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Public Statements

Domestic Energy and Jobs Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. TERRY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

My amendment is a rather simple one and I hope all of my colleagues can support it.

Many of us remember the devastation brought on by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. But even more folks outside of the gulf region remember the meteoric rise in gas prices and the threat of having no gas at all. When supplies are interrupted, it's critical to restore fuel for consumers as soon as possible. We continue to operate in an environment in which the fuel required in one market may not satisfy the requirement set by the EPA in another market, i.e., the fuel in Chicago may be different from the fuel in St. Louis, especially in the summertime.

If supplies of fuel are disrupted, whether from a national emergency or from a simple equipment failure, the consumers can be affected in a very significant and adverse way. When gas stations run out of gas, our constituents suffer. When suppliers run short of fuel and the market drives up prices, the constituents suffer. Not every supply disruption is covered in the existing statute. But every supply disruption can hurt our consumers. That is what this amendment is doing: Ensuring that the Administrator has the authority to serve the best interests of our constituents--our consumers--when fuel prices are affected.

Further, asking these consumers to wait a prolonged period of time before issuing a ruling that could restore supplies to their market is unacceptable. Time is of the essence when we are trying to avert these fuel shortages and price spikes. It's important that the decisions regarding the economic welfare of our constituents are made in a timely manner.

The underlying bill that we have here before us is about doing what we can to keep the prices as low as we can. This amendment would broaden the times where EPA can grant a waiver to an area to use whatever fuel they have on hand when there is a disruption. Right now, the authority only exists for natural disasters and other larger emergencies. Not all disruptions are covered. This amendment expands upon the waiver to include any disruption. Because we have refineries closing in the Northeast and we have a limited ability to move product due to Jones Act requirements, we need to ensure that any region is never in a position of doing without fuel.

The second part of my amendment calls for the EPA and DOE to conduct the Fuel Harmonization Study that EPACT 05 directed them to complete by June, 2008. And here we are in 2012 and we don't have the study. It simply tells them to get on it. We want the Harmonization Study completed.

I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. TERRY. I appreciate the gentleman's remarks, but it's really not as draconian a measure as it may appear from his comments. When a waiver is requested, it's usually by a government entity for a region, usually with Governors, and there still has to be a disruption. If there's a disruption to the point where a government entity has to request a waiver from the oxygen requirements for the summer fuel for that particular region, that disruption is going to be well known and well documented. It won't take them more than 3 days to do it, unless they're intentionally dragging their feet.

Three days is sufficient. And if they refuse to act on that within that certain period of time, I think it's completely appropriate that they're able to keep the blend with the supply that they would have.

So this is really a simple request, a simple amendment to make sure that price spikes don't occur, that time is of the necessity.

I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. TERRY. I would just state that I think the rhetoric far exceeds the facts here. This is a simple amendment just to say when there's a disruption, instead of waiting around, when we know there's a problem, let's take care of the problem, allow the available fuel to be used so there aren't price spikes that hurt people.

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