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Mr. YOUNG of Alaska. Mr. Speaker, it's been said this is a simple bill. In a way it is simple, but it solves a great problem.
As mentioned by the chairman and the ranking member, this bill probably wouldn't necessarily be passed if it wasn't because of the conflict we had between the State when we passed statehood, the Native Land Claims Act and, of course, the BLM. There is no one that objects to this bill. It solves a very important problem for the local people and the subsistence-style living. It also takes care of the recreational areas that they can be utilizing. And it's the right bill to do for the State of Alaska and Alaska natives.
Mr. Speaker, I'd like to speak on another subject for a short moment which I believe relates to this. For the people listening to this great display of legislative action on the House floor, we'd like to remind them, you know, Little Red Riding Hood, do not go to sleep.
Just because the prices of gas have been dropping at the pumps, do not be lured into the idea that everything's going to be okay, because I've watched this now in my 40 years here go up and down, up and down; and every time we start to do something, start moving forward for self-dependency on our fossil fuels, those that are providing us the fuel from overseas at cost of great bloodshed and a flood of dollars, they take and drop their prices. When doing so, we start getting lulled back to sleep, and we don't do anything. And then they'll jack the prices up again, and the whole economy will not recover.
So I'm asking the public to understand one thing: do not go to sleep. Just because you go up to the pump station now and put that nozzle in and say, oh, my, gas is only $3.60 when it was $4.15, headed to $5. Watch it very closely, ladies and gentlemen. Watch this, everybody on the floor of this House, because you are going to sleep.
Oh, everything's fine and dandy. We do not have to worry about this anymore. Our good friends in the Middle East will take care of us. Yes, the good friend in Venezuela, Hugo Chavez.
Think about this a moment, ladies and gentlemen. We're just where we were back in 1972 when we passed the Trans Alaska pipeline. We had an embargo. People were lined up to buy the gasoline; lined up and actually shooting at one another because it was, at that time, 36 cents a gallon. And we built the Trans Alaska pipeline, and we lowered that price very rapidly.
As it went down, and the economy came back and people weren't shooting at anyone anymore, they were doing, in fact, one thing that we need to do today. That is the reality that we must start producing our own fossil fuels. Yes, fossil fuels, not wind power, not solar power. Yes, they're good. But fossil fuels that move objects.
Everybody listening to this show today, keep in mind every time you get in that car you're moving weight. Every truck that delivers a product to the grocery store and to anyplace you buy is moved by fossil fuels, not just made by fossil fuels, moved by fossil fuels, the trains, the planes, the ships, and, yes, the automobile.
We will spend this year close to $300 billion buying fossil fuels from people that do not like us, do not even tolerate us most of the time, would like to kill us every time.
And why this Congress and why the administration, yes, the previous administrations--no one's innocent in this project--will not set forth an energy policy that doesn't involve just wind power and sun power, but involves all the powers that we have to produce energy for the people of America. The coal, yes, we're going to burn cheap coal. It can be burned and should be burned. But most of all, the oil which we're still importing from abroad. That's what we have to do.
So I ask you, don't go to sleep, ladies and gentlemen, because the persons that raise the price of oil are there, and they will do it again. And this Congress will say, oh, we've got to do something. We'll have to do something. And by the time that prices go so high that it affects our economy, it will start going back down when we try to do something.
I'm saying that the leadership on this side of the aisle, we have an energy package. It's been sent over to the other body. I know I'm not supposed to mention that other body. In fact, I'm not. It's the other body. And it has not passed any energy legislation. We've done it on the House side numerous times, not just this year and last year, even some of the years before. We have passed energy legislation.
But it's time for this Congress, a reflection of the American people, to rise up and say we are going to do something so those people that have been hurting us all these years--$4 trillion worth of oil has been spent in the last 14 years overseas. Trillion, ladies and gentlemen. That was equal to the national debt.
But take $4 trillion off the existing debt, see where we would be today. We wouldn't have the unemployment rate. The President wouldn't have to say, well, it's getting a little better. The economy is better than it was, they say. But it all relates back to the cheap energy, energy that could be afforded by the working class people of America, the working class people of America, not the rich that can afford it, the working class that provide the economy to this machine that we have called a democracy.
So I'm asking the American public and this body to wake up. Wake up and let's do what's right. Wake up the other body and do what is right for the future of this Nation.
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