Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas)
As the Obama administration comes to a close, so too will we close up a chapter of costly, overly burdensome regulations and begin to enter a new era of transparency based on sound science.
Millions of hard-working Americans rely on affordable energy to make ends meet. However, it’s no secret that the president’s so-called Clean Power Plan, the cornerstone of the Obama administration’s climate change policy, could cost up to $292 billion. The so-called Clean Power Plan would actually have no meaningful impact on our environment and only end up reducing global temperatures by three one-hundredths of a degree Celsius. This burdensome regulation would also only lower sea level rise by the thickness of three sheets of paper.
As America looks forward to a new age of cutting red tape, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s appointment as EPA administrator is a welcome response to the Obama administration’s legacy of overregulation. Mr. Pruitt has been a leading proponent for inviting local governments, stakeholders and industry leaders to have a seat at the table to help decide what measures and rules work best for them. While he acknowledges the need for the EPA, he sees the truth that the current administration has devotedly ignored: the EPA was never intended to be an advocate of extreme environmental regulations that serve no purpose and are costly and burdensome.
This past May, Mr. Pruitt testified before the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, that I chair, on the impact of President Obama’s so-called Clean Power Plan on states. Mr. Pruitt has consistently worked to ensure the air we breathe and the water we drink is clean, and will help in resetting the agenda on environmental improvement as we move forward.
Under Mr. Pruitt’s leadership, Oklahoma has developed leading innovations in wind energy and natural gas production through hydraulic fracturing, the most innovative carbon emission reduction technology we have today. Letting regulations take a backseat to innovation is a sure-fire way to allow industry and technology to grow together.
A new era of leadership will put the EPA back on track. The goal of the Obama administration’s so-called Clean Power Plan hasn’t been to improve the way Americans produce and consume energy. Simply put, it forces certain kinds of power plants and power sources to line up with political motivations. This is technology devaluation, not technology innovation. Increasing the cost of energy with no significant environmental benefit is not an efficient way to support American workers and technological advances.
Further, an analysis of the Paris climate agreement shows that it too would have little impact on global temperatures. The total temperature reduction if all countries implement the agreement is predicted to be about one-twentieth of a degree Celsius by 2030. While the benefits are miniscule, the financial burden of the Paris climate agreement are devastating. The agreement is all pain and no gain.
Due to the Obama administration’s overly burdensome regulations, our work is cut out for us. I have always believed that basic research and development has always been a crucial part of American innovation and one of the best solutions forward. Bill Gates, along with other investors, has announced an energy research initiative to work for breakthrough technology solutions. These solutions will provide us with the opportunity for Americans to continue to be a global leader in energy innovation. As a unified government, we should foster these initiatives and shift the focus away from a costly regulatory regime and towards American ingenuity and technological advances. Under President-elect Donald J. Trump, the United States can re-stake our claim as the world leader in energy innovation.
Rep. Smith is chairman of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology Committee.