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Comprehensive American Energy Security and Consumer Protection Act

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC


COMPREHENSIVE AMERICAN ENERGY SECURITY AND CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT -- (House of Representatives - September 16, 2008)

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Mr. MARKEY. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of this bill.

This energy bill is truly a comprehensive energy plan. I commend the great work of the gentleman from West Virginia, Chairman Rahall, and Chairman Dingell and Chairman Miller in crafting this balanced legislation. I also want to commend Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Hoyer for their leadership in pulling together what is truly a bipartisan approach that Members from all regions should be able to support.

The Republican leadership says that they want an ``all of the above'' energy plan. Well, today we get to see if they are serious, or if they have simply been playing politics. This energy bill is a comprehensive energy package that will protect consumers, unleash the renewable energy revolution, increase energy efficiency and conservation and even expand areas for domestic oil production.

While the Republican leadership and the Bush administration have said that they want ``all of the above,'' for the 6 years that they controlled the White House, the House and Senate, they did almost nothing to increase our use of renewable energy and energy efficiency. For 8 years, the two oil men in the White House crafted an energy policy that put the interests of the American Petroleum Institute over the American people, and consumers are now paying the price at the pump for that failed fossil fuel agenda.

One of the first actions the Bush administration took in 2001 after entering the White House was to convene the secret Cheney Energy Task Force to meet with executives from the oil industry and craft an energy policy. Then the Bush administration and the Republican Congress passed an energy bill in 2005 that gave billions of dollars to the oil and gas industries while nickel-and-diming renewables.

And in this Congress, the Republican leadership has followed the marching orders of the Bush administration and voted 13 times to block legislation that Democrats have brought to the floor to increase our use of renewable energy, help protect consumers from high energy prices and ensure that big oil pays its fair share. While the Republican leadership says they want ``all of the above'' they have repeatedly chosen ``none of the above'' and voted against these measures. But here they are today, crying crocodile tears that all these policies that they have spent their entire career opposing have not been implemented.

The Republican leadership says they want ``all of the above,'' but here they are today, once again opposing a truly comprehensive, compromise energy bill that will not only increase our use of renewable energy but will also provide for more drilling. Perhaps that's because it's not ``all of the above'' that the Republican leadership and big oil are really concerned with, it's really only ``all that's below''--all the oil that's below our beaches 3 miles offshore, all the oil the below our national parks, all the oil that's below our most pristine wilderness areas.

The comprehensive energy bill that we are considering today will build on last year's tremendous energy bill accomplishment. This bill will adopt a National Renewable Electricity standard to require that 15 percent of the electricity that we generate in 2020 come from renewable sources and efficiency and will create 100,000 jobs. By further increasing the efficiency of our buildings, this comprehensive energy bill will save consumers $200 billion on energy costs. This comprehensive plan will extend the vital tax incentives for solar, wind and other renewables, and ensure that they are paid for, which will prevent the loss of $19 billion in investment and 116,000 jobs next year in these industries. And this comprehensive plan will protect more than 5 million Americans from an impending home heating crisis and an increase in the heating bill of the average family of nearly $600 this winter by funding the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

And the Republicans say they want more offshore drilling, well this bill does that. I remain skeptical that additional offshore drilling will do anything to lower prices but this compromise bill ensures that there will be proper protections for Georges Bank off the coast of New England, which is one of our Nation's most important fisheries, and that if we are going to open more areas to drilling we first ensure that big oil cannot continue to drill for free on public land and reap billions of dollars in unnecessary tax breaks at a time when they are making record profits. With the renewable energy revolution that we will unleash with this bill it will make any additional drilling unnecessary in 20 years.

The comprehensive energy bill that we are considering today, combined with the energy bill that Democrats passed in December, means that Democrats in the 110th will have passed energy bills that achieve one-third of the reductions in global warming pollution needed by 2030 to save the planet and eliminate nearly twice the oil we currently import from the Persian Gulf.

After 8 years of running on a Bush-Cheney-Big Oil energy plan, America, it is time for an oil change! It's time to change our dependence on foreign oil and OPEC. It's time to change from the dirty fossil fuels of the past to the renewable energies of the future. It's time to change to invest in wind and solar. It's time to change to start building green to save families money. The Republicans like to say ``drill, baby, drill,'' but for our Nation's energy policy the American public is saying it's high time we started saying ``change, baby, change.''

Vote ``aye.'' Vote for change.

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