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Hastings: Obama Administration Regulations are Costing American Jobs, Blocking American Energy Production

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 10, 2011 - House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (WA-04) delivered the following remarks on the House Floor in support of H. Res. 72, a resolution directing certain committees, including the Natural Resources Committee, to review existing, pending and proposed federal regulations and their effect on jobs and economic growth.

“Gasoline prices are rising and we have near double-digit unemployment. The Obama Administration should be doing everything within its power to spur economic growth and create new jobs.

Unfortunately, they have not. This Administration has chosen to impose regulation after regulation and policy after policy, on American businesses that impede their growth potential and thus impede our economic recovery.

Many of these regulations delay or flat-out prevent Americans from responsibly developing our own natural resources. They block access to American energy, block access to American minerals, block access to American water supplies, and block access to American forest products.

By their actions, this Administration is jeopardizing our economic competitiveness. This jeopardy is making America more reliant on foreign countries to meet our everyday needs.

I don’t believe Americans are content with locking-up our valuable resources. And I don’t believe Americans are content with sending American jobs overseas.

But that’s exactly what these regulations and policies are doing.

President Obama says that he wants to eliminate regulations that are strangling businesses. That’s noble, but this appears to be one more example of his rhetoric not matching his actions.

The rules and regulations imposed by the Obama Administration have allowed the federal government to insert itself in places it’s never been and doesn’t belong.

Let me give you several examples.

First, burdensome regulations are being used to restrict access to American energy production on public lands – both onshore and offshore. Last year, new rules were imposed for onshore lease sales that have significantly decreased energy production throughout the intermountain West. Offshore, the Administration continues to impose a de facto moratorium on drilling in the Gulf and has yet to issue a single deep water permit since last April. President Obama’s de facto moratorium has put thousands of Americans out of work.

These regulations are not only impeding oil and natural gas production, but also renewable energy such as wind and solar. Proposals by the Administration will restrict renewable energy development to only a tiny fraction of our public lands.

Second, the Obama Administration is aggressively pursuing sweeping new changes to mining regulations. These regulations, by their own admission, will cost thousands of American jobs and decrease American energy production in 22 states.

Third, the Obama Administration has reversed a long-standing legal agreement and moved to establish a new “wild lands” policy that will further restrict public access to multi-purpose public lands. This backdoor approach will prohibit many popular forms of recreation and severely restrict job-creating, energy-producing activities. By creating de facto Wilderness, the Administration is circumventing Congress’ sole authority to establish Wilderness areas.

Fourth, the President has signed an Executive Order establishing a new National Ocean Policy and Council that could severely restrict recreational and commercial use of our oceans. This policy establishes mandatory Marine Spatial Planning, otherwise known as ocean zoning. The reach of this policy may also stretch far inland, extending to potentially all rivers, tributaries and lands that drain into the ocean.

Fifth, the Environmental Protection Agency has allowed questionable science to be used to impose regulations that could end the use of vital farm crop and tree protection products. This will cost jobs and adversely impact trade of our agricultural products.

And last, the Obama Administration has supported withholding valuable water from communities in California’s San Joaquin Valley, prioritizing the needs of a three-inch fish over thousands of workers and their families. This government and man-made drought caused hundreds of thousands of acres of fertile farm land to dry up and the unemployment rate to reach 40 percent.

This is just one example of how the implementation of the Endangered Species Act, which hasn’t been reviewed in almost 20 years, is being used to block or delay job-creating projects. The goal of the ESA is to conserve key domestic species. It shouldn’t be used by special interest groups to file lawsuits and drain resources away from real recovery efforts.

The National Environmental Policy Act and other environmental regulations are going far beyond their original intent and are instead being used to place unnecessary and costly burdens on economic development projects throughout the country. NEPA has become a tool for litigation, sometimes resulting in decades worth of delays before a project can move forward.

The list of burdensome regulations and policies goes on and on. This list only scratches the surface.

American businesses are struggling to keep their doors open.

Rural communities who depend on these resources are feeling their livelihoods threatened.

And American families, many of whom are already finding it difficult to make ends meet, are paying more for everything from gasoline to fruits and vegetables.

A clean, healthy environment is a priority for all Americans and so is a federal government that sets sensible rules that provide clarity, certainty and allows job-creating initiatives to move forward in timely, efficient manner.

The Obama Administration needs to exercise common sense. Spending more money and imposing new rules will not lead to economic recovery. Businesses and communities need relief from these top-down policies that are costing American jobs.

The Natural Resources Committee and all of its subcommittees will be conducting thorough oversight of the Obama Administration’s policies – taking a close look at how and why decisions are made. I fully support this resolution and Republicans on the Natural Resources Committee are committed to promoting policies that will reduce spending, strengthen our economy and create American jobs.”


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Contact: Jill Strait or Spencer Pederson 202-226-9019

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