ENERGY IN AMERICA -- (House of Representatives - June 03, 2008)
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Mr. LATTA. Well, I appreciate the gentleman from Texas yielding.
I stand here tonight, coming back from Memorial Day break, and people back home, I think, know more about what is going on in this country than we do.
Every place I went--we had meetings across our district--the folks all asked the same thing: When are you going to be doing something about energy in this country? Because we can't afford these prices at the gas pumps. They all said the same thing, what some of them have been saying down here. We have got to start developing our own energy sources in this country. We have got to start acting now.
Why is it important to be acting now?
You know, years back, we had the ability in this country to be able to make some mistakes and to correct them in 5 or 10 years, but we don't have that luxury anymore. That luxury now is gone. What is going on now is that the rest of the world is catching up to us.
I just want to start with this chart, if I may. That is the harsh reality of what we have here. The United States consumes about 21 percent of the world's energy right now with 300 million of the people. When you look at this chart and in looking at 2010, you see that India and China will almost be at a parity with the United States in 2010. In 2015, energy usage in China and in India will exceed that of the United States. By 2020, China alone will be exceeding the energy usage of the United States. When you look at this graph, the United States' usage is very, very slowly going up, but if you look at the energy usage of China, it is skyrocketing straight up.
What does that mean?
People back home understand this, too. ``Energy'' means jobs. ``Jobs'' mean people can make sure that they can have those different benefits that the honorable gentleman from Texas was talking about. You know, if you look at this as energy prices keep going up, what happens? Fuel prices go up. Food prices are going up because you've got to get the food to market. Then you have got to have heating. Then the question is what are those people going to do about going out and about buying those necessary goods and services for their families and also to help keep this economy moving. It's tough, and people back home understand it much better than we do. Congress has got to act, and they want it done now.
The other thing is, as for acting right now, if we stood in the well of this House and they stood over in the Senate and we said that the United States has an energy policy right now for developing its own sources within this country alone, you'd see the world speculation go down on what it costs on the oil markets. We're not doing that and they know it, so they can keep raising that price on us. America can't be tied to Middle Eastern oil for any longer because it is costing us way too much money. We have to be able to control our own destiny in this country.
What are we going to do about this?
Well, to give you an idea of what's happening back home, I come from the ninth largest manufacturing district out of 435, so we depend on energy. In Ohio, 80 percent of the goods and services that are delivered in Ohio are delivered by truck. When you're looking at things being delivered by truck, of course they're using fuel. Their fuel costs are going up, so whatever they are delivering is costing Ohioans more and more dollars, and the same can be said across this great Nation.
The same can be said when you talk about farms. There are farmers out in northwestern Ohio right now. They have been planting corn. They are out there, putting in soybeans. It's the same thing. Diesel prices are up. Fertilizer prices are up. Chemical prices are up. Why? Because they're all petroleum-based. So those costs are, unfortunately, going to have to be passed along to the people back home and across the country.
Before we broke for Memorial Day, at one of our town hall meetings that we had, at the teletown hall, one of the questions that we posed was an informal poll. We said, ``What should we be doing? Should the United States be out, drilling in this country?'' Overwhelmingly, 6 to 1 said that the United States must be drilling at this time so we can meet our own energy needs.
If we don't meet those energy needs, what is going to be happening, especially with those jobs back home?
At one of the float glass facilities in my district, their costs in the last 5 years have gone up from $10 million in energy costs to $30 million in energy costs. Why is this significant? There are only 37 float glass facilities left in the United States while there are, right now, 40 being built in China. So, if they can put cheaper people on these production lines with the price of the fuel, the countries around the world are going to do one thing. They are going to be buying those goods not from the United States but from China, and we are going to watch more and more of our facilities closing because of the costs of high energy in this country, and we can't afford that.
What do we have to do?
Well, I think there are several things we have to do in this country. One, I think we have to go out and develop our nuclear energy that we have at our disposal.
What is the rest of the world doing?
You know, a lot of people always have jokes about the French every so often. I come from the ancestry of the French. 70 to 80 percent of all energy in France is derived from nuclear energy. They are actually exporting energy into Europe from France. Russia currently has 31 reactors in operation. It
is projected that 37 to 42 nuclear reactors that are currently or will be under construction are all scheduled to be in operation by 2020. Japan has 55 nuclear reactors in operation, and two or more are in construction right now.
What is China doing on the nuclear side?
Well, right now, in the next 25 to 30 years, it is pretty much, in looking at China, that they will be building at least 40 new nuclear power stations across that country. Right now, China has 21 nuclear reactors under construction or about to be under construction. They are moving ahead.
What is India doing?
India is the second leading country right now in the development of nuclear energy. India is building small nuclear reactor plants, and in the next 25 years, they will probably have 30 in operation. They are moving ahead.
What is the United States doing?
Well, the last nuclear power plant that was licensed in the United States was the Wolf Creek Nuclear Power Plant in 1977. The last plant to go on line was in Tennessee in 1996. The last new licensed nuclear reactor to go on line was in 1996. We are way behind. Not only are we behind in getting these plants on line, but we are also behind in that there is only one place on Earth where a lot of these parts can be manufactured to get these plants on line, and that is in Japan. So, if the United States isn't out either building its own machinery that we have to have to run these nuclear power plants, we are in trouble because the rest of the world is already in line to get these plants built. So we have got to get moving, and we have got to get moving quickly. That's what the people back home know and what we talk and talk and talk about in Congress.
Coal. The United States has about 24 percent of the world's coal. What are we doing with it? Well, on the majority's side, they don't want to do anything with coal. In Ohio, I can tell you a lot about coal. We, unfortunately, have what you call high-sulfur coal. So, in a lot of places, it is very, very expensive to have to go out and burn that coal because you have to put a lot of scrubbers on.
Now, we have an individual in my district who has developed clean coal technology where you can burn this
coal in a closed environment and produce methane. But, again, are we doing that in this country? No, we are not doing it. You know, when you talk to people out there in the scientific world as to how much coal we actually have in this country, some people say we might have 250 to 350 years of coal, and we're not doing anything with it. We have got to do something.
The Chinese today are going to invest around $24 billion in clean coal technology while the United States sits. We have got to be doing something.
Hydroelectric. You know, we all know that the Chinese are building their hydroelectric dam right now to produce more power. We're not doing it either. We're not doing anything.
Drilling. That's where the American people really get it. They really got it when gasoline prices hit $3.50 a gallon, especially in my district. I think that was the breaking point for people in northwest Ohio. They say, ``Why aren't we doing something in this country?'' You know, we see these gas prices rising. I know, when I got home over the Memorial Day break, I should have filled up my gas in the car before I left that week because it was around $3.83 when I left Bowling Green. I got home that following Friday. It was $4.99 a gallon.
People say, ``What are we doing in Congress?'' Again, nothing. As the gentleman from Texas alluded to in talking about ANWR, you're talking about only drilling at around 2,000 acres, which is only one-half of 1 percent of an area. Nothing is being done. You know, it's estimated there are 9 to 16 billion barrels of recoverable oil there, and we're not doing anything.
We're not doing anything offshore. You know, the Chinese, as were alluded to a little earlier, and the other countries around the world are drilling offshore. They're drilling offshore in the United States, but we're not doing anything. It's time to act.
Where I come from in northwest Ohio there was at one time one of the largest oil fields in the United States in the 1800s. They say there's probably as much oil out there today as there was then, but it's too costly to get it up. We ought to have credits out there for individuals and companies to go out there and get that oil and bring it up. We need to be doing that. We've got to get these prices down because, again, our jobs and our livelihoods and our country depend on action today.
You know, if we got that oil here, the other problem we'd have is that we haven't been building refineries in this country. It's been about two-and-a-half decades since a refinery has been built in this country. It's time we got going. We've got to get this thing done now because we don't have time in the future to do it. If you look, as the energy usage is going up across the world, the United States is getting farther and farther behind everyone else. When they have energy and we don't, that's when we're going to be in big trouble.
Now, I was a history major in college, and in reading our American history, of course of our great Industrial Age, we had all the natural resources. We had the coal that produced the power to make sure that we could make the product, which we were able to export around the world. Well, look at this chart, and you're going to see who is going to be able to do that in the future. We have got to be able to meet our needs, and we have got to meet them today. Time is running out.
You know, the other scary thing about this is we send more and more of our energy overseas. One of the things we have to think about is who is owning our debt. Right now, $2.43 trillion is owned by foreign countries. The Chinese own about $487 billion of our debt, and we can't have that.
I really appreciate the time the gentleman has allotted to me, and I yield back. Thank you.
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