May 22, 2013 Leave a comment
House Republicans paraded out their latest series of giveaways to the billion-dollar oil and gas industry today in a subcommittee chaired by Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO). The bills would increase corporate welfare and a total disregard for western families and the economic health of local communities.
These reckless proposals put forth by Reps. Lamborn, Scott Tipton (R-CO), and Doc Hastings (R-WA) have failed over and over again in Congress because Americans want more out of their representatives than messaging bills for the oil and gas industry. At a time when oil and gas companies are already getting fat on the taxpayers’ dime, it’s appalling that politicians are dishing up yet another industry smorgasbord with zero regard for Western families’ safety and security.
Westerners want a real balance between protecting public lands and energy development. That balance is critical for attracting high-wage businesses and maintaining the billion-dollar outdoor recreation economy in the West.
The three tired bills paraded out yet again today include extreme measures that create quotas and mandates on behalf of oil and gas companies, and encourage risky speculation on publicly owned lands. These reckless proposals would sacrifice our drinking water, air quality, and public lands just to create more handouts that would do nothing to address our energy concerns.
These reckless measures run counter to western values and what’s best for local economies. Recent polling found that 9 out of 10 Westerners agree that national parks, forests, monuments and wildlife areas are an essential part of the economy, while 74% believe that national parks, forests, and monuments, help to attract high quality employers and good jobs to their state.
The outdoor recreation industry alone accounts for $646 billion in annual spending, 6 million jobs and nearly $80 billion in local, state and federal taxes.
Yet, House Republicans continue to push these same reckless proposals, regardless of the potentially devastating impacts to western families and economies – in order to provide more handouts to the billion dollar oil and gas industry which is already hoarding millions of acres of public lands, billions in taxpayer-funded subsidies and is focused on drilling on non-federal lands, where the best and most profitable oil resources are located.
Reps Lamborn, Tipton and Hastings, need to be held accountable for blatant disregard of taxpayer money and their continued attempts to increase corporate welfare for oil and gas companies.
Key provisions from the legislation considered today:
Rep. Lamborn’s bill (HR 1965) would:
- Block the public from participating in oil and gas leasing decisions by creating “entrance fees” of up to $5,000 to join the conversation.
- Mandate leasing and encourage costly oil shale speculation that has a century-long track record of failure despite billions in taxpayer-funded subsidies.
- Roll back the Obama Administration’s common sense approach to the failed “rock that burns,” oil shale, which would put already scarce western water at risk.
Rep. Tipton’s bill (HR 1394) would:
- Establish energy development – especially fossil fuels – as the primary use of public lands, jeopardizing the billion-dollar outdoor recreation and tourism industries and the thousands of western jobs that they create.
- Require the Department of Interior to prioritize oil, gas and coal over renewable energy development.
Rep. Hastings bill (HR 1964) would:
- Fast track approval of drilling permits, roads and pipelines in the National Petroleum Reserve (NPR-A) in Alaska, regardless of potential environmental impacts.
- Eliminate the “integrated activity plan” for NPR-A that balances energy development with protection of wildlife habitat and other critical areas.