House Conservatives Push Back on President’s Energy-Production Claims

National Journal
Clare Foran
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Clare Foran
Jan. 29, 2014, 1:21 a.m.

House con­ser­vat­ives cri­ti­cized Obama on Tues­day for what they said was an at­tempt to un­justly claim cred­it for the surge in do­mest­ic fossil fuels pro­duc­tion in the pres­id­ent’s State of the Uni­on ad­dress.

“While the pres­id­ent fre­quently at­tempts to take cred­it for the cur­rent in­crease in do­mest­ic en­ergy pro­duc­tion, this is hap­pen­ing in spite of his policies, not be­cause of them,” House Nat­ur­al Re­sources Com­mit­tee Chair­man Rep. Doc Hast­ings of Wash­ing­ton said in a state­ment. “Des­pite Pres­id­ent Obama’s re­peated claims of mak­ing job cre­ation and eco­nom­ic growth a pri­or­ity, the real­ity is that he has act­ively chosen to ig­nore the eco­nom­ic po­ten­tial and job op­por­tun­it­ies that come with ex­pand­ing Amer­ic­an en­ergy pro­duc­tion and re­spons­ibly man­aging our na­tion’s nat­ur­al re­sources.”

Re­pub­lic­an Rep. Rob Bish­op of Utah, sim­il­arly con­ten­ded that while the ad­min­is­tra­tion paints it­self as a cham­pi­on of the nat­ur­al-gas and oil boom, most pro­duc­tion is ac­tu­ally tak­ing place on private, not pub­lic, lands. Bish­op also cri­ti­cized the pres­id­ent’s com­ment dur­ing the speech that he would use ex­ec­ut­ive au­thor­ity to set aside more land for con­ser­va­tion.

“The pres­id­ent did get something right in that en­ergy pro­duc­tion is up, but it has little or noth­ing to do with him or his ad­min­is­tra­tion. The pro­duc­tion oc­cur­ring can be at­trib­uted to in­genu­ity and ded­ic­a­tion on be­half of hard­work­ing Amer­ic­ans and policies set in­to place be­fore this ad­min­is­tra­tion,” Bish­op said in a state­ment. “En­ergy pro­duc­tion is in fact soar­ing on land that the pres­id­ent doesn’t con­trol, but if you want to see where he really stands on en­ergy pro­duc­tion, look at his policies for pub­lic land use. To­night, in­stead of un­leash­ing the vast en­ergy po­ten­tial found throughout the 660 mil­lion acres of fed­er­al land, he in­stead said he in­tends … to lock up fed­er­al lands by ex­ec­ut­ive fi­at.”

Re­ac­tion to the speech fol­lowed party lines with Demo­crat­ic Rep. Peter De­Fazio of Ore­gon, the rank­ing mem­ber of the House Nat­ur­al Re­sources Com­mit­tee laud­ing the pres­id­ent for his pledge to act on con­ser­va­tion.

“Last week, over 100 Demo­crats joined to­geth­er to ask the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion to use its au­thor­ity to pro­tect and con­serve na­tion­al treas­ures,” De­Fazio said in a state­ment. “I was very pleased to hear the pres­id­ent say he is will­ing to make crit­ic­al con­ser­va­tion de­cisions that this deeply par­tis­an Con­gress will not.”

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