Rep. Barton rebukes EPA for using overreaching regulations to put straightjacket on economy

Date: Feb. 9, 2011
Location: Washington, DC

Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), Chairman Emeritus and senior Republican on the Energy and Commerce Committee, delivered the following opening statement Wednesday at the Energy and Power Subcommittee Hearing where they discussed "The Energy and Tax Prevention Act," which will protect American jobs by preventing the EPA from unilaterally imposing a costly cap and trade style regulatory tax.

"The great Joe Lewis, the heavy weight champion of the mid 1900s, was facing a difficult task with another heavyweight contender, and made the comment, "He can run but he can't hide'. Well today we're going to use that in the legislative arena.

"The Environmental Protection Agency and the Obama Administration have decided basically just because they have the ability to decide as the Executive Branch, that they want to put the American economy in a straight jacket, and cost us millions of jobs and hundreds of billions a year with these green house gas regulations.

"They couldn't get it through the legislative process (the Markey-Waxman Bill in the last congress barely passed the House, and it did not go anywhere in the Senate) and so they tried to do it with overregulation. It's not going to work.

"Chairman Upton and Subcommittee Chairman Whitfield have introduced this draft legislation, and I fully expect in the next month or two that it's going to pass the Subcommittee and the full Committee. So today we are going to start that legislative process.

"I am going to put in to the record some comments from one of the EPA officials who had the authority at the time to take a look at the proposed endangerment finding, and I'm going to read from the executive summary one sentence and then yield back the balance of Mr. Upton's time. It says, "In many cases the most important arguments are made not on multimillion dollar research efforts, but by simple observation of available data which has surprisingly received so little scrutiny. In the end, it must be emphasized that the issue is not which side has spent the most money or published the most peer reviewed papers. The issue is where do the green house gas co2 hypotheses' meet the ultimate scientific test--conformance with real world data?'

"What these comments show is that in this case, the ultimate test, the hypothesis fails. That's why we put this legislation forward, and that's why at the appropriate time it is going to pass and go to the House floor. With that, I yield back."

Prepared remarks which were entered into the record:

"Thank you Mr. Chairman for holding this important hearing. As Chairman Emeritus, I stand with Chairman Upton and Subcommittee Chairman Whitfield in support of denying bureaucrats at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the right to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act; and beginning to rebalance the power between the executive and the legislative branches.

"For the past two years, the Obama Administration has been using the EPA as the means to create an end that I, along with the majority of Americans, strongly oppose. This end results in a world where affordable, reliable, and American-based energy is no longer freely available. This end results in the loss of innovation and job opportunities at home and sends American-owned companies and their jobs overseas. This end results in increasing the cost of fuel, electricity, and other goods and services to the American public.

"For the past two years, the decisions of executive branch bureaucrats at the EPA have not been subject to Congressional oversight and I am glad that this Committee is beginning to remedy that situation starting today. I hope this hearing is just the first in a series of hearings discussing legislation that addresses several of my concerns, including: the many flaws in the EPA's endangerment finding for greenhouse gases; the unjustifiable economic harm being passed on to the American public at little to no proven benefit, health or otherwise; and the inconsistencies in the EPA's approach and attack on individual states' air quality standards and permitting requirements.

"I would like to offer a special welcome to Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott. Attorney General Abbott, along with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and countless other private sector and state representatives, has been fighting a good fight and asking the EPA to explain and reconsider specific regulations regarding greenhouse gases and permitting issues and I look forward to hearing from Mr. Abbott and the other witnesses about their interactions and relationships with the EPA.

"I, like all Americans, want to breathe clean air and make sure that our children and future generations inherit the same beautiful country that we enjoy now. We already have laws on the books that protect our air and before Congress or federal agencies enact new laws we must examine the facts, the science, the needs of the American public, and the economic impact of new regulations."