Wichita Eagle — Moran: Attack on fossil fuels threatens economy

September 30, 2016

Sen. Jerry Moran told a group of Kansas energy executives Friday that regulations on fossil fuels, especially coal, are threatening to kill the American dream and Congress needs to get its act together and start replacing regulation with legislation.

Moran said the economic impact from fossil-fuel regulation goes far beyond the fate of miners and producers and threatens manufacturers — including Wichita’s aircraft industry — that depend on cheap power to remain competitive with cheap labor overseas.

Moran and fellow Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., held an energy roundtable meeting Friday with about 20 executives and association leaders representing oil and gas producers and the state’s public utilities.

At the meeting, Trent Sebits, chairman of the board of Pickrell Drilling Co., said he doesn’t think regulations coming out of Washington — such as restrictions on oil operations during prairie chicken mating season — are really designed to meet their stated purpose, but instead to inconvenience fossil fuel production.

He called it part of a “quasi-religious” quest to eventually take carbon-based fuels out of the U.S. energy equation.

Moran agreed the regulations are aimed at fossil fuels, saying that one thing people need to understand is that although wind power has become an important part of Kansas energy, it’s an additional source that’s “not replacing coal and not replacing nuclear.”

It’s also more expensive, while cheap power is a huge inducement to manufacturers to stay in the United States instead of moving operations overseas, he said.

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