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Public Statements

Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2012

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. INSLEE. Mr. Chairman, it is true that no bill is perfect, but this bill is truly atrocious. I have come here as cochair of the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition to talk about how this bill represents a wholesale failure to really recognize our stewardship responsibilities of the greatness of this country. And it is a great country. I fly across it every Monday and Friday, and the words of the song that God's grace was shed on thee in this country are really true. But this bill shows nothing but disdain for the precious assets of clean air, clean water, and good open ground that we have in this country.

I'm sad to say that when you look out across America today you will see Republicans and Democrats out recreating--they understand what a beautiful playground we have in our national lands and clean water--but right now all this bill is is a playground for the special interests. And it's sad to say that a party that we have worked with historically has now turned its back on its stewardship responsibility. Teddy Roosevelt, who started this effort, would be rolling over in his grave to see this wholesale abandonment of this stewardship responsibility of this great country.

Republicans and Democrats alike want more clean air; this bill gives them less. They want more clean water; this bill gives them less. They want more open good ground; this bill gives them less. And the reason is is that it's based on a huge, mistaken belief that dirty air is good for our economy, that dirty water is good for our economy, and that despoiled land is good for our economy. These are falsehoods.

You want to talk about job creation, I'd like to talk about some jobs we would like to create and keep that are damaged by this bill. Right now in Puget Sound out in Washington State, we have historically grown some of the best oysters in the world in Hood Canal and other places. And now, because of water pollution, the oyster industry that employs thousands of people in my State is endangered by water pollution.

Now, one would think, when we're trying to protect jobs in every industry, including the oyster industry, we might be interested in preventing pollution that destroys a whole industry. But no, that's not what this bill does. This bill weakens our ability to protect against dirty water and storm water pollution that is endangering jobs in my State and other places in this Nation. Now, if you go to talk to people in this industry, they'll say their jobs are important. But according to this bill, they are not. What's important are the special interests and the ability to degrade our environmental protection.

Take a look at the alternative fuels industry that is now growing across this country and its ability to create millions of new jobs. A few weeks ago, I was at a company called Targeted Growth. Targeted Growth had an idea a few years ago of creating biofuels that we could fly airplanes with. Five years ago, people thought this was a pipe dream. But because of their intellectual prowess, just a few weeks ago, using Targeted Growth biofuels, we flew the first transoceanic flight using biofuels from camelina that can be grown in my State and refined in my State, the first time in American history. That's something to be proud of.

Now, one would think in a bill like this, we would help new job-creating industries like that get started. But no. What this bill does is degrade the clean energy parts of our law that would give inspiration and additional innovation and investment in these clean energy industries.

This bill is an anti-job creation bill because it makes the assumption that dirty air and sick people are good for economic growth, and that is not a recipe for economic growth in this country.

Now I'll just talk about one thing. There has been an 80 percent reduction in our Land and Conservation Water Fund, which is very disturbing, and it should be to Democrats and Republicans alike. This is one thing I hope we can fix in this bill, and it is not something that is so urban or rural. I think about this little city park in Mossy Rock, Washington. A police officer said, Why do I get all of these kids hanging around the bars? Let's get them in something. Let's get them off the streets. Using some of these funds, we now have a city park being built in Mossy Rock, Washington. Is that such a dangerous thing for our economy?

I hope the Bass amendment is successful later on so we can at least fix one thing in this bill. Otherwise, reject this bill.

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