AMERICAN ENERGY ACT -- (House of Representatives - July 23, 2008)
Mr. SCALISE. Mr. Speaker, I'd like to address the House and urge my colleagues to allow a vote on the American Energy Act, a bill that was filed today by many of my colleagues, a bill that I think is very important to bringing real solutions to this national energy crisis that our country's facing.
And if you look at what's happening across the country now, you look at the fact that gasoline is over $4 a gallon; you look at the fact that people are starting to make decisions on whether or not they're even going to take a summer vacation; you look at the fact that this isn't only affecting people at the gasoline pump when they pay a price that's too high, a price that we should not have to afford for gasoline; but the fact that when you go to the grocery store now you're paying higher food costs because the trucking, the transportation of all of our food products are driving up the cost of food; the fact that when you go to a shopping center to buy clothes for children that are going to be going back to school, you're paying more money for those clothes; the fact that many small businesses are starting to have to lay off people or even make decisions on whether or not they're going to be able to make it because they can't pass on these cost increases, this is a crisis that's facing our entire country.
And what's really sad about it, Mr. Speaker, is that we have the ability to do something about it right here in our country. We have American solutions to this American crisis, and there is a long-term and a short-term solution to the problems we're dealing with. And that's why the American Energy Act that we filed today does not just deal with one side of the issue. It deals with all of the above. It deals with a very comprehensive approach to solving this problem that's addressing and facing our entire country.
And so what we're trying to do on the long-term solution is address the alternative fuels issue, to try to explore different methods of providing energy that it's going to take for people to do things that they do in their daily lives.
I was honored to go on the American energy tour, just got back Monday, where over the weekend Leader Boehner, as well as about 10 other Members of Congress went first to the National Renewable Energy Lab, and we went and looked at the future of the technologies that are being developed to try to create some alternative sources of energy. And there are some very good alternatives that we are trying to pursue, and in fact, in the American Energy Act that we filed, we support the continued development of these alternative sources of energy because that is our future.
But one of the other things we saw is that those technologies are not on the ground today for consumers to buy. They're not things that are going to help our consumers, the people across this country, improve their way of life and address the problem of this high cost of gasoline that they're paying.
We looked at things like wind, like solar, like hydropower, like electric cars. You drive an electric car right now--and we test drove an electric car. The capacity on an electric car right now, with all the best technology, you can drive 60 miles, and at the end of those 60 miles, you will run out of electricity in the car. It will take you 6 hours to recharge that battery. Now, I sure hope that we continue to pursue this technology so that someday people can drive 300 miles on that electric car and maybe can recharge it in 15 minutes. But we're just not there today, and we're not going to be there for a few more years according to the experts. So we need to also address, in a comprehensive strategy, the short-term problem.
The short-term problem that's truly leading us to the $4 a gallon price that we're dealing with, over $135 a barrel gasoline, is a supply and demand issue. And on the supply and demand issue, you've got a global increase. It's not just American increases in demand; it's a global increase in demand. And yet the supply is flat. And any economist, anybody that's studied Economics 101 can tell you, if you have got demand going this way and supply staying flat, you're going to have an increase in price.
And that's what our country is facing right now, and what we're trying to do with the American Energy Act is say let's deal with the short-term problem as well.
And Mr. Speaker, all we're asking for is a vote, a straight up-or-down vote here on this House floor, on what is the most important issue to our country's economy right now, the issue that's affecting most people in our country.
One of the things we did is we went to Alaska on the American energy tour, and we talked to the people in Alaska. You know, I talked to the Governor of Alaska, and I said what do the people of Alaska think about exploring, opening up some of these moratoriums that Congress has, and exploring our own American energy to make our country more independent of Middle Eastern oil so we don't have to rely and be concerned about what OPEC's going to do. We can solve our own problem with American ingenuity, with American natural resources. And what she told me is about 80 percent of the people in Alaska want to explore for oil right there in Alaska because they understand that this can be done in an environmentally safe way.
And I think that's one of the points that many of the opponents of exploring American sources of energy don't get, the fact that the technologies have advanced so much over the last few decades that in my State in Louisiana, we have extensive drilling. Our State supplies about 30 percent of the Nation's supply of oil and gas, and we're proud to do it because we know we can do this in an environmentally safe way. And in fact, if you want to go fishing in south Louisiana, you go next to an oil rig because that's the best place to go fishing because the fish actually use that as a sanctuary.
We've got the ability to solve our problem here in this country. All we're asking for is a vote here on this House floor, Mr. Speaker.