By Dan Bewley and Terry Hood, The News On 6
TULSA, OK -- A touch of beltway protocol made its way to Tulsa on Tuesday. Congresswoman Mary Fallin hosted a field hearing to see how the nation's energy policies impact small business. Some Oklahoma entrepreneurs say Washington's ideas are contributing to the sagging economy.
Six Oklahoma business leaders sat side by side on Tuesday morning. They testified before a house subcommittee hosted by Congresswoman Mary Fallin and fellow representative, Republican Congressman John Sullivan of Oklahoma and Democratic Congressman Jason Altmire of Pennsylvania.
"I hope to be able to talk to this committee about how difficult it is to be in business today," said Larry Mocha, owner of Air Power Systems.
Mocha is president of Air Power Systems, a company his father started 45 years ago. He says he's watched over the past decade as Washington decision-makers have started to legislate energy related companies out of business.
One case he points to was when the EPA changed emission standards on a product his company made, causing the price to rise and the marketplace to look for cheaper alternatives.
"When they rejected the mandate that came down from Washington, business stopped. Our business has been in decline since then," said Larry Mocha.
Another big issue on the table was the proposed cap and trade legislation, a policy that supporters say would lower pollution by setting a cap on emissions.
But critics, like Congresswoman Mary Fallin, call it a national energy tax. She says, if the legislation is passed, it would cost Oklahoma thousands of jobs and potentially hike utility costs by more than 30%.
She would like to see wind power take a larger role in the country's energy grid and says there are other ways, besides cap and trade, to achieve environmentally friendly legislation.
"But, there are ways of doing that without increasing our dependence on foreign oil and especially without curtailing exploration in the United States," said Congresswoman Mary Fallin.
All of the statements from the congressional field hearing will go on the public record and be a part of the debate when congress reconvenes.