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Natural Resources Committee
Press Release
U.S. Rep. Don Young, Ranking Member

March 20, 2007

Ranking Member Pearce's Statement From Today's Hearing On Energy Policy And Climate Change On Public Lands

            Washington, D.C. - The following is U.S. Rep. Stevan Pearce's (R-NM) statement from today's oversight hearing entitled "Towards a Clean Energy Future: Energy Policy and Climate Change on Public Lands". 

            Pearce is the Ranking Member on the U.S. House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, which conducted the hearing.

Ranking Member Pearce's Statement

"Mr. Chairman, I want to thank you for holding this hearing today.  I look forward to hearing from our witnesses.

"Climate change is a very timely and controversial issue.  It has garnered much attention from the House, Hollywood and the press.  And with Speaker Pelosi's new 'Select Committee on Climate Change' and her call to her Committee Chairmen to 'change climate change' by a summer deadline, I am sure it will garner even more attention.

"I am going to respectfully ask that we not fall victim to Hollywood hyperbole, and instead approach this issue seriously and deliberately. We should not submit ourselves to artificial deadlines or leadership pressure to produce legislation. Man is part of the environment, not an intruder. Our responsibility is to enhance the lives of the American people and our way of life depends upon us taking this issue very seriously.

"Carbon dioxide or 'CO2' is portrayed as a gun by Hollywood, politicians, and some scientists. It is not a gun.  Nor is it a poisonous fruit. I am not a Hollywood actor, but I know that when we take a breath, CO2 is what we exhale.  It's not a bullet or a poison.  It's a sign of life.  Plants need CO2 to live; they breathe it in just as we breathe it out.

"I look forward to this hearing and our two panels of witnesses as an opportunity to begin understanding what we know and more importantly what we don't know about CO2 and climate change, especially as it relates to our national energy policy and managing federal lands and waters. 

"I worry that the political momentum being given to climate change will lead to rash and even dangerous results. Indeed, this Committee was originally scheduled to hold a hearing tomorrow regarding oil and gas royalty collections.  Instead of addressing a very serious issue clearly within the jurisdiction of the Committee, that hearing was rescheduled to next week because there were concerns that others would steal our press thunder.  I wonder if this is how policy priorities will be set in the future.

"I am not a scientist, but I read that there are different views in the science world whether climate change is caused by human activity. Some Members in this Congress have given much deference to an executive summary of the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which states that climate change is 'very likely due' to human causes.  I want to caution this Subcommittee's Members, that the IPCC executive summary is not the full report.  The full report is not scheduled to be released until after a mark-up scheduled by Chairman Rahall to move climate change legislation out of this Committee.  If there were ever an example of a cart ahead of the horse, this may well be one.

"The bottom line is that until the scientific community is clear, Congress cannot justify policies that:

         Would double and triple our constituents' power bills that are already high,

         Would double and triple the cost of their commute to work which is already expensive,

         Or send their jobs to China

And that's exactly what proposed legislative policies to date will do.

"I want to thank the witnesses today for taking the time to testify.  I want to especially thank two witnesses on the second panel.  Mr. Bob Murray is CEO of Murray Energy, the largest independent coal producer in the country.  The United States is the Saudi Arabia of coal.  Over 50 percent of our electricity comes from coal and we have to continue to be able to use coal as a source of electricity.  However, coal will bear the brunt of any climate change legislation. We can make coal cleaner, but not without more technology development. Mr. Murray I look forward to hearing from you what climate change energy policies will mean for coal development and costs and what it will mean for jobs in this country.

"I also look forward to hearing from Dr. Tim Ball, the only actual climate scientist testifying today. I understand that his research raises questions on whether humans have caused climate change, as opposed to the sun for example. Dr. Ball's research shows that the science is not as clear as Hollywood would have us believe.  It concerns me that he his work has sparked severe backlash for the questions he has raised.  I had hoped that we are out of the dark days of 'weathercooking' history.   

"In addition, I hope we can do our part and give our witnesses, both Federal and private, enough advance notice to meet their internal needs and our deadlines.  We short-change both ourselves and our witnesses if we do not allow adequate time.  The goal we all share is to have an informative dialog so that we can report out the best legislation possible.

"In the future, for those witnesses that will be traveling long distances to share their important views on important issues with us, it would be helpful to give them at least two weeks notice so that they can save money on their plane tickets.  Being a Westerner like myself, you know the difficulty of booking flights all the way across the country.  While that issue worked itself out for this hearing, it could cause problems in the future.

"Again, welcome to you all and thank you again Chairman Costa."

For more information, access the Committee on Natural Resources' Minority website at:

http://republicans.resourcescommittee.house.gov/index.shtml

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Steve Hansen
Director of Communications
Republican Staff
U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources
1329 Longworth HOB
Washington
, D.C. 20515
(202) 225-7749

 
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