Congress must curb Obama administration’s regulatory overkill

By Rep. Scott Tipton

Since day one, the Obama administration has actively blocked oil and natural gas development with an overregulation, anti-jobs agenda. This “no-across-the-board” energy policy has stifled domestic energy development, leaving the United States vulnerable to an unstable foreign energy supply, and killing good paying jobs.

With unemployment in our district on the rise — 11.1 percent in Mesa County — oil trading at over $100 a barrel, and gasoline prices surpassing $3.50 a gallon, the time to get serious about American energy development is now.

It wasn’t long ago that oil and natural gas production was booming in our country and in the 3rd Congressional District.

In 2005, the BLM issued 272 oil and gas leases in Colorado — many of which were on the Western Slope. That number fell 88 percent, to just 34 issued last year as the result of years of excessive regulation by the state of Colorado and the Obama administration.

Over the past few years, the Interior Department and the Environmental Protection Agency have piled regulation upon regulation, without considering the impact on jobs and the economy, or on our energy supply. In many instances, the new regulations duplicate existing measures already enforced on a state level and contradict others.

Currently, there is no established process for regulatory review, and agencies are essentially free to impose new regulations at whim, without the oversight of Congress and the input of the people.

The cost of regulation on the American people amounts to $1.75 trillion annually — nearly twice as much as all income taxes collected. And just last year, the Obama administration unleashed 43 new regulations that will cost us an additional $26.5 billion to enforce.

To be sure, not all regulation is unwarranted, and common-sense rules play an important role in protecting the American people. However, common sense has been lost in the regulatory process, which has become politicized and wrought with bureaucracy and overlap.

I’m exploring ways to cutback regulation, including possible legislation to require a regulatory impact study — an RIS, similar to an EIS for environmental issues — and establish a joint House and Senate committee on regulatory oversight.

An RIS would fully disclose the costs of regulation to taxpayers, reveal the long-term economic impacts and eliminate regulatory overlap and conflict, while a joint committee would provide direct oversight on new regulation.

This would be the first step in changing the way regulation is enacted by putting authority back in the hands of Congress, rather than allowing government agencies free regulatory reign. This type of transparent oversight would go a long way toward reducing overregulation, cutting billions in spending and eliminating barriers to job creation in our district and across the country.

Colorado has some of the richest oil shale deposits in the world, and is part of the Western U.S. region that is estimated by the U.S. Geological Survey to hold as many as 1.5 trillion barrels of oil — six times that of Saudi Arabia, and enough to supply the U.S. for 200 years. The development of these resources would lead to tens of thousands of good paying jobs and help stabilize our energy supply — putting an end to spikes in gas prices.

We cannot afford to wait while the administration continues to obstruct new permits and leases.

To that end I have taken action, co-sponsoring H.R. 909, to promote energy policies to facilitate the production of traditional resources, as well as support the rapid development of market-based alternative energy sources. I have also co-sponsored legislation to reaffirm offshore oil and gas exploration as a vital component of our “all of the above” energy portfolio, and to restrict the EPA.

Additionally, I am continuing work on the RIS and establishing an oversight and review process that prevents future regulatory abuse and repeals the onerous regulations that have hurt our country.

While I applaud the future exploration and development of new technologies like solar and wind power, we must also maintain and develop proven resources like coal, natural gas and oil if we are to create jobs quickly and secure our country’s energy future.

Our country is blessed with an abundance of natural resources, and America’s energy platform must include all of the above.

Rep. Scott Tipton of Cortez represents Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District, which includes most of the Western Slope.


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