In light of a December ruling by the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) that will have a damaging affect on Oklahoma industries, Senator Ron Justice (R-Chickasha) and Senator Brian Bingman (R-Sapulpa) call on fellow legislators to join in the fight to protect the state’s economic stability.
The state’s top two industries, agriculture and oil and gas, will suffer the most if the EPA is allowed to push ahead with their ruling that so-called greenhouse gases endanger public health and welfare.
Three states have filed a petition in federal court to review the EPA’s endangerment finding on greenhouse gases. Unfortunately, Oklahoma, a state that could least afford to see its two major industries suffer, has not joined in the fight. Senators Justice and Bingman pledged to fight against any legislation that would jeopardize Oklahoma’s economy and industry sector, which directly affect Oklahoma families.
“Agriculture is a major consumer of fossil fuels, and any attempt to limit energy inputs in our state would cause severe economic hardships for food and fiber producers,” said Justice. “The EPA regulation of greenhouse gas emissions from farms and ranches could lead to costly and burdensome mandates on Oklahoma’s food and renewable fuel producers.”
Senator Bingman added that the EPA's efforts to regulate greenhouse gases will have a detrimental affect on Oklahoma’s crude oil and natural gas industry.
“Any federal action that would negatively impact the energy industry will only worsen the state's current economic woes,” said Bingman. “The EPA proposals will impose additional regulatory barriers, eliminating jobs and reducing the state's oil and natural gas production. We invite our fellow state legislators to come together and stand in defense of Oklahomans and the industries that move our state forward.”
Oklahoma's oil and natural gas industry accounts for roughly 25 percent of the taxes paid in the state through taxes on oil and natural gas production, income taxes, motor vehicle taxes and other fees and taxes imposed on the industry.
The Obama Administration’s economic projections show that the proposed Cap and Trade legislation would result in planting trees on 59 million acres of crop and pasture land thereby damaging the capability of agricultural producers to feed a growing world population and create the conditions for hiking consumer food prices. The legislation would eliminate jobs, and could result in the loss of 2.3 million jobs in the United States over the next 20 years.
According to a U.S. Senate economic study released last fall, the proposed climate legislation would force agriculture producers to pay $550 million more for energy inputs by 2020 and $1.65 billion more by 2050.
Senators Justice and Bingman are both members of the Senate Republican Rural Caucus, where Justice serves as chairman. In addition, Senator Bingman is chairman of the Senate Energy and Environment committee.