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Madam Chair, I rise today in strong opposition to the rule and the underlying bill. Look, we have preserved millions of acres in Alaska. We want to preserve the shores of New Jersey. Now if you don't understand that, there are even more major problems.
Since last night, my friends on the other side have voted down no fewer than four amendments dealing with the safety of drilling. You could be for drilling. But I think it's common sense that we preserve and not take the chances that large companies are taking, and we saw what happened in the South. The Gulf of Mexico is still recovering from billions of dollars in economic and environmental damages caused by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
It's almost unbelievable. When you watch it, one blamed the other, and
those folks still don't have relief. It's almost unbelievable; in the wake of such a tragedy, this bill is before us today. There are 60 million acres of public land already under lease to drill, and I wouldn't give 1 more acre up until those companies drill on the land that they already have. You blame everything on the President. You're going to blame the plague on the President. That dog doesn't hunt anymore. Forget about it.
If we can't come together on issues like this, the one that the American people are disgusted with when they do pay their gasoline bill--you want to expand offshore drilling to vast new areas of our oceans, including the Atlantic coast, without taking any of the commonsense steps that the President's bipartisan oil spill commission recommended.
An oil spill on the Atlantic coast, which the Federal Government would be required to lease under this bill, would devastate the economy.
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Tourism at the Jersey Shore supports jobs for over 500,000 people, generates over $50 billion in economic activity every year. These people depend on the responsible stewardship of our waters and coasts for their livelihoods.
Let's set the record straight. This legislation does nothing to address the current spike in gas prices. What we need to do is:
Stop wildly fluctuating oil prices. And that's up to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which is writing the regulations as we speak right now.
Cap America's oil reserves. For a short period of time, we can afford to do that.
Crack down on gas gouging, which is happening and the U.S. Attorney General is correct in investigating this.
And, finally, evolve to a clean energy economy. It's not just that we need to depend less on foreign oil, we need to depend less on domestic oil. We know it's going to take time. We need to be reasonable about this and be safe about it as well.