CONFERENCE REPORT ON H.R. 6, ENERGY POLICY ACT OF 2005 -- (House of Representatives - July 28, 2005)
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Mr. WAXMAN. Mr. Speaker, to Americans who are paying record prices for gasoline, do not look for any relief in this legislation. You would think when you pay record high prices for gasoline because of supply and demand that those who are receiving such high prices ought to have enough money to reinvest it to develop more energy.
Well, what are we doing here? We are asking the taxpayers to give more money to the oil, gas, coal, and nuclear industries in order to produce more energy domestically. For those who think that maybe at a time when we are dealing with a supply and demand problem that we also ought to reduce the demand, there is almost nothing in this legislation.
In fact, the other body, that means the Senate, had a provision that would have called on the President to come up with some ideas to reduce the demand for energy and the waste of energy and waste of oil particularly, just the President to come up with some ideas. Well, that was forced out of the bill.
We have nothing to make automobiles more fuel efficient, nothing to reduce the demand. For those who think perhaps we ought to look for alternative renewable fuels, well, the Senate had a provision on that issue. It was not a very strong one. That was struck from the bill.
The Republican Party has always had a tension between those who believe in fiscal responsibility and reducing government spending and those who want to reward their friends. This bill reflects the Republican Party, and many Democrats', support for their goal to reward their friends in big business.
Then the worst part of this bill, at a time when we are fighting in the Middle East, when we are asking our young men and women to risk their lives in part to protect our security from those who have been financed by oil imports into the United States and around the world, we are going to become even more dependent on importing more foreign oil.
This legislation is more than just a lost opportunity; it is a bill that I do not think is worthy of our support.
Now, the bill is not as bad as it could have been, but it is not nearly as good as it should be. The American people deserve much better. They deserve a visionary, bold energy policy that truly makes our country energy independent. And the bill is also a strike at environmental protection.
There was nothing more pathetic than the colloquy a few minutes ago with some of my colleagues from Florida who were worried about the beginning of drilling off the shore of Florida as we in California have worried about that as well. And they asked the chairman of the full committee for assurances that he will continue to work with them if the State does not want to allow the offshore oil drilling off the coast of Florida as we do not want it done in California. And they were assured that, of course, they would continue to be worked with.
Well, those same gentleman offered amendments, and I supported them, to say that we should not start down that road to drilling off the coast. And then they offered an amendment, which I supported, to say, if the State does not want drilling off the Continental Shelf, off that coast, to let the State opt out. That was defeated.
Now what we have in that colloquy is we will have people continue to work with us.
Well, we have taken the step towards letting the oil companies drill off the coast of our Nation. We have taken the step to open up more national lands that we wanted to protect to be developed by the oil companies. In another bill we will open up Alaska lands to further drilling.
We cannot drill ourselves out of our energy problems. We are not going to drill ourselves out of the global climate problems. We have got to get a better energy bill than the one before us. I urge Members to vote against it.
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