The Edmond Sun

Local News

August 21, 2012

Energy panelist: 'We're not broke — we’re crazy'

OKLAHOMA CITY — “We’re not broke — we’re crazy,” Gary Palmer said Tuesday as he told a story related to the national debt and the nation’s abundant natural resources.

Palmer, president of the Alabama Policy Institute, spoke on the subject of “Energy & Federalism: EPA vs. the States,” part of a national policy summit on the subject hosted by the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs at Devon Energy Corporation’s new corporate headquarters.

The stated goal of the summit was to encourage national dialogue between OCPA members and members of other think tanks from key energy states. Oklahoma ranks fourth in the nation in natural gas production, fifth in crude oil production.

Last summer, when the national debt was $14.3 trillion (it stood at $15.9 trillion Tuesday according to, Congress reached an agreement that called for several trillion dollars in savings, raised the debt ceiling through the end of 2012 and established a committee to recommend long-term fiscal reforms.

About that same time, Palmer was in Washington on Capitol Hill and he walked into the office of a congressman who asked if he was there to talk about the debt limit. Palmer said as a matter of fact he was.

Palmer picked up the story from there. “He said, ‘Do you have $1.5 trillion?’ And I said, ‘No, but you do.’ And he looked at me all perplexed and I said, ‘Mr. Congressman, we have 1.4 trillion barrels of recoverable oil. We’ve got 249 years’ worth of coal that’s available with current mining technology. We have 280 trillion cubic feet of proven natural gas reserves. There’s 800 billion barrels of recoverable oil in oil shale in the Green River Formation in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. The federal government owns 80 percent of the richest part of that deposit.”

That’s when Palmer zinged the congressman with his “we’re not broke” line, evoking applause from some in the Oklahoma convention auditorium audience.

Palmer said he suggested that Congress attach an amendment to the debt ceiling vote that would let the federal government access the vast mineral resources that the nation possesses. He said the argument could have been that it would lower energy costs and reduce dependence on foreign oil.

Additionally, royalties the federal government would have earned from allowing access to its mineral resources would be about $19 trillion, enough to ensure stability of Social Security and Medicare, Palmer said.

“It is insanity to continue policies where we have these enormous resources and we don’t tap into them,” he said.

During his presentation, Carl Graham, CEO of the Montana Policy Institute, discussed a slide of U.S. rotary rig distribution and rigs by state as of July 27. It showed that Oklahoma had 193 active rigs, same as North Dakota, and Montana had 20.

“Why is there so little relative activity in Montana?” Graham said, citing a previous slide detailing Montana’s vast natural resources. “These are policy issues that are causing this as much as anything else. And those are the ones we can address.”

EPA regulatory trends include greenhouse gas tailoring which is on hold but creates an enormous amount of uncertainty, ozone national ambient air standards, native lands compliance, greenhouse gas reporting requirements which increase overhead costs, and water quality requirements, which are affecting the drilling technique known as fracking, Graham said. The federal government is writing a new set of rules for reservations, he said.

Graham said about 30 percent of Montana is federal land. Federal lands leasing trends include restrictions on numbers of leases, increased comment periods, increased resource management plan requirements, no additional compliance resources and new quasi-wilderness designations, he said.  

Montana could be the richest state in the nation with all of the natural resources it has, including an abundance of coal, but the nation is putting that at risk, Graham said. Meanwhile, government has grown by almost 60 percent in the state during the last 10 years.

“We want to get the government working for us instead of against us,” he said.

The best solutions are local solutions, Graham said. Now the government is the avenue of first resort, he said.

David Schnare, director of the Center for Environmental Stewardship, Thomas Jefferson Institute, worked for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for more than three decades.

“This is the way a lot of people at EPA see our nation and this is the way I see it,” Schnare said. “This is a union of states and it is the states that created the nation; it is not the nation that should control the states.”

Schnare referred to two maxims 1) Those who control energy control the economy and the nation; and 2) when states share power they abandon it. He then referred to a third maxim: The only limit to U.S. energy independence and the consequential economic growth is environmental regulation, mostly imposed by the EPA, but to a lesser extent by the U.S. Department of Energy.

The EPA has lost its way, now seeking a zero-risk, centrally managed society, regardless of cost to the economy or its citizens’ freedoms, Schnare said.

Trent England, vice president of policy for the Freedom Foundation, spoke about the history behind federalism and what has happened to it. | 341-2121, ext. 108

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  • Candidates disagree with White House’s minimum wage

    Gubernatorial candidate Joe Dorman, D-Rush Springs, said the state needs to have serious growth in high-paying living wage jobs that will provide for Oklahomans.
    Dorman cautioned that while Oklahoma’s jobless rate improved in June, the state’s rankings for the well-being of children has dropped from 36th to 39th place, for one of the largest declines in the U.S., according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s KIDS COUNT Project.
    The unemployment rate in June dropped to 4.5 percent, down a percentage point from 4.6 percent in May, according to the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission, Gov. Mary Fallin said this week.
    The state’s unemployment rate was more than 7 percent when Fallin was elected during the brink of the Great Depression. Alex Weintz, communications director for Fallin, pointed out that per capita income in Oklahoma was second in the nation from 2011 to 2013.
    The non partisan Congressional Budget office reported in February that raising the minimum wage could kill a half-million jobs in the United States.
    According to The Washington Times, CBO analysts reported, “Once the other changes in income were taken into account, families whose income would be below six times the poverty threshold under current law would see a small increase in income, on net, and families whose income would be higher under current law would see reductions in income, on net.”
    President Barack Obama in February signed an executive order to raise the minimum wage for federal contract workers to $10.10 an hour.
    Weintz said the governor believes tax cuts have enabled families to keep more of their money.
    No one is talking about the under-employment rate of families working minimum wage jobs, Dorman said.
    “It’s all fine and good when you have fast-food jobs that don’t cover the bills and that counts toward your unemployment rate.”
    Oklahoma’s minimum wage reflects the federal minimum wage set at $7.25 an hour, a standard set in 2009.
    Fallin signed legislation this year to prohibit municipalities from raising their local minimum wage above $7.25 an hour.
    “If the minimum wage goes up to $15 in Oklahoma City, all of the sudden you would drive retail, business, service industry locations outside of the city limits and that would be detrimental to the economy, consumers and to businesses,” Weintz said.
    Fallin has said that she opposes raising the minimum wage in Oklahoma because it would stifle job growth for small business and lay off workers. A lot of people earning the $7.25 minimum wage are part-time workers and many of them are students, Weintz said.
    “We believe raising the minimum wage is not a good way to address poverty,” Weintz said. “A lot of people earning the minimum wage are actually people living with their parents or other people who are employed full time, and in many cases they are middle class families. So it’s not a good tool to reduce poverty.”
    Dorman said he does not necessarily support the proposed $10.10 an hour minimum federal minimum wage that is being discussed by Congress.
    “I think we need to have a living wage in Oklahoma that is reflective of our economy,” Dorman said.
    About 102,300 jobs have been added in Oklahoma since Fallin took office in January 2011, according to her office.
    The cost of living in the national economy tends to be higher in some other states, Dorman said.
    So a minimum wage increase should be tied to economic gains so that families can pay their bills and afford to care for their children, Dorman said.
    Independent candidates for governor include Richard Prawdzienski of Edmond, Joe Sills of Oklahoma City and Kimberly Willis of Oklahoma City.

    July 24, 2014

  • Forced Entry 1 Firefighters sharpen forced entry skills

    Of all burglaries, 60.5 percent involved forcible entry, according to recent FBI statistics.
    As a result, many home and businesses are installing a greater number of complex mechanisms on their doors and windows. Edmond Fire Maj. Joe Elam said 10 local firefighters recently sharpened their skills during a forcible entry class offered by IRONS and LADDERS, LLC., of Lawrence, Kan.

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • Preparing for a fall home garden

    Gardening can be a year-around activity for those that have an appreciation for fresh and nutritious vegetables. Some of the best vegetables in Oklahoma are produced and harvested during the cooler weather of fall. Successful fall gardens, however, require some work in the summer growing season. Factors to be considered are location, soil preparation, crops to be grown and how/when to plant.  
    The major consideration for garden placement is sunlight. All vegetables require some sunlight; the most popular vegetables require full sun. “Full” sun means at least 8 hours of intense, direct exposure.

    July 24, 2014

  • OBU dance team celebrates National Dance Day

    In 2010, “So You Think You Can Dance” co-creator and Dizzy Feet Foundation co-president Nigel Lythgoe created National Dance Day in an effort to help people embrace dance and combat obesity on the last Saturday in July.
    This year, on July 26, Oklahoma Baptist University’s dance team will host a fundraiser that allows participants to dance all day for $30. The fundraiser will be in the Noble Complex on OBU’s campus.
    Cami Gower, an OBU junior and co-captain/co-founder of the dance team, said the team’s officers have been planning for their upcoming season since April. Gower is a graduate of Deer Creek High School.
    “Since then we have been coming up with better ways to reach the community with dance,” she said. “This day of dance was a great way to do it and help the team raise funds.”

    July 24, 2014

  • Blackmon.jpg Local cops arrest NFL player on marijuana complaint

    The Edmond Police Department has released the incident report related to the arrest of ex-Oklahoma State star and current NFL player Justin Blackmon.
    Blackmon, 24, a product of Plainview High School in Ardmore, is a 6-1, 210-pound wide receiver in his second year with the Jacksonville Jaguars. At Oklahoma State University, he was a two-time Biletnikoff Award winner as the country’s best collegiate wide receiver.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Women aided in Afghanistan, Rwanda through AT&T

    AT&T renewed its support for the PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS program Wednesday by making a $125,000 contribution to the program at Lakeside Women’s Hospital in Oklahoma City.
    AT&T has been a major supporter of Peace through Business since its inception in 2007, said Steve Hahn, the new president of AT&T Oklahoma.

    July 23, 2014

  • Salvation Army pantry closes until September

    Due to an increase of need, The Salvation Army in Oklahoma County has distributed all of its food supply. July 23 was the last day of the food pantry operations. In preparation for the move to the Center of Hope at 1001 N. Pennsylvania, The Salvation Army Client Choice Pantry will not resume operations until September.

    July 23, 2014

  • Payne Co. crash sends Guthrie man to hospital

    A two-vehicle crash in Payne County sent a Guthrie man to a local hospital, a trooper stated.
    Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper James Ritze stated a 2005 Jeep SUV and a 2013 Ford pickup were about a mile east of Perkins headed west on State Highway 33. When the pickup slowed for a truck pulling out of a private drive, the SUV struck the rear of the pickup, Ritze stated.

    July 23, 2014

  • 7-11 Second Street to get new 7-Eleven

    The amended site plan for a new 7-Eleven Convenience Store was approved by the Edmond Planning Commission this week by a vote of 4-0.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Guard adds jobs, revenue to Oklahoma

    During a Wednesday morning press conference at Joint Force Headquarters, members of the Guard touted the findings of an in-depth study addressing impacts the organization has in areas including gross state product, employment and tax revenue.

    July 23, 2014

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