Rep. Gene Green Testifies Before Budget Committee
March 5, 2010
Washington, D.C. –Rep. Gene Green (TX-29) spoke out in strong support of the oil and gas industry and of the Constellation program before the members of the House Committee on the Budget on Wednesday, March 3, 2010. The Fiscal Year 2011 Budget resolution proposes tax increases for America’s natural gas and oil industry, and cuts NASA’s Constellation Program.
“Our area is greatly dependent on the stability and survival of the oil and gas industry,” Rep. Green said. “Our economic viability is connected to making sure we do what we can to support our global role in energy production, especially as we move to decrease our reliance on foreign sources of energy while being more conscious of our impact on the environment.”
Rep. Gene Green also testified to the impact that the proposed cut to the Constellation Program might have on the Houston-area. The Constellation Program is responsible for America’s leading role in human space exploration. If cut the Johnson Space Center in Houston, which has management over Constellation, could lose thousands of direct high-tech jobs and thousands more jobs indirectly connected to the program.
“In the current state of our economy, our area cannot afford to have Constellation cut,” Rep Green continued. “We cannot ignore the importance of the program and the advancements it has given to the field of human space exploration.”
Rep. Green’s Statement to the Committee on the Budget:
“Chairman Spratt, Ranking Member Ryan and Members of the Committee:
I am pleased to be here today to provide my views on the Fiscal Year 2011 Budget Resolution.
This committee is faced with many difficult choices as it crafts this year’s congressional budget.
Democrats and Republicans must work together to produce a budget that simultaneously helps meet our economic, health care, energy, and social challenges.
Unfortunately, the President’s budget again includes several tax increases aimed at America’s natural gas and oil industry.
Without increasing supply from our vast North American natural gas resources, or if we make it more expensive or difficult to produce natural gas domestically, it will actually hinder our ability to meet any potential climate change goals while also increasing natural gas prices for American consumers and business.
Any climate change policy will inevitably rely on clean natural gas – which emits half the carbon dioxide emissions of coal – as a short-term “bridge” fuel while our economy transforms to lower-carbon energy sources.
Natural gas is also required to make energy-efficient products, make wind turbine blades and solar panels, provide back-up power for intermittent renewable energy sources, and to run biomass facilities.
Most importantly, now is not the time to weaken economic opportunities in our domestic energy industry with punitive tax hikes.
America’s independent producers are responsible for 90% of the wells drilled in America, and they produce 82% of American natural gas and 68% of American oil.
The average independent producer company has 12 employees – the definition of a true small business. Increasing costs on the energy industry and on U.S. companies operating abroad will jeopardize these small business jobs, export production overseas, and increase our reliance on foreign sources of energy.
Additionally, Mr. Chairman, I have concerns about the Administration’s proposal to cancel NASA’s Constellation Program, which includes the Orion Crew Capsule, the Altair Lunar Lander, and the Ares I and Ares V rockets.
These programs, which together comprise our human spaceflight program, were authorized in both 2005 and 2008 by Republican and Democratic Congresses respectively.
It is under the Constellation program, that NASA is currently developing new launch vehicles and spacecraft capable of travel to the moon, Mars and other destinations.
Not only does cancelling the Constellation Program jeopardize America’s leadership role in human space exploration, but it will have detrimental effects on our economy.
Take, for example, the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. The Johnson Space Center has the lead to manage the Constellation Program and several of its major elements, including the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle and the Altair Lunar Lander.
Without Constellation, the Johnson Space Center could lose anywhere from 4,000 to 7,000 high]tech jobs.
If the JSC loses 4,000 direct jobs, an additional 2,315 indirect jobs would be lost, totaling 6,315; loss of income and expenditures locally would be over $567 million.
If the JSC loses 7,000 direct jobs, an additional 4,052 indirect jobs would be lost, totaling 11,052; loss of income and expenditures locally would total almost $1 billion.
Additionally, the aerospace industry would lose as many as 20,000 – 30,000 jobs nationally in either of these scenarios.
Given our current economic downturn, we cannot take the possibility of these job losses lightly and the Johnson Space Center is just one example of what the cancellation of this program would do to other NASA centers nationally.
Finally, it will take years for the commercial spaceflight industry to get up to speed to reach the level of competence that exists at NASA today.
Our government has already invested literally years and billions of dollars into this program. We should build upon these investments and not abandon them.
Our country can support the commercial spaceflight industry, but not at the expense of our human spaceflight program, which for years has inspired future generations and driven technology that enhances our quality of life.
That is why it is my hope, Mr. Chairman, this Committee and this Congress will continue to support NASA’s Constellation Program and to support balanced energy policies that promote economic growth and will help us meet our clean energy goals.