Click on here or the image above to watch Ranking Member Capito’s opening remarks during the committee hearing.

WASHINGTON DC – Today, the Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works (EPW) held a audience on the 2023 budget proposed by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with EPA Administrator Michael Regan.

Below the opening statement of Rating Member Shelley Moore Capito (RW.Va.), as prepared for delivery.

“Thank you, Mr. President. And thank you, Mr. Administrator, for being with us today. I look forward to the rest of the audience and the questions.

“As an appropriator, I like to say that the president’s budget is ambitious because Congress still retains the power of the stock market, as we know it. That’s why you are here.

“But, we can learn a lot about an administration’s direction and policies from its budget request.

“As we assess your agency’s goals and record funding requests for the next year, I am deeply concerned about the actions taken by your agency and the entire Biden administration regarding the production and manufacturing of national energy, infrastructure development, energy exports and functioning of commodity and financial markets.

“In particular, it seems we are seeing a whole-of-government focus on destroying domestic energy production.

“An effort that has become increasingly difficult to understand, I believe – especially when we see what is happening in the world – as the political winds blow against policies that would make us and our allies less secure. in energy and would further contribute to near-record inflation, especially for gasoline.

“From the SEC’s announcement that it will require broad climate and emissions disclosures from regulated companies, to the FERC pipeline policy change that was recently reversed due to bipartisan uproar, to the strategy From the EPA’s EGU and oil and gas sector crackdown plans, there seems to be a grand strategy mounted against affordable and reliable energy.

“At the same time the administration strikes a deal with the EU to ship LNG to Europe to help our allies break free from Russia, climate czar Gina McCarthy now says U.S. climate policy is actually a fight against “investments in natural gas and infrastructure”. .’

“It seems like the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing and honestly sometimes I wonder what the real message is and who the real messenger is.

“When you were before this committee over a year ago, I asked for assurances that irresponsible czars like Gina McCarthy and John Kerry in the White House would not be the ones guiding environmental policy.

“Now we’re in the second year of the Biden administration, and I think that’s still an open question.

“Every agency, from the FERC to the Corps to the SEC and beyond, seems to be creating out of thin air and usurping the EPA’s role – and your role – as the agency responsible for environmental matters.

“With the EPA playing a supportive role in the administration’s assault on our energy and economic security, I think we are right to be skeptical of granting funding or authority. additional to the agency until we have a better understanding of who is calling the shots and who in the federal bureaucracy should be responsible for the inevitable fallout from these policies.

“Unfortunately, sometimes I can’t say exactly what the EPA does, because on this committee, despite our jurisdiction, we don’t have control over how EPA decisions are made.

“When we spoke at your confirmation hearing, you repeatedly pledged to be transparent – and sometimes we found you to be, then sometimes not so much – and communicate with Congress about your decision-making process.

“It has now been 343 days, almost a year, since you have committed to send information on the nationally determined contributionor NDC, to this committee, and you didn’t send any information.

“The American people and Congress still don’t know how this administration plans to meet its climate goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 50% to 52% by 2030, and what that might mean for their people. jobs, energy costs and the prices of goods and services in an era of already historic inflation.

“The NDC is not the only place where this administration is kind of hiding the ball.

“In November, nine members of the Senate committee, including myself, sent a letter to the White House to request information on the development and use of “social cost of greenhouse gas” figures.

“These numbers have huge implications for the whole economy.

“We have expressed concerns about the lack of transparency in this process and have requested background information from the interagency working group.

“MP Cathy McMorris Rodgers and I then followed last month by another letter on the same problem.

“We still have not received a response to either of these letters.

“The NDC and social cost of greenhouse gas numbers are just two examples of policies where the administration refuses to be transparent to the American people and Congress.

“Many of my oversight requests relate to the policies of the Office of Air and Radiation, which is overseen by Clean Power Plan architect Joe Goffman, who has been the unconfirmed senior policy officer for that office since last January.

“Just weeks ago, President Biden appointed Goffman to lead this office as Deputy Administrator.

“In the meantime, you have both announced your intention to implement new regulations that will increase the prices of electricity, including coal, oil and natural gas, at a time of record prices.

“The EPA’s mission to protect human health and the environment is too important to be sidelined by elevated political signals and a lack of transparency and accountability, all at the expense of the American people.

“I would like to add after that strong statement that I would like to thank you for your offer to come visit West Virginia and oversee some of our water systems as we implement the IIJA, and I hope we can do that in the future and then maybe talk a bit more about some of these issues that we might not cover in some of the questions.

“So, thank you again for being with us today.”

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