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Public Statements

Domestic Energy and Jobs Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. GARDNER. I have great respect for the gentlelady from California who joined this Congress in the class of 2010 election and served as Speaker of the House in California. It's great to work with you on the House floor, but unfortunately I am going to have to oppose the amendment.

The best way to reduce our dependence on foreign oil is to increase our energy opportunities right here in our own backyard. That's what the Domestic Energy and Jobs Act is all about. The components and pieces, the seven parts of this bill, are designed to reduce red tape to increase opportunity for American energy production--those productions occurring on our Federal lands, including renewable energy; the opportunity to create wind energy, solar energy on our Federal lands, making sure the Department of the Interior is planning for that, taking a look at.

But, again, the best way to reduce our reliance on oil imports is domestic production, the opportunity to increase that production right here in our own backyard. That's what this bill is about.

It's about creating jobs and opportunity for the American people. It's about making sure that we can reduce the price at the pump.

And let me talk just a little bit about reducing the price at the pump. The gentlelady from California mentioned the issue of CAFE standards, increasing efficiency in cars. Well, you know, you're only going to achieve those higher efficiencies through CAFE standards if you're able to afford a new car.

But we know that that is going to make cars more expensive. It's going to cost $1,000 in the near term. It's going to add $3,000 by 2025 to the cost of a vehicle. That's going to be higher if you talk to the National Automobile Dealers Association, the NADA.

So if you're not struggling under the burden of higher gas prices, then I guess you can afford a new car. Maybe you can, I don't know. But the fact is, if we continue to allow energy increases to increase nearly 100 percent, as they have over the past 3 years, the American people, our constituents, will be priced out of the ability to even contemplate the purchase of a new vehicle, continuing their struggle to make ends meet, to heat and cool their home because of the cost of energy prices.

We know that we have opportunities right here in our own back yard: the Keystone XL pipeline, North American energy, energy from the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota. The cause of gasoline price fluctuation is already known.

The gentlelady from California mentioned the CBO study. The CBO study talks about demand as a factor in price, but seems to neglect that there is no supply connection. Supply matters. Supply and demand matters.

Let's take a look at natural gas. Production of natural gas right now, the price is at low levels because we have almost a glut of natural gas. As a result, the price of natural gas is low. Supply matters.

Secretary Chu testified before the Energy and Commerce Committee that supply matters. It's not just a demand equation. You can't just turned around and say as more people consume oil that increases the price of oil without taking a look at the other part of the equation: supply. More supply. Secretary Chu said so.

With that, Mr. Chairman, the best way to reduce our reliance on foreign imports is to create American jobs with American energy.

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Mr. GARDNER. I urge opposition to the amendment.

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Mr. GARDNER. Mr. Chairman, I've enjoyed serving on the committee with the gentlelady from California, but I must oppose the amendment.

Talking about the process that we're going through on regulations, you know, this is the very heart of the bill, to understand the cost feasibility, what pressures regulations can put on the price of energy, the price of gasoline, and whether or not these regulations are going to cause price increases.

In fact, we know very well that they are going to cause price increases because we've had testimony from the Environmental Protection Agency admitting that some of these regulations, proposed regulations that they have on the books, or that they have promulgated contemplating will increase the price of gasoline and other prices in other energy areas.

These have real effects on consumers. In fact, if you just increase the price of gasoline by a penny a gallon, it will increase the daily cost to the American consumers and businesses millions and millions of dollars each and every day, one penny a gallon costing our economy millions and millions of dollars a day.

And so with this we're trying to actually say let's take a look at it to understand. We're not stopping them from going forward with their plans or developing rules. Certainly, we want to encourage the protection of our environment and make sure they're doing their job to protect our environment.

But we also need to have our eyes open and make sure that we have a chance to look before we leap when it comes to these regulations.

Delving down into the EPA's own process, though, if you look at what happens under the regulatory process, the cumulative impact analyses are feasible and already required by President Clinton's Executive Order 12866 and President Obama's Executive Order 13563. As recently as March of this year, just a couple of months ago, the White House issued a memo reiterating that ``agencies should take active steps to take account of the cumulative effects of new and existing rules.''

The EPA's own action development process, the internal process of the EPA, requires that the analysis start early in rule development. That doesn't say you wait until the rule is developed. It doesn't say you wait until it's all done, complete, out there. Early in the rule development process, action development process, taking a look at it.

This information's available. They've got the data. They've got the studies. It's time that they use that information to understand the impact that it will have on our constituents back home who are finding it increasingly difficult to balance the cost of energy with costs like paying for their home mortgage, putting food on the table. And that's why we have an opportunity, with this bill, to create American energy security and to create jobs in this country.

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Mr. GARDNER. Again, analyzing rules is part of its job. That's part of the EPA's job. It's part of the DOE's job. The DOE has a budget in excess of $26 billion. In fact, we found out just a couple of days ago that one program at the Department of Energy is costing $1.2 million per job created. It has the resources to do it within existing funds. This isn't going to cost any new money. What it is going to do is to make sure that we're protecting the American consumers before cost increases occur. With that, I urge a ``no'' vote on the amendment.

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Mr. GARDNER. Mr. Chairman, this bill is trying to deal with the rising prices of energy by addressing the very important issue of supply and demand. While I think there's nothing wrong with looking into the possibility of market manipulation, I do think this bill is trying to address another very important part of the price equation, and that is supply and demand.

This issue has been studied, and it will continue to be studied. But I'll remind the gentlelady that we're dealing with an agency that has over $200 million already in its budget, and this amendment adding $128 million would be a significant increase in funding for FY12 for the CFTC budget. So I would urge a ``no'' vote on this amendment.

If you would just look at what the CFTC has said, going back in 2008:

The task force's preliminary assessment is that current oil prices and the increase in oil prices between January 2003 and June 2008 are largely due to fundamental supply and demand factors.

In 2009:

We find little evidence that hedge funds and other noncommercial (speculator) position changes cause price changes; the results instead suggest that price changes do precede their position changes.

So we can go on and on about what the CFTC has already said, but this bill deals with the issue of supply and demand.

With that, I would yield 2 minutes to a great leader from the State of Texas (Mr. Conaway) who has done tremendous work on this issue over at the CFTC and in commodity issues.

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Mr. GARDNER. Mr. Chairman, again, we have to understand that the best thing that this Congress can do to drive down the price of gasoline is increasing our supply opportunities right here, to drive down the cost of energy by increasing our production right here.

I urge a ``no'' vote on this amendment, and I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. GARDNER. Mr. Chairman, I urge a ``no'' vote.

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Mr. GARDNER. I thank my colleague from Colorado for giving me the time on this amendment.

I want to tell a little story. A year ago, I had the opportunity to visit a hydraulic fracturing site in my district, a county called Weld County in northern Colorado, and when you're dealing with hydraulic fracturing, what happens is about 2 or 3 in the morning the crews that are overseeing the hydraulic fracturing--at least in this particular area--get up, they go to their trucks that actually have this panoramic view of the well site so they can monitor everything that's taking place. They can monitor all the equipment. They have computers inside the truck that explain and expound upon what's happening in the operation at that point. It's filled with engineers.

And on this particular tour site that I went to, the hydraulic fracturing, the production engineer was a woman. And I'm pretty sure that I would have been rejected by her college for the engineering program before I even applied. So it was an incredible opportunity to learn from her the work that she was doing. There were many other women members of that particular crew.

And so I think the best way that we can get more women and more minorities hired and working in this country, whether it's energy or not, is to create more opportunity. More opportunity means more jobs. More jobs means more hiring. And when you have more hiring, we're going to put more people back to work: Men, women, minorities.

That's the opportunity that this bill presents. It's an opportunity to create jobs, an opportunity to lower the price of gas so that men, women, and minorities are able to afford the price of a gallon of gasoline to get to their job.

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