WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Members of the all-Republican Kansas congressional delegation urged oil and gas producers on Monday to help elect a GOP president and Senate majority to roll back environmental regulations, cut government spending and reform the tax code.
Ed Cross, president of the Kansas Independent Oil and Gas Association, asked state delegation members what they could do to rein in federal regulatory agencies during a panel discussion on energy policy at a conference in Wichita.
U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo responded that there are 10 federal agencies now looking at the drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.
"They are doing studies and evaluations, we know what that means," Pompeo said, prompting laughter from the gathering.
The congressman said the House has done its best to try to roll back what EPA is doing, but has been largely unsuccessful.
"So the next task is to try to figure out how to defund them," Pompeo said. "The next task is how to figure out how to roll back and limit the use of the funds that EPA can use the money for. ... We have had marginal success."
He noted tougher energy regulations are expected to take effect in 2013, saying the best answer for stopping them is the next election.
That election theme permeated the energy panel, which also included U.S. Sens. Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran. Three of Kansas' four U.S. House members also attended.
Congressman Kevin Yoder was absent. He spent Monday apologizing to constituents in his northeastern Kansas district for his nude swim in the Sea of Galilee during a trip to Israel last year.
When an audience member asked why more had not been done to cut back EPA expenditures, U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins replied, saying one chamber of Congress cannot act unilaterally.
Roberts said they don't have a GOP majority in the Senate to get it done.
"And so I am going to toss it right back to you," Roberts told the man in the audience. "What are you doing to help us elect a Republican Senate to make a difference?"