Protecting Oklahoma Energy

Our nation needs to become more self-reliant — especially when it comes to energy. Allowing domestic exploration and production to continue in states like Oklahoma is the key to achieving energy independence. Unfortunately, there are others who have a different worldview and who use flawed science to promote a dangerous no-growth agenda, which has the potential for disastrous consequences domestically and with respect to our national security. While we may have a sufficient supply to meet our domestic energy demand, the oppressive regulations are stifling our ability to utilize our energy supply. As Attorney General, I have been vigilant in protecting the rights of our entrepreneurs to harvest the resources we have in our state, including the use of hydraulic fracturing.

An abundant local supply of energy is important to economic development just as it is to becoming less reliant on foreign supply. By having affordable, abundant and reliable energy we can help make Oklahoma an enviable place for entrepreneurs to launch businesses and create jobs. As Attorney General, I am troubled by these direct and indirect attempts to discourage domestic energy production and am prepared to challenge these attacks when needed.

EPA is readying climate rule for existing power plants as deadline approaches

Yes, Oklahoma is fighting the EPA…again.

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With less than two weeks to go, the Environmental Protection Agency is readying a climate rule for existing power plants that requires a steep reduction in carbon emissions while allowing states and companies broad flexibility in how they limit overall greenhouse-gas discharges.

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Stephen Moore: Using ‘Sue and Settle’ to Thwart Oil and Gas Drillers

        Wall Street Journal

Last week the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and an environmental advocacy group agreed to a legal settlement that will place nine species—including the Panama City crayfish, moccasinshell mussel and boreal toad—on the fast track for placement on the endangered species list. It is only the latest of many such listings.

The Center for Biological Diversity has petitioned Fish and Wildlife to designate some 250 species as endangered since 2008. Many of CBD’s petitions—and lawsuits—are still in the pipeline. About 97% of the species that are designated as endangered never move off the list.

Next March, Fish and Wildlife will make a determination about whether to add the lesser prairie chicken, found in Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Kansas to the list. Harold Hamm, president of Continental Resources, says that the habitat for the prairie chicken overlaps “some of the most promising land for oil and gas leases in the country.”

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An Insider’s Guide to Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s War With the EPA

OCTOBER 3, 2013 | 7:00 AM
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Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt is at war with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which he says is overstepping its authority. He’s sued the federal agency and testified to Congress about its abuses.

The most visible battles have been over coal regulation, but the fight is about power — not power plants.

The EPA in September proposed new rules limiting the amount of carbon that future coal and natural gas-fired power plants can emit into the atmosphere. The rules were the administration’s first major environmental action since President Barack Obama outlined his new climate change policy in a June speech at Georgetown University.

The energy industry will almost certainly challenge the EPA’s rules in court. And if he gets a chance, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt will likely challenge them, too. Oklahoma’s lawyer-in-chief has been at odds with the EPA since he took office in 2011.

“Some believe that we don’t need an EPA, that they don’t have any role at all,” Pruitt tells StateImpact. I’m not one of those folks. I think the EPA can serve — and has served, historically — a very valuable purpose.”

But Oklahoma’s Attorney General says the EPA is no longer serving that purpose — its historical mission to protect human health and preserve the environment. Pruitt says today, the EPA is writing and enforcing rules to pick winners and losers in the energy industry.

Right now, coal is the biggest target in the EPA’s crosshairs. Oklahoma electric utilities depend on coal to fuel their power plants, but Oklahoma is not a major coal producer like Wyoming or West Virginia. But Pruitt says natural gas — a big energy commodity in Oklahoma — is on the federal agency’s hit list, too.

“I think that the progression from coal to natural gas is rather small,” Pruitt says. “I think the attitude with the EPA is that fossil fuels are bad — period. And they’re doing everything they can to use the rule-making process to attack both.”

Attorney General Pruitt has fought the EPA’s crackdown on coal-fired power plants. When the federal agency denied the state’s plan to control coal haze in the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge in favor of a stricter federal plan, Pruitt sued. That case was dismissed in 2012, but Pruitt is still fighting. Right now he’s asking the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider a recent 2-1 decision that favored the EPA’s pollution plan over Oklahoma’s.

“The EPA didn’t like our plan for one reason: It contained fossil fuels. And it didn’t’ get rid of them as quick as it wanted it to occur,” Pruitt says.

In June 2012, Pruitt testified to the United States House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform about the EPA’s heavy-handed overreach. He’s signed his name next to other states battling the federal agency, and lead a multistate lawsuit for government records that might show the EPA circumventing states and colluding with environmental groups to set environmental policy through lawsuits, a tactic known as “sue and settle.”

“This is all about cap and trade. It’s all about curbing emissions,” Pruitt says. “It’s all about greenhouse gasses. And I think that’s going to trump and kind of swallow up all these other areas that we’re dealing with now. These other areas have been battles — that’s going to be a war.”

That war could be fought in the nation’s biggest legal arena, Pruitt says. The questions in Oklahoma’s regional haze case deal with cooperative federalism — how state and federal governments are supposed to work together — and the Oklahoma Attorney General says there’s a chance the U.S. Supreme Court might have to weigh in.

Hydraulic Fracturing: OK’s Economy & National Energy Independence

Oklahoma has been a pioneer in the world of hydraulic fracturing. And, we Oklahomans — are proud of it. Not only does the improved production of natural gas lead to direct and indirect economic benefits for our state, but it is also a key component of securing our nation’s energy independence.

In practice as far back as 1947, hydraulic fracturing has a long history of success. New innovations in the last decade have greatly expanded its use and allowed us to tap into shale and coal seam gas in tremendously effective manners. This has led to greater production and a lower escalation in fuel costs for not just Oklahomans, but all Americans.

It’s true that entrepreneurial investment in this process has created new wealth for Oklahoma and the nation. Since 2003, there has been a steady upward climb in employment, slowing only slightly during 2009 and reaching 198,400 by December 2012 – over a 67% increase. As other industries have sputtered in the aftermath of the 2008 recession, oil and gas has been a remarkably bright spot in the U.S. economy, with employment at the end of 2012 at its highest since 1987. Fully 344,503 workers in Oklahoma – or one in six of those working in our state – are directly or indirectly supported by the oil and natural gas industry.

Oklahoma is taking the lead in maintaining state oversight of this process and in showing the nation there are responsible ways to responsibly develop natural gas while protecting the health of our communities. In 2012, Oklahoma passed hydraulic fracturing rules, proving that states, not the federal government, are more than capable of taking care of our own environs. In addition, our Corporation Commission has applied water quality standards, casing requirements and well site and surface facility rules to this new technology. All said, we have been able to protect our own soil and water without unduly burdening this important part of our economy that affects all industries. As your Attorney General, I will continue to make certain that Oklahoma – not anti-drilling jurisdictions – continue to control our own destiny.

We know that fuel costs are key component in job creation, and through hydraulic fracturing, we have been able to make clean-burning fuel like natural gas more available – and cheaper. In fact, in the last five years, the cost of natural gas has dropped from more than $13 per thousand cubic feet in 2008 to less than $5 in 2013. This is simply a function of supply and demand – with greater access brought about by the deployment of hydraulic fracturing, we have a greater supply; ergo lower prices for us all. Even those not directly in the industry have seen tremendous benefits. We are able to keep more manufacturing onshore than we would with higher fuel costs; America has more money available for research and development and other entrepreneurial endeavors due to the lower fuel costs and the comparative advantage it creates.

Perhaps the greatest benefit of greater fuel recovery through hydraulic fracturing is the opportunity for national energy independence it creates. History is littered with struggles for energy and stories of suffering when a group or nation of people becomes dependent on another. Through the development of American natural gas, we are wisely alleviating our dependence on foreign oil, while also helping other nations reduce their dependency on the Middle East and Venezuela. The Energy Information Administration predicts that by 2020, America will become net exporters of natural gas. By increasing the presence of this fuel on the international market, we will reduce the power and sway held by other fuel exporting countries.

Simply put, by expanding natural gas production, America and Oklahoma are much more capable at controlling their own destinies. It’s an economic issue, and it’s a national security issue – and Oklahoma is proudly leading the way.

States fight back against EPA regulations

Check out this clip from Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s appearance on Fox News.