some-of-the-above. So far their debilitating cuts and regulations on the coal, oil and gas industries have compromised affordable, accessible energy for our nation and initiated an attack on western jobs and economies. Oil and gas drilling permits are being withheld in some cases for years and new coal-fired regulations have rendered coal power plants extinct already robbing our country enough energy to power 18 million homes. But the biggest victim of this attack is the American energy consumer inundated with rising energy costs for the sake of the Administration's agenda. At some point logic needs to play a role in the Administration's energy conversation along with a realization of the importance of western energy sector. I'm thankful for all of the job creators who participated in today's Western Caucus. Their experiences are invaluable to this discussion."
- U.S. Representative Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Congressional Western Caucus Vice Chairman
"The negative impact from the U.S. Department of Interior's disastrous public lands policies don't just end at the fence line. Surrounding communities are the ones who shoulder the lion's share of the burden, with Washington bureaucrats paying little regard to the challenges they face. If you look at the past ten years, you'll see a significant disparity in education funding increases between public lands states and those from the east coast. Placing further limits on how the lands may or may not be used makes it harder for states to meet their basic needs, such as providing children with every educational opportunity afforded to others living in states with little or no public lands. There is no justification for this disparity and the current Administration isn't making things any easier. The Congressional and Senate Western Caucuses are working together to give the West a greater voice as we combat this Administration's thinly veiled war on the West."
- U.S. Representative Rob Bishop (R-UT)
"Today's Western Caucus testimony from America's job producers was clear: to get our economy back on track the government must get out of the way. Arizona can be a national model for energy driven economic recovery. I am a proponent of an all-the-above energy strategy which includes the responsible development of alternative energy sources such as wind, solar, hydropower, and biomass. Arizona is conducive to each of these energy sources, and I continue to call on the Administration to loosen its bureaucratic grip so that our nation can create jobs and address the rising costs of energy that our families face every day."
- U.S. Representative Paul Gosar (R-AZ)
"The Department of Energy claims there is more than 800 billion barrels of recoverable oil in oil shale in Utah, Wyoming, and Colorado. This is more than the proven reserves of Saudi Arabia. If we were able to develop this resource the way we are capable of doing, we could have a major impact on the jobless rate as well as the cost of energy in our country."
- U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Senate Western Caucus Subcommittee on Public Lands Chairman
"We cannot do enough to underscore how important our natural resources are in the west and how important the production of energy is to the American economy. It is important that we focus on the roadblocks that our own government is putting in the way of people who want to create jobs and who want to deliver energy to the American people."
- U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-ID)
"When we look at what regulations might cost, it is important to understand that FMC and the other domestic soda ash producers cannot "outsource' our soda ash business. We cannot move the world's largest and most productive source of soda ash to another country. We need to maintain the competitive edge that allows us to export 52% of what we produce, and contribute over $875 million surplus to the overall US balance of trade. We have serious concerns about the future of our competitive position if required to make non- economic decisions based on domestic regulations that our international competitors do not have to comply with."
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