And Rep. Tim Griffin (R-Ark.) met with employees of a Little Rock pipe-manufacturing company that announced it was laying off 60 workers as a result of Obama’s delay of the Keystone XL pipeline.
“Not only are there the jobs of the pipeline, but there are also the secondary effects of the businesses surrounding the pipeline,” Griffin said.
And tomorrow, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) will join Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) and others on a trip out to a platform in the Gulf of Mexico, where lost jobs and runaway rigs have been the result of a permitting slowdown in the wake of the 2010 BP oil spill.
“Surely you won’t find oil if the federal government won’t let you,” Scalise told PJM.
McCarthy told PJM that he believes Obama booked his Iowa trip as a defensive move in response to the GOP energy blitz, which had been planned for months.
He said the country disagrees with the president’s policies. “If he’s truly for ‘all of the above,’ why did he do Keystone?” McCarthy said.
When asked about Obama backtracking on Keystone — approving a southern leg of the pipeline while vowing to expedite the approval process for the cross-border section — McCarthy said he didn’t believe Obama had repaired the damage from his original denial.
“I don’t think it’s worked for him,” the Majority Whip said. “The price of gas is still 100 percent higher. We need to have a real policy and this patching that he’s trying to do, with political photo shoots, doesn’t work.”
As the production increases cited regularly by Obama are on private lands, McCarthy noted on the tour that production has “fallen behind” on public lands. The Interior Department released a report last week complaining that too much of the public land leased by oil and gas companies was “idle,” but the congressman noted that the “complete opposite” is going on when producers on private lands aren’t so hamstrung by regulations.
“I think he’s doing that from uncertainty and the regulations that his agencies create,” McCarthy said of the report, adding that a substantial amount of land is walled off from development in the first place and the “permitting process takes so long.”
As Obama touted energy independence while pointing at wind turbines in Iowa — “the less oil we buy from other countries – the more jobs we create at home” — Republicans had already spent the day canvassing the country stressing that independence is right below our feet.
And as Denham noted, the GOP-controlled House has already passed bills promoting domestic oil and gas production and sent them to the Senate, where they gather dust in the chamber of Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).
“This is an opportunity for the American public to say enough is enough,” Denham said.