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WORLD OIL: Texas congressman receives industry award
Texas congressman receives industry award
SAN ANTONIO -- Congressman Lamar Smith (Republican – Texas, 21st District), chairman of the House Science, Space & Technology Committee, was honored on Monday with the presentation of the “Congressman of the Year Award” by the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers. The award was presented at a South Texas Wildcatters reception hosted by the Alliance
Congressman Lamar Smith (left) accepts the “Congressman of the Year Award” from Texas Alliance of Energy Producers President Alex Mills (right).
“Chairman Smith has been a tireless worker for sound energy policy as chairman of one of the most prestigious committees in the House of Representatives,” said Alliance President Alex Mills. “He has been a champion for the domestic oil and gas industry from top to bottom, but especially for the small independent oil and gas producer.”
Mills noted that earlier in 2015, there was a lot of talk in the House about changes to the tax code. President Obama had proposed elimination of key tax provisions for the small independent producer. Smith quickly went to work and authored a letter with Democrat Henry Cuellar, who also represents part of San Antonio, to retain percentage depletion and expensing of intangible drilling costs (IDCs) in the tax code.
“Chairman Smith’s quick reaction to the plan to repeal the tax provisions was key in the ability of independents, who drill 96% of the wells in Texas, to continue operation, especially when the industry is in contraction,” Mills said.
Smith also has been very active in authoring legislation that would require federal regulatory agencies to show the science that they are using as they propose new restrictions on industry. “He has called in officials from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to testify before the Science, Space & Technology Committee to address the science they are using,” Mills said.
Indeed, Smith noted that House Speaker John Boehner (Republican – Ohio) had extended congressional subpoena power to several committee chairmen in the current congressional session, which had made it easier for him to bring EPA administrators before the Science Committee. “I’m getting pretty good at throwing those subpoenas around, when I have to,” quipped Smith.
The congressman told the reception crowd that he would like to see the House rules changed, to mandate a three-day examination period for any piece of legislation brought to the floor of that chamber. “Far too often, we’re in a big hurry to pass a bill, and we don’t really know what’s in it,” explained Smith. “I’d like us to be able to have a reasonable amount of time to look at a bill, so that we really know what we’re voting for or against.”
The congressman also addressed the ongoing situation pertaining to the selection of a new speaker to replace Boehner, who has declared that he will step down. “Right now, the consensus is that we’d like to see Paul Ryan (Republican – Wisconsin) take it,” noted Smith. “But if he declines, then the Texas delegation, since it has the greatest number of Republicans in the House, is in a position to have influence on the selection process. Right now, I know of four potential candidates among our delegation, who might get into the race, if Ryan doesn’t take it.”