COMPREHENSIVE AMERICAN ENERGY SECURITY AND CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT -- (House of Representatives - September 16, 2008)
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Mr. GOODLATTE. Mr. Speaker, during the month of August I was pleased to join over 130 of my Republican colleagues in Washington to represent the American people on the floor of this House. It is undeniable that the American people want us to develop our Nation's resources. This is demonstrated in poll after poll and exemplified with the meetings I have with my constituents. I always hear: Congressman, we must do something about energy costs!
When I heard that the Speaker had announced she would be bringing a bill to the floor to allow us to expand energy production, I felt that we had achieved success for the American people. Yes, the Speaker did hear the calls of the American people demanding increased energy production, but she isn't bringing a bill to the floor to expand energy production. Instead, she is bringing to the floor a sham piece of legislation that seeks to only give political cover to vulnerable Democrats who disagree with the will of the American people.
Some have cited how this bill opens up areas of the Outer Continental Shelf, OCS. It may technically remove some of the barriers, but it does not include provisions to provide the traditional revenue sharing between the Federal Government and States for the income generated from these developments. What incentive do coastal States have to then develop their resources? I represent a coastal State, a State that has expressed strong interest in developing the resources on our OCS. I think the Commonwealth of Virginia should benefit from revenue sharing, just as Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama have. It is unfair for Virginia to be treated differently than these other States when sharing our resources.
Sadly, this isn't the only provision that will unfairly harm Virginia. This legislation also contains a one-size-fits-all Renewable Electric Standard. This legislation assumes that all States have the exact same amount of renewable resources and can develop them, and punishes them when they cannot with penalties. The costs of energy due to the Renewable Electric Standard, as estimated by just one of Virginia's many electric utilities, will increase $900 million for its retail customers. My constituents are already paying high prices for energy; we don't need to further increase these costs! The fact is Virginia does not have as many wind and solar resources as other states. In Virginia, we have a voluntary RPS but our RPS contains nuclear and waste-to-energy, two things not allowed if this legislation becomes law.
Proponents of this legislation will tout how green this bill is; however, if my colleagues really want to promote green energy they should encourage the production of more nuclear sites which provide CO
2 emission-free energy. The rest of the world is far outpacing the U.S. in its commitment to clean nuclear energy. We generate only 20 percent of our energy from this clean energy, when other countries can generate about 80 percent of their electricity needs through nuclear. It is a travesty that this legislation does not once mention or encourage the construction of clean and reliable nuclear plants. Nuclear energy is the most reliable and advanced of any renewable energy technology, and if we are serious about encouraging CO
2-free energy use, we must support nuclear energy.
Furthermore, this legislation does not even address some of our most promising domestic alternative and renewable energy supplies. There is not one thing in this bill that addresses clean coal technologies. Coal is one of our Nation's most abundant resources, yet the development of coal-to-liquid technologies is completely ignored by this bill.
What's even more troubling is the energy resources this bill continues to keep out of the hands of American consumers. The Democrats' legislation prohibits environmentally responsible exploration of American oil shale resources unless states ``opt-in'' to such a system and the bill does not allow local communities to share in the revenues generated from oil shale exploration. The Department of Energy estimates that 2 trillion barrels of oil shale exists within the United States, resources that the Majority does not seem to want to develop.
Furthermore, this legislation does not permit responsible exploration of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, known as ANWR, in Alaska. According to estimates by the U.S. Geological Survey, ANWR holds between 5.7 and 16 billion barrels of recoverable reserves, potentially producing nearly a million barrels of oil a day. Exploration and development in ANWR would open only 2,000 of the 19 million acres of the refuge, or the equivalent of an area one-fifth the size of Dulles Airport in an area the size of South Carolina.
This legislation does nothing to address the energy concerns of our country. This legislation only makes the situation worse and it is the product of a flawed process that does not have bipartisan support! If we really want to make our country energy independent, this Congress must pass an energy bill that allows and encourages the development of our Nation's resources. Americans are tired of Congress playing politics when they are in desperate need of relief from high energy costs. It is time for Congress to get serious and allow Americans increased access to their energy resources.
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