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Public Statements

Solar Technology Roadmap Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, D.C.

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Mr. BROUN of Georgia. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself as much time as I may consume.

Energy independence and innovation are essential to America's national as well as economic security. Current rising energy costs only reinforce this critical need. Last summer's record-breaking prices of fuel exposed the consequences of the failure to have a comprehensive national energy strategy, one that makes America energy independent.

Many believe the debate is oil and gas versus wind, solar, and renewable sources of energy. That assumption is absolutely false. We need all of the sources of fuel that we know about, both current and any possible ones that we can develop in the future.

Today's bill focuses on one of those sources of very much needed energy, solar energy. The technological advances in solar-generated energy are growing every day. Specifically, during committee markup, our friend and colleague, Dr. Ehlers, shared with us an ingenious new technology that may only be a year away from the market, a solar shingle.

These new shingles, which are being developed by the private sector, will be able to produce more than enough energy to power almost any modern home. I hope they get on the market very quickly. These shingles have dual purposes--the protection of the home on the roof and providing a clean energy source to the home. Further, the costs to the consumer would eventually be comparable to regular wood shingles. This is the marketplace at its best.

Despite my strong support of these innovative and cleaner technologies, this Congress must recognize a simple fact: We do not have enough money to do all the programs that we would all like to do.

In order to balance the noble goals of this legislation with the overwhelming pressures placed on the budget, I offer this amendment which would freeze the amount of money authorized in this bill to $250 million a year for 3 years.

In this fiscal year's Energy and Water appropriations bill, $225 million was appropriated for solar energy programs. This is in addition to the $117 million that was appropriated in the so-called stimulus--I call it the ``nonstimulus'' bill--earlier this year.

This is more than Congress can and should be doing for solar and other renewable resources, reduce and streamline regulatory burden in developing and building green technologies, actions which would not expand or increase our debt.

I urge my colleagues to support this commonsense, economically responsible amendment and reduce the burden of adding to the debt which will be passed along to our children and grandchildren.

Mr. Chairman, we have to stop the outrageous spending that this Congress is doing, and my amendment will help to do that.

I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. BROUN of Georgia. Mr. Chairman, if the philosophy is that government has to supply all the money for all the research and development in this country, particularly for energy resources or anything else, then it makes sense to pour more and more money into this kind of development, but we are stealing our grandchildren's future. They are going to live at a lower standard.

Mr. Chairman, we just simply have to stop the spending and control what we are doing. We cannot spend ourselves into economic prosperity. It's going to cost jobs in this country. We are going to go into an economic slump and a downturn if we don't stop spending money here in Congress.

So my amendment will certainly continue to fund solar energy, which we desperately need; but the private sector, Mr. Chairman, can do that also. Government is not the only source of funds. The private sector is already developing things, as I stated in my opening statement for these shingles. We have to stop robbing our grandchildren's future.

And with that, Mr. Chairman, I urge all Members on both sides to support my amendment. It's a commonsense, fiscally responsible amendment.

I yield back the balance of my time.

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