Texas Senator Hutchison blasts Obama’s energy shortcomings
BY KURT ABRAHAM
HOUSTON -- During a speech today in Houston, Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison called on the U.S. federal government to do more to develop “all available energy resources, here in America,” maintaining that this “is the only way to ensure that we will have a safe and stable energy supply for years to come." Sen. Hutchison’s remarks, directed at what she regards as President Obama’s failed energy record, were delivered to a luncheon crowd at The 21st Century Energy Technology Conference & Trade Show, hosted by the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers.
In listing the oil and gas shortcomings of the Obama administration, Hutchison noted that the President “for the last three-and-a-half years has pursued an anything but fossil fuels policy,” rather than a more inclusive plan that encourages all forms of energy production. She lamented that “nowhere have I seen a country like ours, where we have such extensive resources, and yet, refuse to develop them.” Hutchison blasted Obama’s decision to postpone approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, declaring that “ideology has trumped common sense. Meanwhile, Canada is saying, ‘we’ll just build a shorter pipeline to our (West) coast, and ship the oil to China. What kind of an energy policy is that?”
On the subject of hydraulic fracturing, the senator said that it’s time for the federal government to quit making a mess of the regulation of this key upstream activity. “Did you know that there are now 12 federal agencies trying to regulate fracing?,” Hutchison asked the crowd. “But the problem is that the Obama administration wants to use a ‘one size fits all’ approach to it. That doesn’t work very well, when there are local issues involved with fracing in Pennsylvania that differ greatly from the issues with fracing in Texas. This can be a complicated, localized situation. We have a huge issue that should be left to the states to handle.”
Senator Hutchison also saved some of her wrath for remarks made by President Obama during his debate with former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, Tuesday night. In that debate, the President refused to answer Romney’s question, when he was pressed, about the decrease in new drilling permits under his administration. Hutchison took the opportunity to fill in the blanks, saying, “From 2006 to 2008, vs 2009 to 2011, new drilling permits are down 37%. New acreage is down 55%, and new leases are down 42%. And to fact-check the rest: the increase in production the President alluded to is actually the result of the previous administration's expanded permits, combined with new technology driving a surge in production on private land, which has offset the detrimental effects of the decrease in permitting.”
Carrying the fact-checking theme a bit further, Hutchison noted that “According to the Energy Information Administration, 2011 production on all federal lands dropped by 14% from fiscal year 2010 levels. Right now, the federal government leases less than 6% of federal onshore lands. The most clarifying statistic is this: in 2008, oil and gas development from federal lands contributed $9.5 billion to the treasury in tax revenue; just last year, it was a paltry $37 million.” Hutchison is in the final three months of her term, having opted not to run for re-election this year, and will leave the Senate in early January after nearly 20 years in office.