Lummis: CLEAR Act costs American jobs, raises taxes
by U.S. Representative Cynthia Lummis media release
July 30, 2010
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) released the following statement regarding today’s passage of H.R. 3534, the CLEAR Act:
"The oil leak in the Gulf is a terrible disaster and we must ensure a tragedy like this never happens again. BP must be held completely accountable for the massive damage it has done to the people of the Gulf, its environment and its economy.
"There is no doubt that changes are needed to ensure the development and implementation of the best offshore oil and gas operations and practices are identified and put into place. Operators must be held accountable for their actions. Nearly everyone can agree these changes are necessary.
"Unfortunately, Washington Democrats’ thinking is as clear as mud. Congressional Democrats’ CLEAR Act uses the tragedy in the Gulf as a misguided opportunity to impose job-killing energy policies on Americans. President Obama’s six month moratorium on offshore drilling is estimated to cost more than 8,000 jobs in the Gulf and cause major damage to the Gulf economy. It’s crucial to remember that offshore drilling accounts for 30% of our nation’s energy. As if a six month moratorium wasn’t enough, H.R. 3534 will significantly increase America’s dependence on foreign countries for energy by continuing to delay and block offshore drilling in American waters. This is the last thing the people of the Gulf and the American people need.
"Democrats are using H.R. 3534 as an opportunity to add more red tape and bureaucracy on energy development on public lands in the West. We need an all-of-the above energy approach, but instead, energy producers in Wyoming will be forced to pay higher taxes and suffer under duplicative regulations under this bill.
"H.R. 3534 kills jobs in the U.S., raises taxes on U.S. energy development, raises costs for American families and will significantly increase America’s dependence on foreign countries to fuel our nation. Americans are calling for the opposite. It’s unfortunate Washington Democrats continue to ignore Americans and push their out-of-touch agenda through Congress."
The CLEAR Act:
- Imposes job-killing changes and higher taxes for onshore natural gas and oil production. It fundamentally changes leasing onshore by the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management, which affects not just leasing for natural gas and oil, but also for coal and renewable energy including wind and solar. Over the objections of the Director of the BLM who currently overseas onshore energy development on federal lands, the CLEAR act strips the BLM of this authority and transfers it to the newly created bureaus formerly known as the Mineral Management Service.
- Raises taxes by over $22 billion in ten years – with the taxes eventually climbing to nearly $3 billion per year. This is a direct tax on natural gas and oil that will raise energy prices for American families and businesses, hurt domestic jobs, and increase our dependence on foreign oil. This tax only applies to U.S. oil and gas production on federal leases – giving an advantage to foreign oil and hurting American energy jobs.
- Requires the federal takeover of state authority to permit in state waters, which reverses sixty years of precedent. The mismanagement, corruption and oversight failures of the federal government are being used as justification to expand federal control by seizing management from the states.
- Allows 10% of all offshore revenues – an amount possibly as high as $500 million per year – to be spent on a new fund controlled by the Interior Secretary to issue ocean research grants (ORCA fund). There is no requirement that the fund is used for the Gulf region or anything related to oil spills or offshore drilling. These funds can be earmarked.
- Establishes "marine spatial planning" regulatory authority – which allows for ocean zoning that could lead to restrictions on fishing, energy production and even onshore activities such as farming. This vague new regulatory authority could cost fishing jobs, energy jobs, manufacturing jobs, farming jobs, and many more jobs that may impact waterways that drain into the ocean.
• The bill includes unlimited spill liability for offshore operators, which could effectively eliminate independent producers from operating offshore if they cannot obtain insurance policies to cover their operations. According to an independent study from IHS Global Insight, "by 2020 an exclusion of the independents from the Gulf of Mexico would eliminate 300,000 jobs and result in a loss of $147 billion in federal, state, and local taxes from the Gulf region over 10 years."
• Democrat leaders deleted an amendment adopted without objection by Rep. Lummis that would require the Department of Interior to track and report on lawsuits brought against the Department by environmental organizations, as well as the attorney’s fees paid to those organizations.
• Democrat leaders also deleted a provision adopted without objection in the House Natural Resources Committee just two weeks ago to establish a bipartisan, independent commission to investigate the oil spill – a provision that has also passed a Senate Committee in a bipartisan vote.