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American Energy

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Location: Washington, DC


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Mr. ROYCE. Well, perhaps I could engage the gentleman from Iowa in a discussion here of the fact that I don't think many were really paying attention in this country over the last few years, but today, 80 percent of oil reserves are owned by nationalized oil companies of foreign governments. We don't think a lot about this, but if we reflect, we will remember that, in many cases, the property has been seized and that OPEC now controls these assets through cartels overseas. As a matter of fact, it controls about 80 percent.

In my view, I think Congress sort of shrugged off the testimony of our former CIA Director, who warned of the OPEC cartel spearheaded by Saudi Arabia, deliberately lowering production levels in order to drive the price of oil up. Now, as it turns out, the price of oil they managed to drive up to $140 a barrel. In his view, this was a bid to siphon $10 trillion over the next 10 years from our economy here into the coffers of the OPEC members.

So I wanted to just touch briefly on the national security component of this. I think Congress watched as the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board explained that our supplies in oil are so tight in the United States today that a 1 percent increase in supply could lower costs by 10 percent. Just 2 weeks ago, our Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernanke, testified to that point.

So what is the studied indifference as consumers and policymakers lay out the case for more supply?

My concern is that the Democratic leadership has made a commitment to maintain the moratoriums against new drilling, new refineries, new nuclear power, the opportunity to extract oil from shale. Like my colleague from Iowa, I believe that market economics still have consequences and that the American Energy Act, which we have cosponsored which would lift these prohibitions, would increase supply by 33 percent. Now, if a 1 percent increase in supply drives down the price in the estimate of the Federal Reserve Chairman by 10 percent, what would a 33 percent increase in supply do for the price?

You know, a majority of the House of Representatives, I now believe, is feeling enough heat back home that they would vote for increased supply, but the congressional leadership has blocked not only the American Energy Act, but the Democratic leadership has also blocked all other amendments that might lift any of the prohibitions from coming to the House floor.

Well, under this American Energy Act that the gentleman from Iowa and I are supporting, we would open our deep water ocean resources. That would provide another 3 million barrels of oil per day to our domestic supply. Currently, we use 20 million barrels a day. Now, Cuba and Venezuela are already operating in these waters. It would open the Arctic coastal plain. That would provide an additional 1 million barrels of oil a day. Now the Russian oil exploration is already operating in the Arctic today. It would develop our Nation's oil shale resources, providing an additional 2.5 million barrels per day. Canada is developing its oil shale resources.

It would cut the red tape that hinders the construction of new refineries. None have been built in the last 31 years. It would extend the tax credit for alternative energy production, including wind and solar and hydrogen, and it would eliminate barriers to the expansion of nuclear power production. As we know, France gets 80 percent of its energy from nuclear power. My State of California gets 12 1/2 percent.

So, today, the OPEC cartel controls more than three-quarters of the world's global oil reserves, and it severely restricts both supply and access to its oil fields. This is one of the factors that helps cause this dramatic spike in the price of oil, which not only hits consumers at the pump but which, frankly, harms nearly every aspect of our economy, and the moratoriums here maintained by the Democratic leadership, in my view, help drive up energy costs and risk further sinking this economy.

This is the reason I've come to the floor, to make the case to have our colleagues bring this bill before the floor of the House of Representatives.

I don't know of a case where we have gone so long without an appropriations bill before this Congress. Article I, section 9, clause 7 of the Constitution says that, ``No money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law.''

Normally, we have the 13 appropriations bills that come out of our committees that fund every government agency, but this is being held off. And one of the reasons why we are not having these votes on the House floor is because of the concern that we might bring up these amendments. We might attach this Act to one of the appropriations bills.

And we've gone over 200 years on this House floor, and the House has never gone into the August recess without passing a single appropriations bill. In fact, the House has always passed at least one appropriations bill prior to July 9.

And I am concerned that the Democrat leadership is so insistent on blocking any votes to increase energy production that they are rolling over until the end of the year all of the work that this Congress--and we will have one omnibus bill in which we cannot bring up any of these amendments to increase energy production in the United States.

I would ask if my colleague from the State of Iowa shares my concern.

Mr. KING of Iowa. I thank the gentleman from California, and I appreciate you bringing this to the floor and laying it out with the clarity that you have.

Supply and demand, as you're speaking, I'm thinking, let's see, if there was 32 percent more corn on the market--being from Iowa, I think in those terms--that might be, say, 4 1/2 billion bushels more corn on the market, maybe a little more than that. I'm pretty sure if we dump 4 1/2 billion bushels of corn supposedly that we found somewhere on the market, the price would go down.

I was also thinking about Adam Smith when he wrote in his famous book ``Wealth of Nations,'' published in 1776, how it was that the cost of everything that we produce is the sum total of the capital and the labor required to produce whatever the commodity is. And he wrote about how the price of gold plummeted in Europe when the Spanish galleons returned from the New World loaded with gold. But he didn't say because of supply and demand strictly. He said it was because they had figured out how to take the price of labor out of the production of gold. They stole the gold, but the effect was the labor got cheap.

Supply and demand works for gold, it works for corn, and it works for oil. It works for everything including labor. They're all commodities. And some of the things that can affect that, of course, are the value of our dollar. I'd like to see that dollar shored up.

When I look at these bushels--excuse me, I'm thinking like an Iowan--when

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I look at these million barrels, 3 million a day off the gulf as described by the gentleman from California, 1 million a day out of the arctic region up there, 2 1/2 million in oil shale, those are really just for starters. We've always found more oil than we predicted was there, and it will be the case this time.

On the subject matter of what it is that this Imperial Pelosi Congress won't let us vote on, this is the production chart for the United States of America for energy. And we need to, Mr. Speaker, talk about energy from the concept of total Btus of energy. We have to put it in one common measurement. So, rather than gallons or cords of wood, whatever it might be, we put this into Btus and energy.

This is all of the energy sources that we have here that we produce in the United States. And as we go around the edge here, I'll start right in here. Hydroelectric power, nuclear. Coal, 32 1/2 percent of our overall production is coal. Natural gas, 27 1/2 percent of our overall production is natural gas. Then you've got heavy petroleum, like asphalt and those kind of oils. Jet fuel, kerosene, diesel fuel's in red, and gasoline in blue, biomass, and a lot of that's wood. People are burning more wood today because of the cost of energy in pink. Then you get down to these tiny little slivers, biodiesel, nine-one hundredths of 1 percent. Ethanol fuel, .76 of 1 percent; solar, .11 of 1 percent; wind, .44; geothermal, .49. This is it.

Now, I would take you around this chart, and we're going to find that the folks that, I will say, worship at the altar of Mother Earth object to nearly every kind of energy that we produce in the United States. They object to a lot of the biofuels because it is burning wood, and it puts carbon dioxide in the air. The biomass, they've objected to.

Gasoline, we know the objection to that, and we have people in here that would rather have you ride your bicycle and they think that if gas prices go to $4 or $5 or more a gallon, more people will ride their bikes.

Fewer will get in their car. That will save the environment, and they can save Mother Earth. That's what they're thinking. So we can't develop anymore gasoline here in the United States or diesel fuel or jet fuel or heavy oils. That's all in the same kind of hydrocarbon, comes out of the same well, the crude oil well. That's all verboten, according to the Speaker's team from San Francisco.

And you get to natural gas. They have to drill wells to do that, and they've got us blocked offshore. They've got us blocked on non-national park public lands. Sometimes we can drill there, but we can't get access, and we can't lay pipelines, and we know that we can't transport natural gas unless we can conduct it through a pipeline or turn it into liquefied natural gas.

By the way, we had a vote on the floor today on a motion to recommit on a bill that would have opened up a bridge that's blocking tankers that are coming into Massachusetts with liquefied natural gas. They blocked that. They don't even want liquefied natural gas coming in up their little river, even though the Federal taxpayers pay for the bridge that's already replaced the one that's keeping the tankers from going underneath it.

That tells you where they are with natural gas, and that's Massachusetts mentality that teams up with some of that left coast mentality, not all of it by any means.

And the coal, it's almost to the point now--I happen to know of one expansion of a coal-fired generation plant. There may be more. But the people that are putting these plants together say we can't meet the regulations anymore. They're getting tighter and tighter. So coal-fired generating plants are pretty much off the table.

You kind of see, and I'm going around here, off the table all the way around. Nuclear, no, off the table. They're afraid of a Chernobyl, even though our technology doesn't melt down that way. It actually cools, instead of warms. So the greens are afraid of nuclear.

Hydroelectric, boy, now there is a superclean, wonderful, natural resource that renews itself. It rains, water runs down the river, comes through the turbine, spins it, generates electricity. What could be better than that? But a strong contingent of environmental extremists want to put all of our rivers back to where they were before because they don't believe we should even think or attempt to improve upon Mother Nature.

So I've gone all the way around here. Hydroelectric power, that was the piece there. And what's left?

When you add this all up, all of these things are forbidden by one entity or another. Even wind has resistance to it because people think that birds are going to fly into those windmills. And I can tell you, I can see 17 of them from my house. They have hundreds of them in my district. There aren't piles of dead birds underneath there. It's more dangerous to the birds when you drive your car down the road. They can at least see that windmill coming and they tend to avoid it.

So I can only find three sources of energy that maybe, maybe we could expand, and that would be--by the way, ethanol, biodiesel, that's food versus fuel, so there's a resistance there. So we end up with wind, unless Teddy Kennedy can see it; geothermal, as long as you can't see it; and what do they have, solar.

Now, these tiny little pieces here, if you add up of our overall production, that's .49, .44 and .11. Now I haven't done that. That's a little bit over 1 percent of our overall energy production is what they're going to let us expand to produce 100 percent of the energy that we can consume.

And Mr. Speaker, we're producing only 72 percent of the energy that we're consuming. So this energy pie isn't big enough. It's only 72 percent big enough to provide the energy necessary to fuel the United States and keep our economy going.

By the way, just providing enough energy isn't good enough. We can always buy enough energy until we go flat bloke. We have got to have enough energy that's economical for our industry to run, that's economical for people to engage in travel and enjoy life and be able to exercise our freedoms.

Mr. ROYCE. If the gentleman would yield, what would the gentleman think the consequence would be over the next 10 years presuming that these moratoriums are kept in place? We can't do anything, presume for a moment, to address the issue that the Federal Reserve Chairman warned, that the supply of energy is so tight that a 1 percent increase in supply would drop prices by 10 percent. Let's say that things remain as they are, we don't get any additional sources for production because of the moratoriums. What do you think the consequences would be of the transfer of $10 trillion out of this economy over the next 10 years into OPEC, into the members of the OPEC cartel?

Mr. KING of Iowa. Well, I think that we already see the heavy signs of those consequences, that when dictators become rich, they also become belligerent, and they begin to think that--well, actually, they're measuring their power. It's their economic power, and a lot of them run contrary to our values here in Western civilization. So we have more conflicts to face, and we're going to have to do it with less resources, and a Nation whose economy could no longer be thriving will have transferred our wealth overseas.

Mr. ROYCE. If the gentleman will yield, I think it's pretty clear at this point that high gas prices are hurting the pocketbook of families across this country. Family budgets are strained. And the bottom line is we are pushing for short- and long-term solutions to lower gas prices and to address our future energy needs.

We're doing that with the American Energy Act, which is going to provide tax incentives for businesses and families that purchase more fuel-efficient carts. It provides tax incentives to those that improve their energy efficiency. It permanently extends the tax credit for alternative energy production, including wind and solar and hydrogen. Barriers to the expansion of emission-free nuclear power production are eliminated in this piece of legislation. It spurs the development of alternative fuels.

It's a balanced piece of legislation, which gives us more energy, and frankly, with gas prices increasing, it's vital that we utilize our Nation's vast energy supplies, and at the same time, we should continue to develop new, clean technology. And this would significantly reduce our use of foreign oil.

That's what this bill is intended to do, and doing so is an economic necessity. It is vital to our national security. So I encourage our lawmakers, our colleagues to join us in this effort to bring this important piece of legislation to the floor for a vote.

And I appreciate the gentleman from Iowa yielding to me, and I appreciate also his explanation of energy production and energy consumption here in the United States so that people can better understand just how tight the supply is and how great the need is for more energy production, to say nothing of the jobs, by the way, that this would create here in this country if we allowed more production.

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