Chairman Hall Responds to President’s Energy Policies in State of the Union Address

Jan 24, 2012

Washington DC – Following this evening’s State of the Union address, Rep. Ralph Hall (R-TX), Chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, released the following statement:

Tonight the President once more devoted significant time and attention to energy as a key to American prosperity and the economic recovery—that much we can agree on.  But this was his third State of the Union address, and by now it is clear that his lofty rhetoric goes nowhere when it comes to policies that will actually increase domestic energy supply and production.  His message may appear supportive of encouraging all forms of energy, but past experience has shown these promises ring hollow.  Nothing the President could have said tonight would make me believe it wasn’t accompanied by a wink to the EPA as it continues its all-out assault on American industry and the U.S. economy.

“For example, the President incredibly said he would take ‘every possible action’ to expand domestic natural gas production, when in fact his EPA appears to be doing the exact opposite.  Much of the President’s regulatory agenda is based on shaky science, and as Chairman of the Science, Space, and Technology Committee, I will continue rigorous oversight to ensure the administration’s regulations are developed in an open and transparent manner and based on sound science.  EPA’s ongoing efforts to regulate hydraulic fracturing are a great example.  Natural gas is a vital domestic resource, and hydraulic fracturing is a well-established process borne from American ingenuity, enabling greatly increased production of clean, affordable energy.  This production is critical to America’s economic growth, and yet EPA continues its quest to suspend this process by any means.

“The President accurately noted that federal research contributed significantly to the current shale gas revolution, but he failed to mention that his administration has worked hard—and fortunately failed—to eliminate nearly all of the Department of Energy’s natural gas research and development.  I expect this budget to be no different.

“The President also called on Congress to pass a clean energy standard.  This was a centerpiece of his speech last year, but it went nowhere because it amounted to a massive new electricity tax on the American people.  In a report I requested of the administration, Department of Energy analysts estimated the President’s clean energy standard would ultimately raise electricity prices by 30 percent nationwide.  This is not what our economy needs.

“We need policies that encourage domestic energy producers to harness and develop new sources of energy and create jobs in the U.S.  Instead, the President’s policies have obstructed such investments, limiting the momentum of any economic recovery.  Just last week, the President blocked the Keystone pipeline proposal that would have immediately created 20,000 jobs.  From blocking energy exploration and production to the EPA’s assaults on U.S. industry, the administration is making domestic energy more expensive.  These are job-killing policies, and the American people have collectively spoken out against such government red tape, and in favor of more domestic energy. 

“Energy reform is a significant component of House Republicans’ Plan for America’s Job Creators, and will continue to be a focus for the Science, Space, and Technology Committee.  We will strive to ensure good science informs regulatory decisions at the EPA in order to spur economic growth by reducing government barriers that are detrimental to our economy and stymie private-sector job creation.”