Protecting Investment in Oil Shale the Next Generation of Environmental, Energy, and Resource Security Act

Floor Speech

By:  Ed Markey
Date: Feb. 16, 2012
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. MARKEY. Mr. Chairman, this amendment is very simple. It prohibits the export of the natural gas produced from the leases that are going to be given to oil and gas companies under this bill.

The bottom line is, what the Republicans want to do is open up drilling for natural gas off of the beaches of Florida, off of the beaches of California, off of the beaches of Virginia, off of the beaches of New Jersey and Massachusetts. Then all they say is, Oh, we have to do this; it's for our national security. But right now, over at the Department of Energy, there are eight applications seeking to export 18 percent of our natural gas overseas--to China, to Europe, to Latin America.

Why is that? Well, it's very simple.

The price of natural gas in the United States is six times lower than in Asia. These companies want to make a big profit, not here in America, but by selling our natural gas--drilled for off of our beaches--to other countries. In Europe, it is four times more expensive for natural gas. That's where they want to sell it.

Now, why would we support that?

It's only if there is an oil and gas company agenda because, unlike natural gas, oil has a price which is set on the international marketplace. So, if it's $100 a barrel in China, it's $100 a barrel in the United States. Not so, ladies and gentlemen, with natural gas. Natural gas is our greatest asset. It's what's fueling our economic recovery. Manufacturing new jobs have been the highest in the last 5 years. It's very low-priced natural gas which is fueling this revolution in creating new jobs because the price of energy is so low in America for natural gas.

What is the plan of the oil and gas companies?

It's to send this natural gas around the rest of the world.

What would the impact be?

It would increase prices for the American steel industry; increase prices for the chemical industry; increase prices for the plastics industry; increase prices for the utility industries, which generate electricity for American homes and businesses; and it would ultimately increase prices for consumers in our country.

This amendment, the Markey amendment, is aimed straight at the Strait of Hormuz, and it's saying to them, We've got the natural gas here in America. We're going to drill for it, but we're keeping it here because it's six times lower in price than it is in Asia and in Europe, and that's what we're going to keep here for our American citizens. We're not going to play this game of international markets so that the oil and gas industry can raise the price of natural gas up to the price of oil. They get rich, and ExxonMobil is reporting $137 billion in profits even as we give them, through the Republicans, $40 billion worth of tax breaks.

When do American consumers get a break? When do American manufacturers get a break? When do the plastics, the chemical, the steel industries get a break in low energy prices? Is it all a one-way street for ExxonMobil and these big multinationals?

The Markey amendment says that we drill for natural gas off the beaches of this country. That natural gas stays here in this country. It is not exported.

I reserve the balance of my time.

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