BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT
Ms. CASTOR of Florida. I thank the gentleman from Colorado for yielding the time.
Madam Speaker and colleagues, I rise to oppose the rule and the underlying bill for three primary reasons. First, the package is very poor public policy. Second, I offered a commonsense amendment, and the Republican majority blocked it from being debated, so it will not be heard today, unfortunately. And third, the House of Representatives shouldn't be wasting its time on a package that's not going anywhere. Instead, we should be focused on job creation, especially passage of the transportation bill, through which we could create thousands and thousands of jobs across the country.
But first, as we marked up part of this package in the Energy and Commerce Committee, it became apparent that this package is chock-full of detrimental policy decisions for America. It creates new bureaucracies when it comes to energy policy and undermines the Nation's energy security. It rolls back policies that support the continued growth of safe and responsible energy production in the United States. And it improperly removes protections that we enjoy under the Clean Air Act that protect the health of American families all across this great Nation.
Second, if my colleagues recall, following the BP Deepwater Horizon blowout in the Gulf of Mexico, a major flaw in the law came to light: that the Department of Interior's maximum penalty for companies violating offshore drilling laws is limited to $40,000, and for major onshore drilling violations, it's only $5,000. So these amounts are not enough of a deterrent for bad behavior. That's why I offered an amendment to give the Secretary of the Interior the authority to increase civil fines against oil companies that violate the law while drilling. But unfortunately, my Republican colleagues have once again blocked sensible policy in order to protect Big Oil.
The Deepwater Horizon disaster was a major economic blow to my home State of Florida. If our laws do not establish appropriate deterrents, then you put our jobs at risk. Our tourism industry, small businesses, restaurants, fishermen, and the military rely on clean water and clean beaches. And our laws should protect American families and businesses, and not just Big Oil.
Finally, I strongly disagree with the Republican majority's decision to block the transportation bill and the thousands and thousands of jobs that are dependent on it. The Republican inaction on a bill that passed the United States Senate in a bipartisan way with over 70 votes is being blocked here on the floor of the House, and people should be up in arms. At a time when we've got to make greater progress when it comes to putting people back to work, that's the best path forward. I think the Republican inaction is causing great economic harm across the country, and that is what we should be debating today.
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT