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OIPA members offer testimony

August 26, 2009
U.S. Reps. Mary Fallin and Jason Altmire held a led a field hearing on the nation's energy policy and its impact on small business Tuesday, and the OIPA was well represented.

Board members Bob Sullivan and David House and President Mike Terry all offered testimony at the hearing led by Altmire, the Democratic chairman of House Small Business Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight.

From the Tulsa World:

The two House members, joined part of the time by U.S. Rep. John Sullivan, R-Okla., heard nearly 100 minutes of testimony from experts in the alternative energy, oil and gas, manufacturing and housing sectors. The witnesses raised fears about possible federal regulation of hydraulic fracturing in natural gas wells and hopes of incentives to promote energy efficiencies.

"Any government policy that would cause increases in energy costs during a severe recession, like we are in now, is simply bad policy," Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association President Mike Terry testified.

He and others, such as David House of Jireh Resources LLC, a startup energy company, argued that the federal government should mandate the use of compressed natural gas for all of its fleet vehicles.

"We have 2,000 TCF (trillion cubic feet)" in reserves, House said. "That's the only number out there bigger than the federal deficit."

Natural gas is plentiful, but Oklahoma has only about 40 CNG filling stations, House said. He also told Fallin that converting a regular internal combustion engine to CNG costs between $2,500 and $4,000.

"And we just gave away $4,500 for Cash for Clunkers," Fallin replied. "We could have been converting cars to natural gas."

Other speakers worried that government interference could cost jobs in the energy industry. Oilman Bob Sullivan, a former state secretary of energy, warned that eliminating the write-off of certain drilling costs and the proposed federal wresting oversight of hydraulic fracturing from the states could scare off investors who help offset the risks of exploration.

"In my 35 years in the business, 22 were sideways or down, while 13 were good," Bob Sullivan said. "The good years have to pay for the bad."

Several speakers weighed in against proposed cap-and-trade legislation, which would put a price on green house gas emissions. Bigger companies would benefit from a complex trading system while smaller firms likely would be overwhelmed, they said. 
 
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