BEACH PROTECTION ACT OF 2007 -- (House of Representatives - April 10, 2008)
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Mr. HALL of Texas. Madam Chairman, I am of course pleased to support H.R. 2537, the Beach Protection Act of 2007, and appreciate the efforts of Mr. Pallone to advance this legislation.
It is my understanding that this bill will receive overwhelming bipartisan support. It is going to be a totally green board, which I applaud. But it seems to me that the House has other, more critical issues to consider, such as the rising cost of energy which affects the success or failures of the traveling public to even reach the beaches of the world.
Oil and gas prices are at an all-time high with national averages topping $3.25 a gallon. A year ago we feared a time when crude oil could reach $100 a barrel, and now oil has reached $110 a barrel for the first time in history.
Unfortunately, energy analysts are saying that prices at the pump are not likely to decrease any time soon, and could rise as high as $3.75, maybe $4 a gallon this year.
My constituents in the Fourth District of Texas, as well as all Americans, are very concerned about the ever-increasing cost of gasoline and diesel, combined with the escalating prices at the grocery store. It is costing them more to travel to work, and more to provide food for their families. They are looking to Congress for some immediate relief and some long-term solutions.
The Energy Security Act that the majority passed and the President signed into law has some good provisions; but, unfortunately, none that will provide Americans the relief they need from high energy costs. Not one barrel of oil was provided in that entire act. There was no mention in the Energy Act of an increase in domestic production, which is one way to help bring down energy costs.
This year marks the culmination of a research and development product which I have worked on and passed, I think four times as a Democrat and one time as a Republican, and it is the Ultra-deepwater and Unconventional Onshore Hydrocarbon Resources Act that was signed into law as part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005.
Nuclear energy has also seen a surge in recent years as people realize it is a clean and safe source of energy. But as with building a new refinery, the permitting and construction process is extremely expensive, and there are still significant risks to venture capitalists who would otherwise invest.
Congress needs to reduce uncertainty in the regulatory process for permitting and construction of new nuclear plants, as well as oil refineries, by streamlining the process and requiring the Environmental Protection Agency to issue its rulings within a realistic time frame.
America needs relief at the pump now more than ever. Congress needs to jump start efforts to bring down energy costs in the short term and build on comprehensive energy policies that recognize the importance of all energy sources in the long term. Providing Americans with affordable energy is an important issue.
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