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Ms. CASTOR of Florida. I thank my colleague for yielding time.
Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong opposition to H.R. 1229.
This Republican proposal is very poor public policy. And as a Member who represents a community that is dependent on the gulf coast's economy, frankly, it is appalling for my Republican friends to press to eliminate safety standards on oil companies who want to continue to drill and come closer and closer to our beautiful beaches. Really, it is beyond the pale. And I have to ask, did my colleagues not learn anything from this disaster?
In our economy on Florida's gulf coast, we depend on clean water and clean beaches, and when you bring up a bill like this, it feels like a direct challenge to our economic recovery. We have not recovered. The hotels and motels on the beach, the seafood industry, all the mom and pop shops who are dependent on the tourism industry, we are still struggling to come back. We want to adopt the recommendations of the oil spill commission that recommends stronger safety standards, something like that which was passed on a bipartisan basis here in the House last year.
Now to add insult to injury, my Republican colleagues recently passed a budget that gives taxpayer subsidies to the Big Oil companies. In the face of a burgeoning debt and deficit and in the face of huge profits by the oil companies, why should the American taxpayers be subsidizing the bottom line of the most profitable corporations in the world? Instead, it is time for a meaningful, comprehensive energy strategy to lower gas prices because it appears that that's what we all are in agreement to do. But to do that, it's not to eliminate safety standards for drilling. That's silly. What we should do is end the giveaways to Big Oil, eliminate the $5 billion in subsidies and loopholes that the oil companies receive each year. Let's prohibit Wall Street speculators from artificially driving up oil prices. Let's develop super-efficient cars and clean alternative energies that will create good jobs in America and then bring down gas prices.
Mr. Chairman, finally, I caution the oil companies and their friends in Congress that the BP Deepwater Horizon blowout was only 1 year ago. Most of the necessary safety standards and recommendations of the bipartisan oil spill commission have not been adopted. No one should be pressing for unbridled drilling without ensuring that another blowout disaster would never happen again. Otherwise, many of us on the gulf coast view the blind-eyed push as a serious threat to our multibillion dollar tourism and fishing industries and our coastal environmental resources.
Florida's long-term economic health is dependent on clean water and clean beaches and clean oceans. Our economy is struggling right now. I am confident that Florida's economy will recover, but Florida's long-term economic outlook will suffer immensely if we have to suffer through another blowout disaster.
Mr. Chairman, we need an honest dialogue on energy solutions based on facts. Americans are clamoring for comprehensive long-term energy solutions so we are less dependent on foreign oil.
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