The Edmond Sun

Local News

July 9, 2012

Congressional hearing comes to Edmond

Overregulation of U.S. energy producers to be topic

EDMOND — Federal overregulation of American energy will be the topic of a special congressional hearing set for Friday in Edmond.

U.S. Rep. James Lankford, R-Edmond, will host the full House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hearing on the issue beginning at 9 a.m. Friday in the Nigh University Center’s Constitution Hall on the University of Central Oklahoma campus.

Lankford, who is seeking re-election against Edmond Democrat Tom Guild and Independent candidates Pat Martin and Robert T. Murphy, encouraged area residents to come to the rare hearing and see government in action. Individuals with an interest in energy production will be able to add a written statement to the congressional record, he said. They can send it to Lankford’s Oklahoma City office or give it to a staff member on Friday.

It’s the first time for this type of hearing by the Oversight Committee, Lankford said. In February 2011, Lankford hosted a Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing in Oklahoma City on improving and reforming related U.S. programs.

The intent of the Edmond meeting is to have the Government Oversight Committee hear an unfiltered energy production message from witnesses in a top energy-producing state, Lankford said.

“We’re the epicenter of energy production in America,” Lankford told The Edmond Sun.

Lankford said through advancements in energy exploration and production the nation has the technology and reserves to become energy independent. Last quarter, 58 percent of the oil used in the United States was produced domestically and 79 percent came from North America, he said.

The hearing will discuss the barriers to achieving energy independence and how to achieve freedom from foreign — and sometimes hostile — energy producers, Lankford said.  

State leaders have been critical of regulations enforced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under the Obama administration.

The administration has imposed new regulations that have cost $46 billion annually, with nearly $11 billion more in one-time implementation costs, according to a study by the Heritage Foundation released in March. Lankford said President Barack Obama is also making less than accurate claims about domestic energy production since he became president.

Individuals scheduled to testify during the hearing are Corporation Commissioner Patrice Douglas, Oklahoma Energy Secretary Michael Ming, Mike McDonald, president, Triad Energy, and Domestic Energy Producers Alliance; Patricia D. Horn, vice president for governance and environmental health and safety, OGE Energy Corporation; Brian Woodard, vice president of regulatory affairs, Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association; and Joseph Leonard, environmental health and safety engineer, Devon Energy Corporation.

It will be the second time for Douglas to be part of the congressional record. In February 2011, then Mayor Douglas testified on behalf of the City of Edmond before the Oversight Committee regarding unfunded mandates to municipal governments.

Douglas said she will speak on the issue of federal regulation verses state regulation. She is the incoming chairwoman of the Corporation Commission, a state agency that regulates fuel, oil and gas, public utilities and transportation industries. Douglas also will speak about hindrances to domestic energy production, Oklahoma’s successes and how to be proactive.

Douglas encouraged anyone interested in energy-related issues to attend the meeting.

Woodard said he will speak about clean air regulations and issues related to Oklahoma’s endangered species law. Presently, 16 wildlife species within the state are listed as federally threatened or endangered, according to the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. Four species are listed as state-threatened or state-endangered in Oklahoma.

According to the Heritage Foundation’s report “Red Tape Rising: Obama-Era Regulation at the Three Year Mark,” the most costly regulations have come from the EPA, which added more than five costly rules at a cost of more than $4 billion annually.

Additional regulations are coming from the Dodd-Frank financial regulation law, Obama’s health care law and the EPA’s carbon emissions cutting crusade, the report states. They are a threat to the nation’s already weak economy, the authors state.

The Edmond meeting is the first of two consecutive field hearings on domestic energy production. The second will be Saturday in Fargo, N.D.

marks@edmondsun.com | 341-2121, ext. 108

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