GAS PRICES AND ENERGY SECURITY
Is current federal lands energy policy helping or hurting Americaâ€™s domestic energy picture?
Opening Remarks:Â Representative Jerry Sonnenberg
Like many western states, Coloradoâ€™s vast inventory of federal lands is home to a wealth of domestic energy resources, in particular oil, gas and coal.Â These resources have the potential to greatly promote Americaâ€™s domestic energy security, and reduce energy costs for American consumers.Â Moreover, the responsible production of these energy resources will generate job growth in Colorado and around the West.
Todayâ€™s panel discussion will sift through the actual data to determine the vast difference between the spin coming from Washington and the facts we are seeing on the ground, here, in Colorado.
Now, more than any time in history, there are real signs that current federal land policy is more â€œbarrierâ€ than â€œpartnershipâ€ to the reasonable access of our energy resources.
Of special concern are a spate of new regulations, rules, and plan revisions in Colorado that, when added up, cast a pall of uncertainty over the responsible development of federal energy resources.Â Moreover, policies that take the form of new barriers only strengthen the already-forceful hand of â€œEnviro-Obstructionistâ€ groups who organize for the purpose of gaining wealth and notoriety by finding new ways to limit oil and gas production on federal land to further their personal agendas.
Under existing federal law, the state of Colorado, as with all western states, has special standing in various decision making processes that govern the management of energy policy on federal lands.
Because of this special standing, and because of Coloradoâ€™s direct interest in a functioning federal lands energy program: it is appropriate and necessary for the Colorado legislature to assert its legitimate oversight functions over relevant decision-making of energy production on federal lands.
Todayâ€™s hearings will facilitate a robust discussion on a range of federal land energy issues that play a role in our stateâ€™s economy, our nationâ€™s energy security and gas price outlook, and to fully explore whether the state of Colorado is fully asserting its rights and interests.
By dedicating these specific hearings to this topic, the Colorado House of Representatives is underlining the importance of these issues for not only the present moment, but for future generations of Coloradoans.Â It is our goal to make this body a powerful voice for rural Colorado.
I would like to start these hearings by reminding our panel and witnesses that Speaker McNulty and I personally invited Interior Secretary Salazar to attend these hearings and explain the Obama Administrationsâ€™ federal land energy policy.Â Even though he was once our delegate to Washington and now oversees federal land energy policy, he declined our invitation.Â His reluctance to appear here today is unfortunate because he is the one person that is in a position to best explain why we see such a clear disconnect between the words we hear from Washington and the reality we see on the ground here in Colorado.Â I welcome Secretary Salazar to respond to any of our findings here today.Â It is time to put aside the sound bites and get serious about a working national energy policy.