Duncan: New Study Shows Drilling = Jobs for SC - 12/6/13
Washington, DC- A new study released today takes a deep dive into what energy exploration off the Atlantic coast would mean for South Carolina. The study’s findings: more jobs, more investment, and more revenue. If the federal government would allow South Carolina to pursue energy exploration off its coast the state could expect over 35,500 jobs, $2.7 billion in annual economic activity, and potentially $3.7 billion in cumulative state revenue by 2035. The findings are even more optimistic than a 2012 report by the Palmetto Agribusiness Council which projected 7,500 new jobs, an annual $2.2 billion statewide economic impact, and an estimated $87.5 million in new annual state revenue. The study was prepared by Quest Offshore Resources, Inc. for the American Petroleum Institute (API) and the National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA).
Earlier this year, Congressman Jeff Duncan’s legislation to open South Carolina’s coast for production passed the House as part of the Offshore Energy and Jobs Act. Today, Congressman Duncan cited the study’s findings as further evidence of the major economic benefits of pursuing North American energy independence.
“The findings by Quest Offshore Resources really put in perspective what I have been fighting for in South Carolina. Energy exploration and production is a win, win, win for our state. It creates economic opportunity and jobs, propels our nation towards energy independence, and could help pay down our national debt. South Carolina energy production is not only an economic boon for our state, it also creates a path forward to improve our infrastructure, roads, and bridges. The critical next step forward is to complete the long-delayed Environmental Impact Statement to allow seismic testing in the Atlantic. This will allow us to make science-based decisions on future activities with accurate data.”
“Today less than 3% of the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) is leased for production. The impact of expanding production to the Atlantic OCS is too great of an opportunity to pass up. Pursuing energy independence in our own backyard, instead of relying on foreign sources of energy, will make South Carolina a safer, more prosperous state to earn a living and raise a family. If the Atlantic OCS is opened by the end of this decade, South Carolina and the country as a whole will benefit greatly.”
Neugebauer Talks about Farm Bill on C-SPAN's Washington Journal - 12/5/13
WASHINGTON, DC—Congressman Randy Neugebauer (R-TX) spoke about the Farm Bill this morning on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal. You can watch the clip here.
Neugebauer discussed the Farm Bill Conference Committee’s progress, and his goals for the final legislation. “I’m optimistic that we’re moving in the right direction,” Neugebauer said.
Asked by anchor Greta Brawner why legislation that supports farmers in bad seasons matters to Americans, Neugebauer answered, “These are the people, Greta, that are feeding the world, literally. They’re not only feeding the United States of America, but we also export a lot of our food. It’s an important part of our economy, but more importantly, it’s an important part of our way of life.”
Neugebauer said he is eager to move forward on reforms to commodity support and nutrition assistance that make better use of taxpayer dollars. “I hold a responsibility to everybody in this country — in particular the taxpayers — to ensure that we are doing these programs effectively,” he explained.
The Washington Times covered Neugebauer’s remarks in an article, which you can find here:
“Rep. Randy Neugebauer said Thursday that Republicans are intent on finding savings in the farm bill by making sure that people who receive food stamps are entitled to them.
“Mr. Neugebauer, Texas Republican, said the cost of the food stamp program has ballooned in the wake of the 2008 recession — to $80 billion — feeding into the nation’s $17 trillion national debt.
“‘I hold a responsibility to everybody in this country — in particular the taxpayers — to ensure that we are doing these programs effectively,’ Mr. Neugebauer said on C-SPAN’s ‘Washington Journal.’
“Congress approved a temporary increase in food stamps — known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP — as part of the 2009 federal stimulus package. But that increase ended on Nov. 1, and now the average four-person family receives about $40 less in assistance each month.
“Democrats say the growth of the program is a reflection of the nation’s post-recession economic and employment woes and is safety net for struggling families.
“Republicans say that they are concerned the program has become bloated and that Congress should take steps to ensure that the food stamp recipients deserve what they are getting.
Earlier this year, House Republicans proposed cutting $40 billion from the program over 10 years, a move that led to a disagreement with Democrats and has become a major sticking point in the farm bill negotiations.
“‘What we are saying is, moving forward we want to make sure that everybody that is on the program that we are doing everything we can to make sure that they qualify for it.’
“Mr. Neugebauer said that roughly 47 million people participate in the food stamp program and that he was uncertain of how many people would come off the rolls under the Republican proposal.”
Noem Introduces New School Nutrition Bill - 12/5/13
Cramer: Conservation Compliance Linkage Would Put Crop Insurance at Risk - 12/5/13
Bishop Calls on Secretary Jewell to Further Examine the National Park Service's Erroneous Comments on Hydraulic Fracturing - 12/5/13
WASHINGTON—Department of Interior (DOI) Secretary Sally Jewell today received a letter from Congressman Rob Bishop (UT-01), Chairman of the House Natural Resources Public Lands and Environmental Regulation Subcommittee, requesting further information about the protocol and review process for the submission of official comments by the DOI and related agencies.
The letter stems from the recent discovery that the National Park Service used unsubstantiated data from a New York Times opinion piece in official comments made to the Bureau of Land Management. In a September 05, 2013 letter to NPS Director Jon Jarvis, Congressman Bishop highlighted that the comments from the NPS to the BLM used the erroneous information to make a case against hydraulic fracturing. Congressman Bishop recently received a letter from Director Jarvis stating that the comments were made in error and would be withdrawn.
Excerpts of the letter:
The NPS comments enabled the false narrative that hydraulic fracturing is not regulated and is unsafe. On August 29, 2013, just six days after the NPS comments were filed, the Independent Petroleum Association of America outlined, in a letter to the NPS, the plethora of inaccuracies included in the NPS comments. On September 6, 2013, I sent a letter to NPS Director Jarvis requesting the withdrawal of the comments because of the well-documented inaccuracies.
It’s further troubling that the NPS lacks a system of data accountability and quality control. Director Jarvis wrote in the November 13, 2013 letter: “I did not, nor did anyone from management, review the comments”. This is very puzzling and raises further questions and concerns.
view the letter here
Tipton Pressures Jewell on Sage Grouse - 12/4/13
WASHINGTON—Today, Congressman Scott Tipton (R-CO) spoke on the House floor to urge Interior Secretary Sally Jewell to provide measurable goals for the preservation of the Greater Sage Grouse and the Gunnison Sage Grouse. Tipton also renewed his invitation for Jewell to come to Colorado to see firsthand the effective local preservation efforts underway. He emphasized that the proposed Endangered Species Act designations for the sage grouse, “would kill jobs, devastate communities, and disrupt effective species preservation efforts currently underway.”
The text of Tipton’s statement follows:
“The proposed Endangered Species Act designations for the Gunnison Sage Grouse and Greater Sage Grouse would impact millions of acres in Colorado and hinder existing conservation efforts. It would put private lands off limits to most use and development, including agriculture production, without providing any compensation.
It would kill jobs, devastate communities, and disrupt effective species preservation efforts currently underway. It won’t, however, more effectively preserve the grouse.
In my district, plans at the local level are underway to effectively preserve the species. Because they take into account the unique geography and environment of the region, these efforts are seeing success.
Interior Department bureaucrats have yet to provide measurable species preservation goals so that state and local officials can meet them. Local conservation efforts are all too often disrupted by heavy-handed federal attempts to implement blanket plans that neglect local environmental and geographic factors. These one-size-fits-all plans create endless litigation and tie up resources that could be used for preservation.
If the true goal is species preservation then I hope Secretary Jewell will come to Colorado and see firsthand the effective work being done to preserve the sage grouse, as well as provide measurable species preservation goals.”
Congressman Young Moves Marine Debris Legislation Forward to Protect Alaskan Waters - 12/4/13
Washington, D.C. - Alaskan Congressman Don Young today applauded the unanimous passage of two bills from the House Natural Resources Committee that would allow impacted states like Alaska – with more than 44,000 miles of coastline – to receive direct grants from funds donated by the Japanese government in the wake of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, in addition to streamlining the current grant process for marine disasters considered to be “severe.” Congressman Young was the lead Republican sponsor of both bipartisan bills, H.R. 1491 and H.R. 1425, which both successfully passed the committee with amendments he offered.
“Today we unanimously sent two bills to the full House that would help coastal communities in Alaska and in other affected areas with the cleanup of marine debris hitting our shores,” said Congressman Don Young. “As the people of Japan still recover from their earthquake and subsequent tsunami, the United States must brace for what could be years more of waste and debris. This legislation gives organizations and coastal communities the tools to continue the arduous cleanup process, while also improving the response capabilities for future events.”
H.R. 1425 would allow a priority process for grants addressing severe marine debris events, including those likely to introduce marine invasive species. Additionally, H.R. 1425 would allow governors to request the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Administrator to make a severe marine debris determination.
H.R. 1491 would allow the Administrator of NOAA to use funds, provided to the U.S. from the Government of Japan, to address debris related to the March 2011 tsunami as grants to any State, locality or tribal government effected by the marine debris event. Furthermore, H.R. 1491 would give NOAA the authority to repay States for past costs of debris removal efforts.
In addition to helping pass into law H.R. 1171, the Marine Debris Act Amendment of 2012, Congressman Young has led a continued effort (watch video of Congressman Young speaking on the House floor) to bring awareness to the crisis in our oceans that is affecting Alaska’s fisherman and countless coastal communities. Today’s passage of H.R. 1491 and H.R. 1425 is the next step in funding additional marine debris cleanup in a timely manner.
Gardner: Bipartisan Support for Extension of Energy Efficiency Initiative - 12/4/13
Washington, DC – Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO), Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT), Senator Chris Coons (D-DE), and Senator John Boozman (R-AR) applauded the decision by the Obama Administration to extend President Obama’s federal buildings energy efficiency initiative.
The Administration announced yesterday that federal agencies will “work with the Energy Department’s Federal Energy Management Program in early 2014 to identify a pipeline of additional project commitments to further reduce energy use through 2016.”
Gardner, Welch, Coons, and Boozman – joined by 118 House colleagues and 26 Senate colleagues – sent a letter last month to President Obama requesting an extended residential initiative setting a goal of $1 billion a year for the next five years for the federal government to utilize performance contracts to achieve energy savings.
“Americans are tired of a Congress that has a seemingly endless inability to work together,” Rep. Cory Gardner said. “A growing bipartisan group of Members of Congress have come together to achieve a simple goal: save taxpayer money, and reduce the amount of energy the federal government uses. I am glad the Obama Administration had made the decision to extend this commonsense initiative.”
“Energy efficiency is a practical idea that cuts through partisan gridlock in Washington and achieves real progress for the American people by creating jobs and saving taxpayer dollars. There is broad bipartisan and bicameral support for energy efficiency investments and the Administration’s announcement today reflects that support. I applaud their decision to extend this program and look forward to working with them achieve even more energy savings,” Rep. Peter Welch said.
"Investments in energy efficiency upgrades promote energy independence, help our environment, and support American jobs," Senator Chris Coons said. "Outdated federal facilities spend billions in taxpayer dollars every year on energy use alone. In just two years, the federal buildings energy efficiency initiative has already yielded significant energy and cost savings for the federal government, and I am pleased the administration has chosen to extend this valuable program."
“I applaud this commonsense effort to use public-private partnerships to achieve both energy efficiency and savings for American taxpayers. While debate and disagreement are part of a healthy democracy, our bipartisan letter and today's announcement show that we can also find areas of common ground and agreement to tackle challenges our nation faces,” Senator John Boozman said.
In 2011, the President kicked off a 2-year initiative to achieve $2 billion in energy savings in federal buildings. The 2011 executive order employed the use of Energy Savings Performance Contracts (ESPCs) and Utility Energy Services Contracts (UESCs) to achieve energy savings in federal buildings. Under an ESPC or UESC, an energy services company or a utility negotiates a contract with a federal agency that specifies the amount of energy savings it will achieve through retrofits and other measures. The company or utility is then paid for its performance out of the savings it achieves rather than through appropriated funds.
Daines Parks Funding Bill Moves Through Committee Without Opposition - 12/4/13
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Steve Daines’ bill to reimburse states for funds spent to reopen National Parks during the partial government shutdown was passed by the House Natural Resources Committee today without opposition. It now heads to the House floor for a full vote on final passage.
H.R. 3286, the Protecting States, Opening National Parks Act, is bipartisan legislation that seeks to ensure states are reimbursed for all state funds spent to pay for National Park operations during the recent lapse in federal appropriations.
“This bill is an attempt to help solve a problem that Washington, D.C. created,” Daines stated during today’s Committee mark-up of his bill. “Allowing states to fund the National Parks during the shutdown was a solution to a problem. H.R. 3286 will make those states whole. Shouldn’t we all agree not to punish those who seek to solve Washington’s problems?”
Passage of the Protecting States, Opening National Parks Act marks Daines’ second bipartisan bill to move through the House this week. Yesterday, Daines’ bill to expand hydropower production in Montana and other western states was passed by the full House without opposition and now moves to the Senate for consideration.
Daines’ bill has received strong bipartisan support and is co-sponsored by 26 members of the House, including seven Democrat members. Following the introduction of Daines’ bill in the House, Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Mark Udall (D-CO) introduced companion legislation (S. 1572) in the Senate.
H.R. 3286 has also received bipartisan support from governors of states that stepped in to fund National Parks during the partial shutdown. On Monday, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, wrote a letter to House and Senate leadership, urging for passage of Daines’ bill.
“As this reopening not only helped the state and the communities that surrounded the Park, it also benefited the Service as well as the visitors from around the country who were treated to the fall splendor at one of the crown jewels of the Service’s system,” Hickenlooper wrote. “For this reason, we support legislation pending in Congress that would repay the states for the full costs of keeping this—and other Service units—open during the shutdown.”
Last month at a Natural Resources Committee hearing on Daines’ bill, Matt Sease, Treasurer of the Montana Lodging and Hospitality Association and manager of the Super 8 Bozeman, testified at Daines’ invitation and commended Daines’ legislation.
“For those of us who call Big Sky country home, we consider the mountains, rivers, and public lands a cherished part of our heritage. We take very seriously our inherent duty to balance, for both residents and our millions of annual visitors, the responsible use of the land as well as unfettered access to it,” Sease stated in his prepared testimony.
“The recent government shutdown essentially barred the people from their lands. We hope this bill, along with other congressional action, will work to prevent this from ever happening again,” Sease continued. “Federal lands belong to the people. We are encouraged by this committee’s hard work and Rep. Daines’ proposed bill to ensure access to those lands.”
Daines Hydropower Bill Passed By House Without Opposition - 12/3/13
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Steve Daines’ legislation to expand hydropower production in Montana was today passed without opposition by the full U.S. House of Representatives. Daines’ bill now moves to the U.S. Senate for consideration.
“Hydropower is a clean, renewable source of energy, and finding innovative ways to develop this resource is an area where most of us can agree,” Daines stated today while introducing his bill on the House floor.“With my legislation, our irrigation systems can also power our homes and businesses. Additionally, this bill will help provide revenues to improve critical infrastructure for farmers and ranchers who rely on these systems.”
Click here to view video of Daines’ remarks
Click here to download video of Daines’ remarks
“In Montana, balancing energy development with responsible stewardship of our resources is the way we do business in Montana,” Daines continued.“A diverse energy portfolio helps keep electricity prices low for Montana families and creates jobs. Hydropower is an important part of that puzzle. And my bill will help us get there.”
H.R. 1963, the Bureau of Reclamation Conduit Hydropower Development Equity and Jobs Act, removes outdated federal statutes that currently prevent irrigation districts in Montana and other western states from developing hydropower on Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) canals, ditches, and conduits.
There are 11 projects nationwide that would be immediately impacted by Daines’ bill, four of which are in Montana. The Montana projects include the Buffalo Rapids Project, Intake Project, Milk River Project and Missoula Valley Project (a map and full list available here).
Additionally, Daines’ bill, in combination with H.R. 678— the Bureau of Reclamation Small Conduit Hydropower Development and Rural Jobs Act, which this year passed through the House with overwhelming bipartisan support— could lead to development of at least 32 conduit hydropower sites on BOR conduits, many in Montana.
Daines’ bill has received strong support and consensus from Montana irrigation districts and ag groups, as well as the Obama administration, which also expressed its support for Daines’ bill during a May 2013 hearing.
Support for Daines’ Legislation
Mike Carlson, Manger of Buffalo Rapids Buffalo Rapids Irrigation Project: “I thank Congressman Daines for his leadership on this issue. The Congressman’s bill provides an important opportunity for small irrigation producers to provide clean energy to our communities and receive some support for us to continue and improve our services to our farmers.”
Linda Church Ciocci, Executive Director of the National Hydropower Association: “Throughout the West, particularly on the federal system, tremendous untapped renewable hydropower potential is available from existing man?made structures such as irrigation canals and other water conveyances. H.R. 1963 helps to unlock these projects, and in doing so will provide affordable, reliable renewable energy from hydropower to localities across the West. These projects will also be a source of good paying jobs and bring additional economic opportunities to our nation’s rural communities.”
Dan Keppen, Executive Director of the Family Farm Alliance: “If passed, this legislation would complete the policy of promoting the development of clean, renewable hydropower at all Reclamation conduits at no cost to federal taxpayers, while providing additional power supplies to the grid and lowering energy costs for consumers… We support H.R. 1963 and believe it will reduce costs to foster more conduit hydropower at federal facilities and empower local water districts to develop this generation.”
Thomas F. Donnelly, Executive Vice President of the National Water Resources Association: “H.R. 1963 works to comprehensively streamline the hydropower permitting process. H.R. 1963 will create tremendous incentives for not only the Bureau but for the irrigation districts and water user associations that manage many of these facilities to move forward on small hydropower development. We applaud your leadership and strongly support your legislation.”