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Problems with House Offshore Drilling Bill

Location: Washington, DC

PROBLEMS WITH HOUSE OFFSHORE DRILLING BILL -- (House of Representatives - July 18, 2006)

Mr. GEORGE MILLER of California. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent to speak out of order.

The SPEAKER pro tempore. Without objection, the gentleman from California is recognized for 5 minutes.

There was no objection.

Mr. GEORGE MILLER of California. Mr. Speaker, Members of the House, the offshore oil drilling legislation that passed the House last month has a lot of problems. One of its biggest failings is that the bill overrides and ignores the long-standing, bipartisan objection to new drilling off the California coast.

The people of California have repeatedly made it clear that they oppose this wrong-headed approach. In fact, opposition to this legislation is unanimous in California that even in the middle of a highly charged race for Governor, the Democrats and Republicans are on the same page on this one issue. State Treasurer Phil Angelides, a Democrat, opposes the House bill, pointing out that it would remove the critical protections for California's coastline and also financially punish States that decide to protect their environment and coastal economies by continuing to oppose offshore oil drilling.

The Republican Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, sent another letter to the Senate this week restating his opposition in no uncertain terms. In his newest letter, which I am submitting for the RECORD, he writes: ``Our coast is not for sale, and no amount of promises of money or other incentives will alter my position on that.''

Well, I am disappointed that so many Members of the House voted against California's interests last month. Our State's Senators have strong records of spelling for the people of California, so I am not concerned about them. But I do want to make sure that the Senators from around the country realize that any legislation that opens the California coast to drilling will be a non-starter in our State and should be rejected.

As the Governor wrote: ``Anything short of upholding the current moratorium in perpetuity would be unacceptable to Californians.'' Governor Schwarzenegger also wrote something very interesting: ``California has the most aggressive energy efficiency measures in the Nation. Because of our efforts, California's per capita energy use has remained nearly flat, while the nationwide energy use has increased by nearly 50 percent.''

What the Governor is telling the people of this Nation is that had you made the same choices that we made starting back in 1974 with the first fuel crisis, you would have been able to save a huge amount of energy in this country. While California has continued to grow, our per capita use has remained flat, and that is 50 percent better than the rest of the Nation. That means that not only do California consumers save a great deal of energy and they reduce the pollution to the atmosphere; they also save a great deal of money.

As the other body considers the legislation that was passed out of this House this last week, I hope they will remember that energy conservation and innovative alternative approaches will guarantee us far more energy independence in the future than the shortsighted House bill that will require the ruining of the coastlines of this great Nation.

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