Rep. Joe Barton, a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, discusses President Obama's State of the Union push on climate science.
Monica Trauzzi: Congressman, the president tonight took aim at folks who don't believe the science of climate change. As someone who has questioned the science of it, how do you react to that?
Rep. Joe Barton: Well, it would be good if they'd actually release the so-called science that they claim to be supportive of. We haven't been able to get the EPA to release any of their base studies or anything like that. I think the climate is changing, but it's always changed. The question is, is it because of man-made emissions, and I'm not so sure that I agree with the president that that's the case. In the earlier part of his speech he took credit for oil and gas production going up, well, those are hydrocarbons. I'm very glad and supportive that the U.S. has increased its oil and gas production. I want us to export our natural gas surpluses, and I also want to remove the ban on crude oil exports so that we can also do that. That does help us, vis-à-vis the Russians, that he talked about, and to a lesser extent, OPEC and Saudi Arabia. But to say that climate change is a huge problem, it's kind of like the Tower of Babel. We give ourselves more credit than probably we're due.
Monica Trauzzi: There was an indirect Keystone XL mention, the president said that there should not continue to be a debate over just one single pipeline, and he'd like to see something broader and bipartisan on infrastructure happen. Do you think that can get done?
Rep. Joe Barton: Well, we passed the Keystone pipeline on a bipartisan basis in the House. It's being debated in the Senate this week and next week. The president should sign that bill. It creates jobs, it fosters good will with our Canadians, and it creates over time more products that we can export overseas. So if he really wants to practice what he preaches, then he should sign the Keystone pipeline bill.
Monica Trauzzi: Less of a focus on natural gas than on previous years. Do you think the President's outlook on natural gas has shifted at all?
Rep. Joe Barton: Well, you know, the president's administration has approved, I think, one or two permits to build LNG export terminals. We probably need to build four or five, maybe six, but he's at least started that process, and hopefully with the next year or two we'll be exporting LNG overseas, which will help our balance of trade. And again, it's a strategic asset, specifically against the Russians who try to use natural gas as a strategic commodity with the Chinese and with Western Europe.
Monica Trauzzi: All right, congressman, thank you for your time.
Rep. Joe Barton: Thank you.
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