REFINERY PERMIT PROCESS SCHEDULE ACT
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Mrs. BLACKBURN. Mr. Speaker, you know the bill on the floor today really should be an easy vote for every single Member of this House. And I think it is important to note that there are those that are a part of the body who keep complaining about high gas prices, but then they are going to turn around and vote against legislation like this repeatedly. As we have brought solutions and action items to the floor, they have chosen to cast a ``no'' vote.
The facts are pretty clear on this. We had 324 refineries in 1981. Today we have 148. We have not built a new refinery in the country since 1976. We have talked about refinery utilization already in this discussion today. It is running confidently over 90 percent and recently as high as 98 percent. That means one more hurricane in a region packed with refineries is a big problem. This is something that we need to recognize; certainly this leadership and this committee does, and we hope other Members do, too. All of these statistics end up meaning higher gas prices for our constituents when they go to the pump.
What will it take for Members across the aisle to do more than just complain? They didn't like the GAS Act last year because of environmental concerns. Now the bill we have on the floor today does not touch those existing environmental rules. All that is spelled out in section 6 of this bill. There are those protections. They are there still. We are not getting cooperation on this issue, and at some point we have to conclude that Members who vote ``no'' over and over repeatedly on energy legislation are simply telling their constituents to get over it and live with higher gas prices.
We have had multiple hearings on the gas prices. We have had multiple hearings on this issue. Our constituents are ready for some action. We have heard from experts in the field that this bill will help. I urge Members to vote in favor of the bill.
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