It was supposed to be a hearing about the Environmental Protection Agency’s requested 2013 budget, but Obama’s energy policies still managed to take center stage for a time at a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing Thursday.
During opening statements at the hearing, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R., Okla.) and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D., Calif.) traded jabs over President Obama’s energy production numbers until Boxer, also the committee chairwoman, banged her gavel to put an end to the conversation.
SEN. BARBARA BOXER: So all this talk about how the president is against this is incorrect. He is for an all-of-the-above strategy. He may not want to drill in places where it hurts the fishing economy, the recreation economy, the tourist economy, but he sure is showing by facts—not since yesterday, and not since gas prices went up, but since he came in—that he is going to move forward. So I really do think the facts belie my dear friend’s comments, I really do.
SEN. JIM INHOFE: Since you went over your 30 seconds—
BOXER: No I didn’t—
INHOFE: By a minute and a half—
BOXER: No I didn’t—
INHOFE: Let me just have 30 seconds to respond. That’s exactly—
BOXER: I didn’t, but—I didn’t, but—I’m happy to give you 30 seconds more.
INHOFE: And I was saying that in spite—that’s why, you know, we agree on this. We agree that in spite of all his punitive things that he has tried to do, which I’ve already said in my opening statement, fortunately, a lot of these shale deposits in areas where the Marcellus is up in Pennsylvania and New York places. People think normally it’s all out West, but it’s not. We’ve had tremendous opportunities, and in spite of his policies, we’ve increased our production and we’ll continue to do so. If we could get all of the politicians out of the way, we would be able to be totally independent of the Middle East, not in a matter of years, but in a matter of months.
BOXER: Well, do we—we have 2 percent of the world’s—
INHOFE: That’s not true—
BOXER: Proven, proven supplies. We’re not going to go off on this—
INHOFE: I can’t leave it at that, though.
BOXER: No, no, we’re not going to do this. You raised—
INHOFE: The largest recoverable reserves of any country in the world—
BOXER: [bangs gavel] Sen. Inhofe, my dear friend. [bangs gavel] I just want to say, this is not the Energy Committee, this is the Environment Committee. You used your time to slam our president, and I take offense at it. And I will tell you right now, if he’s so punitive, why are the oil companies making more money than ever before in history? Record profits—they’re singing in the boardroom. We’re going to move off this and we’re going to go to Sen. Lautenberg.
The $8.3 billion request is $105 million below the EPA’s enacted level for fiscal year 2012. The budget proposes $1.2 billion in state grants for enforcing the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act. It also provides $2 billion for Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving funds, which would allow states to finance more than $6 billion in wastewater and drinking water infrastructure projects annually.