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America's Failed Economic and Energy Policies

Floor Speech

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Location: Washington, DC

AMERICA'S FAILED ECONOMIC AND ENERGY POLICIES

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. GINGREY. Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for yielding time.

I wanted to, first off, say that I am a very proud cosponsor of the legislation introduced by Mr. Hensarling from Texas and by Mr. Conaway also from Texas, H.R. 5656, which he referred to at the outset of this hour.

I want to talk specifically about that particular bill because it's so important, but before I get into the discussion about 5656, I want to make sure that we put it into perspective in regard to the discussion tonight.

We first heard from our colleague from North Carolina, Ms. Foxx, who was talking for 5 minutes about the issue of supply and demand. She was saying that that is a basic economic principle, and I think we all know that. As she pointed out, Mr. Speaker, our Democratic colleagues cannot legislate away the basic principle of supply and demand.

So what we're talking about and will talk about during this hour is, I guess, the opportunity lost if we continue this folly of not going after petroleum products in our own country. We call it and we refer to it, of course, as domestic production. A lot of the focus is on ANWR--that frozen tundra on the North Slope of Alaska, that very small area where we know, as the geologists have already told us, there are something like 10 billion barrels of petroleum. At full production, we would be producing 1.5 million barrels of additional domestic oil every day from that one source.

That is a small amount compared to what is available if we were not handcuffing ourselves off of our coasts--off both our east coast and our west coast--and off the eastern part of the Gulf of Mexico in what is known as OCS, or the Outer Continental Shelf. There are literally trillions of cubic feet of natural gas there which is part of our, the United States', territorial waters on the Outer Continental Shelf for which we could be drilling. There are tens of billions of gallons of petroleum. Yet the Democratic majority, Mr. Speaker, continues to prohibit, continues a moratorium which has existed since, I think, maybe, back to 1990.

Today, what we're talking about, of course, is the price of a gallon of regular gasoline. In the year and a half since the Democrats assumed the majority of not only this House but also the majority of the United States Senate, the price of a gallon of gasoline has gone from $2.60 to $4.08. Mr. Hensarling, of course, pointed that out very well at the beginning of this hour.

I want to ask my colleagues to just take a look at this one poster that I want to show you. I think it's very important. I think it's very instructive. This basically is the courtesy of Representative John Peterson from Pennsylvania, who is retiring this year. He is a great Republican Member of this body who has spoken so well on this issue of giving us the opportunity to go after that natural gas and oil in the Outer Continental Shelf off of our coastline.

On this poster, it shows here that, off the Pacific coast, the amount of oil in the Outer Continental Shelf is 10 billion barrels. The amount of natural gas is estimated to be 18 trillion cubic feet. That's off the Pacific coast. Off of the Atlantic coast, the amount of oil is 2.3 billion barrels, and the amount of gas is 28 trillion cubic feet. The eastern part of the Gulf of Mexico is also off limits: Oil, 3.58 billions of gallons. Natural gas, 12 trillion cubic feet.

Mr. Speaker, that's bad enough, but now lets get to 526. I want to just take a little time before I yield back to my colleagues, who are the real experts on this.

Last year, the Democratic majority passed a bill. They called it the Energy Independence and Security Act

of 2007. It doesn't give us independence, and it darn sure doesn't give us security. What they did in that particular bill is they put in a section, section 526, that the Hensarling-Conaway legislation, H.R. 5656, would repeal that section 526.

Why is that important?

Well, section 526 literally prohibits our Government, any agency of our Federal Government, from contracting for any petroleum product that is not conventional fuel if that product, that nonconventional petroleum source, yields one scintilla--by the way, my colleagues, a ``scintilla'' is a very, very small amount--of an increased carbon dioxide footprint.

Now, ladies and gentlemen of the House, that may have made sense when the price of gasoline was $2.60 a gallon and when we had this expectation and this hope that it would drop down to $1.50, but on June 24, 2008, when the price of gasoline has now gone up 75 percent--not down--and it's $4.08 a gallon, does it make any sense to prohibit our Federal Government from contracting for other sources of petroleum? They are in this country in abundance.

The reason I have this poster is I want to point out to my colleagues--and it doesn't show the exact spot, but in the western States, in the Rocky Mountain States--and there are about five of them--there is this rock product called shale, S-H-A-L-E. It is estimated by the geologists, by the experts, that within that rock is 1.3 trillion barrels of petroleum. Yet our Federal Government is prohibited from mining that shale and from getting this petroleum source because it might, just might, result in a little bit more carbon dioxide.

To put it in perspective, Mr. Speaker, the Federal Government actually uses 380,000 barrels of refined product every day, and most of that is used by the Department of Defense, and 75 percent of their usage is by the Air Force in jet fuel. Just think about that and the cost. Well, I'm going to tell you exactly what it is.

For the year 2008, this year, it's estimated that our Air Force will spend an additional $9 billion on jet fuel at the cost of $135 a barrel of petroleum. Yet all of this oil and natural gas and this petroleum that we could get from shale in the Midwest, in the Rocky Mountain States, sits there, and there it remains trapped in rock because of this senseless section 526 that the Democrats passed last year in their energy bill, in their so-called Energy Independence and Security Act.

It is time, as Mr. Hensarling, as Mr. Conaway and as the many other cosponsors, including myself, have said, to say, look, that doesn't make any sense today. We're all concerned about global warming--of course we are--and about the environment and about clean air, but we're not going to die tomorrow from that. We are about to starve to death, and this country is about to go bankrupt when people can't get to work and when they can't get to the grocery store. When they get to the grocery store, they can't afford to buy food because of this senseless ethanol conversion from corn to ethanol. That's a whole different issue. I'm just here tonight to weigh in with my colleagues. I thank them for giving me the time.

I sit on two committees--on the House Armed Services Committee and on the Science and Technology Committee. This year, of course, we reauthorized the National Defense Act of 2009, and we reauthorized the NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Act. Both of these agencies of the Federal Government utilize a lot of jet fuel. I tried to take the Hensarling-Conaway bill and make it as an amendment to strike that section or at least to grant a waiver from that restriction of 526.

This Democratic leadership refused to even make those bills in order so that the men and women, the commonsense men and women on both sides of the aisle in this Chamber, would have an opportunity to vote up or down in these trying economic times when we're losing jobs and when people can't even afford to go to work.

So I thank the gentleman for letting me join with the Texas delegation, if you will--my three classmates--who know so much about this issue and about the many other issues of supply and demand as Ms. Foxx said earlier. So I look forward to the rest of the hour.

I yield back to the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Hensarling).

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