Fred Upton vs. President Obama’s Drilling Ban


As crude prices near $90 a barrel, the new chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee is taking aim at the Obama administration’s recent decision to bar new offshore drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico and along the Atlantic Coast.

“We’ve got problems ahead of us that we’ve got to be prepared for,” said Rep. Fred Upton (R., Mich.), noting that Republicans are likely to hold hearings on the drilling ban.

Mr. Upton made his remarks Tuesday while attending a lunch hosted by the American Petroleum Institute, where he sat at the head table with API President Jack Gerard. At the luncheon, API, the main lobby for the oil industry, released its annual report on the “State of American Energy.”

API has been critical of the administration’s decision to block drilling in certain areas. “If we truly want to keep that consumer price low, we need to make sure we have adequate supply,” Mr. Gerard said, adding that legislation might be needed to change the administration’s five-year drilling plan.

The rest here.

And in case you missed it, here’s a must-read Andy McCarthy vs. Fred Upton from yesterday. An excerpt:

There is reason to worry that leadership has instead caught a case of “let the courts do it.” Take Rep. Fred Upton (R., Mich.). Despite considerable conservative grumbling, Mr. Upton has been installed by Speaker-in-waiting John Boehner as the new chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. If the Obama administration’s job-killing war on industry is to be tamed, that committee will have to be smart and aggressive. The chairman-to-be is not exactly off to a flying start. In a Wall Street Journal op-ed last week (co-authored with Tim Phillips of Americans for Prosperity), he proposed that Congress sit on the sidelines for a couple of years, trusting federal judges to handle the taming.

The EPA has condemned carbon dioxide, the air humans exhale, as a pollutant that imperils human health. Under the 40-year-old Clean Air Act — legislation passed in a very different era, under very different assumptions — this endangerment finding is a pretext for government’s administrative juggernaut to impose ruinous curbs on all CO2 emitters, everything from large factories to small homes.

Until about five minutes ago, Representative Upton was a member in good standing of the green crusade. He was an enthusiastic cosponsor of Leviathan’s prohibition of the incandescent light bulb — the result of standards enacted with robust Republican support and signed into law by President Bush. Upton has now recanted, a stance he claims is sincere, not — perish the thought! — one of those cynical Washington conversions that happen when the chair on a powerful committee is up for grabs. He also says he grasps that the best corrective to the EPA’s sweeping power grab would be for Congress “to overturn the EPA’s proposed greenhouse-gas regulations outright.”

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