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Consolidated Land, Energy, and Aquatic Resources Act Of 2010

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. SCALISE. Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the gentleman from Washington for yielding.

I rise in opposition to the CLEAR Act, and the only thing clear about this legislation is that it's going to raise $22 billion in new taxes on American families and run more jobs overseas.

If you look at the bill, first of all, when you talk about their $22 billion tax, which, by the way, is yet one more violation of President Obama's pledge that he won't tax American families that make below $250,000, because they are going to pay the bulk of their new tax. It also discriminates by only applying it to American energy producers.

As people's heating bills are going to be going up in the winter, and their gas bills are going to be going up all throughout the year, they are going to be wondering, what is this liberal leadership running Congress doing? They are raising taxes on American families and running off more jobs when the provisions in this bill actually make it harder for our domestic energy producers to continue operating because the bill preserves Big Oil's ability to bid on future leases. But it eliminates 70 percent of their competition, the small domestic guys who are out there doing the same kind of drilling in a safe and environmentally friendly way. It's bad for jobs. It raises $22 billion in new taxes. This isn't the answer to help the gulf. It only helps OPEC.

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Mr. SCALISE. I appreciate the gentleman from Washington for yielding time.

Mr. Chairman, I share in many of the comments that were expressed by my colleague from Louisiana, Mr. Melancon.

In fact, when you talk to people on the ground in Louisiana, most will tell you that this moratorium that was arbitrarily issued by the President has actually got the potential to do more long-term damage to our State than the oil spill, itself. Unfortunately, we are already seeing the consequences in terms of lost jobs.

If you look at what would happen, not if this would go 6 months--as Secretary Salazar wants to go--but if this just goes another few weeks, we will lose up to 40,000 high-paying jobs that will go overseas. If anybody is wondering whether or not that is just talk, you can look at what is already happening.

Just 2 days ago, Baker Hughes, a big oilfield service company, sent 300 jobs overseas. It laid off 300 Louisiana workers. These are jobs that have gone overseas because of this moratorium. It is already having a devastating impact. That is why it is so important that we pass an amendment that actually ends this current moratorium.

If you look at the language in the amendment, there are a number of components that I do agree with, and I think the intent was there to actually address those problems; but if you go to page 2, there are a few sections that got added in. In fact, I am a cosponsor with my colleague from Louisiana on an amendment that would actually end the moratorium in its current form. Unfortunately, there was some language added in that allows the Secretary to have statutory authority that he does not have today that actually extends his ability to issue more moratoriums even if this current one is stopped.

So what the industry is dealing with today is this kind of uncertainty. That is why you are already seeing rigs leave. In fact, three rigs have already left. One is going to Egypt. These are all going to foreign countries. So we have got to get this right.

In fact, later today we're going to have a motion to recommit that will actually encompass those things that are necessary to be done to end the moratorium without the damaging language that's in this bill that gives the Secretary even more authority, in fact, even if a company complies with all of the safety requirements, as they should, and they should comply with all the safety recommendations. But even if they do, under this language, the Secretary is given power to decide whether or not to issue that permit. That shouldn't be arbitrary once a company meets all the safety recommendations. BP didn't meet them all. But if a company does, the Secretary can't continue to keep this job-killing moratorium going on. So we have to fix that language. And, in fact, our motion to recommit does that.

If you look, our Louisiana Oil and Gas Association, which is not a representative of the Big Oil companies--in fact, it's a lot of the mom and pop of the independent oil and gas companies throughout Louisiana. They have
strong concerns. In fact, they say, We have concerns that this may codify--they're talking about this extra language and power that's given to the Secretary to deny permits--they say, We have concerns that this may codify the Secretary's authority to suspend offshore drilling permitting and drilling operations.

It is our position that the Secretary does not have the right to do so; and, in fact, a Federal judge has agreed with that by trying to stop this moratorium. Unfortunately, the administration ignored that. And they further go on to say, It is our position that applicants who apply for a permit and meet the proper safety requirements should be issued the permit. The Secretary shouldn't be able to decide arbitrarily if he wants to continue to shut down domestic oil production in this country, as we're seeing today. And we're seeing the consequences of it.

As I said earlier this week, we already lost 300 jobs. And this wasn't the first time; and, unfortunately, it won't be the last. Many companies you talk to are already having conversations about moving jobs overseas, if they haven't already. And as I mentioned, three of the rigs have already decided they have got to leave the country because of this moratorium. That is why it is so important that we get it right. We can't just pass something that sounds good but ultimately ends up giving the Secretary more authority to keep the moratorium going and run more jobs out of our country. So hopefully we will pass the motion to recommit later but not give the Secretary more authority. This does.

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