Sullivan touts natural gas bill at Tulsa event
BY RANDY KREHBIEL World Staff Writer
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
6/29/11 at 4:31 AM
U.S. Rep. John Sullivan, R-Okla., touted his NAT GAS Act to the Tulsa Metro Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday, telling a crowd of about 400 in the Convention Center Ballroom that his plan to boost natural gas-powered vehicles would create thousands of jobs and lessen American dependence on foreign oil.
"We have essentially turned our economic security over to the OPEC nations," Sullivan said.
"It just doesn't make sense to stay on foreign oil and not support American-made gas."
Sullivan's bill sets up a five-year program to promote compressed natural gas-fueled cars, trucks and buses. CNG is cheaper than gasoline, but conversion costs and the scarcity of refueling stations have been major obstacles to widespread use.
Sullivan hopes to overcome that with tax incentives and changes in environmental laws.
"This is the only energy bill today that can pass the House, the Senate and be signed into law by the president of the United States," Sullivan said.
Sullivan also talked about the looming debt limit crisis, slammed President Barack Obama on Afghanistan and Libya, expressed a lack of enthusiasm for the current crop of Republican presidential candidates and said cuts to Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security and defense must be part of deficit-reduction discussions.
"Raising the debt ceiling is going to be a tough one," he said in response to a question. "Unless it is accompanied ... by significant budgetary reforms, I will not (vote for) it. Unless it has those reforms, I don't think it'll pass anyway. It won't pass the House, I can assure you, and it'll have a hard time in the Senate."
That said, Sullivan also said not raising the debt ceiling would have serious consequences, too.
"That wouldn't be good," he said. "We would lose the full faith and credit of the United States. It would move us to a different ... a more precarious situation than we're already in.
"But, if we do it without the budgetary reform measures ... that puts us in a bad spot, too."
Sullivan said Obama was wrong to announce a draw-down of forces in Afghanistan and wrong to involve the United States in Libya's civil war.
"We need to finish the job," he said of Afghanistan. "We did not do that."
Sullivan said Obama "stepped in it" by deploying U.S. missiles and aircraft against Libyan forces, saying, "I don't see a national security threat there or a threat to our national interests."
Randy Krehbiel 918-581-8365
U.S. Rep. John Sullivan, R-Okla., talks at the Tulsa Metro Chamber luncheon Tuesday. STEPHEN PINGRY/ Tulsa World