DEEP OCEAN ENERGY RESOURCES ACT OF 2006
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Mr. GENE GREEN of Texas. Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of the bill and oppose the amendments.
Mr. Chairman, the price of natural gas is unsustainable for the American manufacturing base and for American families' home heating. We are already in a crisis with natural gas around $7 per thousand cubic feet.
Average long-term contract prices for natural gas have tripled and quadrupled over the last 5 years, and spot market prices are even higher.
Normally it would be heresy for a Texan to complain about high natural gas prices. The fact that I do just that is proof of this crisis.
The American chemical industry has already lost almost 1 million high paying jobs due to high natural gas prices. But the worst is yet to come.
We are on the verge of a tragedy as the production in the open areas of the Gulf of Mexico peaks in the next 10 years, and we have nothing to replace it unless we pass this legislation.
Many of the opponents of oil and gas drilling say drilling will have no impact on prices. With oil, they have a point, because it is a global price, but domestic oil does protect us from shortages and price spikes.
However, natural gas is not easily shipped overseas because it must be frozen to negative 200 degrees, so it is not a global price.
The high prices we pay for home heating and manufacturing are a direct result of the fact that our U.S. natural gas is locked up by federal bans.
Unless we open our offshore areas, the U.S. will experience shortages of natural gas over the coming winters.
Natural gas is the most efficient, cleanest form of home heating available and many areas have no alternatives.
We face the very real possibility that one winter, natural gas on the spot market will not be available at any price--factories will close and Americans will risk death during the winter.
If that happens, Congress will be to blame, because the United States is the only developed nation in the world that forbids safe energy production offshore.
Norway, Britain, Canada, and other highly developed countries with strong environmental protection produce offshore without problems.
Because they produce their gas, their industries have a competitive advantage against ours.
Major chemical companies have told me point blank that they are adding jobs in Europe instead of America, even though they have more labor and environmental regulations, because they have cheaper natural gas.
Those are tragic decisions for us, but natural gas is as much as much as ten times more expensive in the United States than it is overseas.
I support energy alternatives, but ethanol, solar power, and wind power cannot substitute for natural gas in home heating or for making plastic.
Electric home heating is much less efficient and natural gas is needed in manufacturing not just as a fuel, but as a feedstock to produce plastics.
Much of the materials we use in our daily lives are plastics, and those materials used to be made in the U.S.
Unless we allow our industries access to domestic natural gas, more jobs will go to Europe, Russia, China and India in search of natural gas.
I urge a ``yes'' vote on the bill, and a ``no'' vote on all amendments to weaken the legislation.
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