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Public Statements

American Energy Act

Press Release

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Location: Washington, DC


AMERICAN ENERGY ACT -- (House of Representatives - September 09, 2008)

Mr. CARTER. I thank my friend Mr. Latta for yielding to me. Let me say that when the uprising started, I was one of the 10 that began the uprising. I was the fourth person to speak that day. In fact, I got to speak just after the microphones were turned off, just before the lights were turned down. And I'm very proud of the fact that the Republicans stayed in Washington and demanded that the voice be heard of the American people on the issue of energy.

And what we were really saying, we were calling for the Speaker to, Come back, come back, call the House back, let's work together, because we are in an energy crisis. Let's reason this out and come up with solutions that we can all live with that will allow us to prosper in this country. I think that is what this is all about.

So I got to thinking today if you look at the pie chart--and Mr. King from Iowa had a pie chart in here one day that showed what all our sources of energy are. I can't get the numbers exactly right. I can remember that the alternative energy today, that is wind, solar, and biofuels, is about 2 1/4 percent of our energy use in America. Right now. That is things we are looking at in the future and that is part of what the American energy act promotes, is research, development and working on those issues. But today it's about 2 percent.

And then the other sources of energy are gasoline and diesel to power our vehicles; natural gas, which we burn in industry and our homes; coal, which we burn in industry and our homes; oil, which we burn in industry and our homes, and a small portion we still use of hydroelectric power, which was one of the original sources of energy in colonial America.

And so what the proposal seems to be and the debate seems to be between our colleagues on the other side of the aisle, the Democrats who are in charge of this Congress and have the power to make things happen in this Congress, I think that it's that debate we are talking about. It's those fuel sources that we are talking about. And nuclear energy, which make up right now I think it's around 18 percent of our power, but don't hold me to the numbers. But that whole chart makes 100 percent. But I do remember alternatives that today are a little over 2 percent.

The proposal we seem to be hearing is there's some things that now are bad. These are bad resources, even though the rest of the world, when they find natural gas off the coast of Brazil, they celebrate. When they drill a well off of--my wife is from Holland, and back in the sixties when they drilled a well in northern Holland and found this huge source of natural gas, they celebrated.

When people in Venezuela drill wells and find oil and natural gas, they celebrate, and yet we are ashamed of those resources.

Those resources are evil now, so we are basically starting to have a policy being proposed that says that there are some things that are just off limits for power right now because they are bad, and even though we don't have sense enough to know they are bad, we are going to get taught by the government that these are bad. And those things, by the way, most of them have to do with hydrocarbons, but we will start off with the one that doesn't, nuclear energy.

Now, we have heard arguments here tonight and examples were given here tonight of what other nations are doing in the way of nuclear energy. An example was given that the Chinese have on their drawing boards I believe it was 42 nuclear plants they are planning on building. And we are not planning to build, I don't think, any. Maybe there are a couple that are on the drawing board someplace, but we haven't built one in decades. Nuclear energy, our colleagues don't seem to want to open up nuclear energy, so it is sort of off limits.

Now we get off into the really evil stuff. Coal, terrible. You can't use coal. Oil, horrible. Horrible. As Speaker Pelosi said, we have got to wean ourselves off of hydrocarbons. And she said the solution is natural gas. I am sorry, but that is a hydrocarbon too. But still, let's throw natural gas in there.

Now, between coal, oil and natural gas, they probably make up about 75 or 80 percent of the fuel sources for industry and for transportation in America today. If those are off the table, let's just call it a small number, 60 percent, if 60 percent of what we are today using for power is off the table, then we have to replace it with something.

The proposals are solar, wind, biofuels, and new ideas we are going to come up with, like batteries and a lot of stuff, all of which is good and is in the American Energy Act. But today and tomorrow, and in fact for probably about 10 years, these things are not anywhere near the size and capacity to come even close to covering 60 percent of the power in this country.

So we are going to replace these oil, natural gas and coal resources with those power sources overnight, and we don't expect to stop right now on those things and not see prices go through the roof because of a supply shortage?

So what are we going to do for that supply shortage? Well, what we have been doing. We are going to buy from foreign countries, who are happy to have those products and happy to sell those products. But wait a minute. We just saw a comparison of the streets of Dubai. We don't have anything against Dubai. They are good friends of ours. But the change in that country between 1976 and today is like watching a miracle in the development of that country because of their intelligent use of the money that we are buying oil from them with and the rest of the world is.

So as we look down the pike, the corridors of time, if we make all these things off limits, then where are we going to go, except to foreign countries? And what we are talking about as part of our energy crisis is our dependence on foreign countries, whether they are friends or whether they be enemies.

So I think the average American back home in my district, when I talk to them, they all get it. They know that tomorrow, all this year for sure, and probably for at least the next 8 or 10 years, when they get up in the morning to go to work they are going to start a vehicle that is probably going to run on oil, an oil product or a natural gas product, gasoline or diesel. To say that we are going to keep this dependence going is insane in their opinion, and they want to know why we can't go after our own resources.

So why don't we put some things back on the table? Let's put American oil and gas back on the table by going to find it where we know that it is. Let's don't drill where it is not. If you want to lease property that has no oil and gas on it to drill on, you are welcome to lease my place. It is 2 acres right outside of Round Rock, and I guarantee you, you can put a drilling rig on it and it won't produce one drop of oil. But if you like drilling on places where there is no oil, I volunteer mine, and I will take the lease money. But that is ridiculous.

So when we hear proposals, why don't you drill where you have already got leases or where we have already offered leases, and our research tells us there are little or no resources there, why would we place millions and billions of dollars worth of drilling rigs on those sites to lose money? Why would anybody do that? So that doesn't make sense.

So let's go back. Let's start with the hard one, coal. But, you know what? We are learning very quickly how to clean up coal. We are learning how to liquefy coal and find new uses for coal. We are abundantly wealthy with coal. We shouldn't just put that off the table. And I am not from a big coal State, although question have got some coal. But the facts are we can't shove that resource off the table completely.

Oil, we know, as has been explained by Chairman Barton and others, there are at least 10 billion barrels of oil in the Arctic, up in ANWR, in an area which we intentionally set aside. There is abundant oil and gas resources off all the coasts of America.

Chairman Barton pointed out the reason they started looking at Alaska is because some whalers saw some oil seepage. Do you know that a place where there is oil seepage to this day is off the coast of California. In fact, those tar pits, that is just really, really thick crude at the top of the ground. But that is off limits.

Let's start being reasonable, taking care of the environment and drilling for these resources, producing them and putting them on the table. I for one am 100 percent in favor of Boone Pickens' proposal that we put natural gas in certain vehicles. It works. But he tells you 20 percent is the solution.

I think wind is a great idea, and it works. But it has got to be boosted to transport, and so we have to work on that. And still, with all the windmills we have got in production right now, we couldn't power Austin, Texas, for 2 days.

So, in order to meet our power needs, we have to be intelligent about what we are doing. As we reason with our colleagues on the other side of the aisle, let's look at this picture and say reality says today, tomorrow and at least the next 10 to 20 years, we have to deal with what we have got. We can't hope that miraculously 2 percent of the power generated in America will instantly become 60 percent, just because we wish it to be.

I once asked a physicist from Austin, Texas, how big the solar panel would have to be to power Austin, Texas, for a day on the best day, that being a day in the spring when we don't need air conditioning and we don't need heat, and he said the size of the Texas panhandle. The size of the Texas panhandle is bigger than quite a few of the States in this country. So solar has its means, we will find a way for it, but today it is not going to even power Austin, Texas.

So as we look at this comprehensive energy that we have got to look at, if we are trying to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, let's wisely use the resources

we have. Let's protect our environment as we do this. Let's make these burns and new scientific methods. For instance, you can burn things in pure oxygen and have no air emissions. You can capture carbon dioxide and use it to replenish oil fields, to bring more oil to the surface. We can do a lot with science and technology available and all those things on the table to be learned.

The bill that the Republicans are putting forward calls for us to wisely use all available resources, researching and developing the new ideas, offering incentives for more new ideas, offering incentives for conserving energy and all the things we need and want to do to make this country competitive, so that Indianapolis, Indiana, will look like Dubai some day, and not like Dubai in 1976, as was described earlier in a presentation here. Our infrastructure needs resources. We need to start taking care of America.

By the way, these lost jobs that people move overseas, did you ever think the high cost of energy might have something to do with that too?

So let's start thinking about ourselves and let's reason this out together. We have 3 weeks to do it. Time is running out. Our friends are back from their vacations, our Democratic friends are back from their vacations. Let's put our heads together. Let's don't give us an energy policy that comes from one person from San Francisco. Give us a policy that we work out in a bipartisan fashion, and I believe we can do it in the next 3 weeks.

Thank you for allowing me to speak.

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