Hastings Criticizes Administration Policy on Fossil Fuels as Being “Foolish”

WASHINGTON, DC – In a speech at an energy forum hosted by The Ripon Society last Thursday, House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (WA-4) expressed his support for an “all of the above” energy policy and criticized the Obama Administration for ignoring the abundance of fossil fuels in the United States.

“I personally believe that we should have whatever energy source we could possibly have,” Hastings stated. “Our portfolio should be as diverse as it could possibly be, because I think it’s in the best interest of us to have those options, always recognizing that ultimately the market will make a decision which energy source would be the one that prevails. But we should embrace all of those that we possibly can.

“It’s absolutely foolish as a policy, specifically of this administration, to ignore fossil fuels — coal, natural gas and oil. It doesn’t make any sense because the abundance of those around the world is so huge, and technology seems to get better all the time to discover it and to use it. And so it seems to me it’s in our best interest to have as diverse a portfolio, but to not ignore what we have such a great abundance of — and that’s fossil fuels in this country.

Noting that ‘a great deal’ of fossil fuels are on public lands, Hastings added that the House Natural Resources Committee, which has jurisdiction over public lands, is “going to be as aggressive as we possibly can to try to promote” the idea that fossil fuels should be a critical part of America’s national energy policy.

To that end, Hastings was blunt in his assessment of President Obama’s record on energy since taking office in January 2009.

“Actions speak louder than words,” he stated. “As this president talks about energy, and when he says something, his actions are 180 degrees different. I’m not saying 90 degrees or 35 degrees or 45 degrees. I’m saying 180 degrees different. And probably the one case that brings the point home more than anything else was his widely-acclaimed article in the Wall Street Journal about a month ago talking about deregulation so that we can try to promote business in this country. What he didn’t say in the article is that one or two days before that he suspended a mining permit that was in place in West Virginia. Now, it just boggles the mind. So you start looking at those sorts of things, and I don’t say it lightly, but on every case he’s 180 degrees different on what he says and what his actions are.

“Consider what this president has done just since he has taken office. They have withdrawn oil and natural gas leases in the intermountain West. They’ve withdrawn oil shell leases in Colorado. They have imposed a de facto moratorium on the Gulf, although just this week they let the first deep water permit go through. They have placed huge portions over the OCS offshore, and they have locked up millions of acres of all types of energy production including renewable on public land. Now that’s just what they’ve done already. This is not what they are trying to do. Because what they are trying to do now is to impose restrictions on hydraulic fracturing on public lands. That has been typically a practice that has been regulated by the states for well over 50 years. And here they are going to focus in only on public lands. But it is not only subjected to just oil and gas regulations. There are new regulations that they’re trying to promote on mining regulations that they admit in their own figures would lay off thousands of people and halt mining production in 22 states. These are just proposals that they’re trying to promulgate right now. But they are not stopping there.”

“When you look at what the President’s trying to do with spatial planning and the ocean, it is all waters leading into the ocean. Just think about that. If you are developing a policy on ocean planning and regulating that and everything that rolls into the ocean, you are talking about virtually every river that comes from the United States into the ocean potentially being regulated by this planning. I know what it could do to my area with the Columbia River and the Snake River. Can you imagine what it would do with the Mississippi River and the Ohio River, right through the heart of our country with this potential? That’s the way that these regulations are potentially planned. Of course they say, ‘No, never happen.’ Well, it’s the unintended consequences that lead to all the bad issues. And that’s where they could potentially go on this.”

Hastings made his comments at a forum The Ripon Society hosted on March 3rd focusing on “America’s Energy Future.” In addition to Hastings, other speakers at the forum included Kentucky Congressman Ed Whitfield, the Chairman of the Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Energy & Power, and North Carolina Senator Richard Burr, a member of the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee.

The Ripon Society is a public policy organization that was founded in 1962 and takes its name from the town where the Republican Party was born in 1854 – Ripon, Wisconsin. One of the main goals of The Ripon Society is to promote the ideas and principles that have made America great and contributed to the GOP’s success. These ideas include keeping our nation secure, keeping taxes low and having a federal government that is smaller, smarter and more accountable to the people.