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Mr. JOHNSON of Ohio. Mr. Chairman, today I rise in strong support of H.R. 4480, the Domestic Energy and Jobs Act. This important legislation begins to put in place a true all-of-the-above energy plan, a type of plan that has been missing since this President came into office in 2009.
This legislation will expand oil, gas, and renewable energy development on Federal lands to help increase the supply of energy and lower energy prices for consumers. It will also give relief to drivers who are paying high prices at the pump every month due to very costly EPA regulations that are scheduled to go into place.
This legislation also contains a bill that I introduced, the BLM Live Internet Auctions Act. This section of the bill is supported by my friends on the opposite side of the aisle here and even the administration. The BLM Live Internet Auctions Act will bring the BLM Lease Auction program into the 21st century by allowing BLM to conduct online leases just like the private sector has been doing for over 10 years.
We hear a lot about an all-of-the-above energy policy. The President even talked about an all-of-the-above energy policy in the State of the Union. I'm convinced that what the President means by an all-of-the-above energy policy is anything all and above the ground, because it seems like he doesn't want us going after our own natural resources.
If we had an energy policy that said, Look, we're going to draw a line in the sand, and over the next 10 years we're going to become energy independent and secure in America, we're going to go after the trillions of barrels of oil that we already own, we're going to harvest the vast volumes of natural gas and oil that we own, we're going to continue to mine and harvest coal and use it environmentally soundly, we're even going to expand our nuclear footprint because it's the safest and most reliable form of energy on the planet, and, yeah, we'll even look at wind and solar and find out where those renewable energy sources fit into an overall scheme, but we're not going to sit on the sidelines any longer and be beholden to foreign countries for our energy, if we had that kind of vision backed with regulatory reform that said to the regulatory agencies like the EPA and the Department of the Interior, Starting today, you become partners in progress with America's industries and businesses--if you've a got a national security or public health or public safety reason for saying ``no,'' then say ``no.'' But don't let ``no'' be the final answer.
I think the American people have an expectation that their elected officials and the bureaucracies that are sent here to manage the American system are partners in progress, not barriers to progress.
I urge my colleagues to support H.R. 4480, the Domestic Energy and Jobs Act. I certainly do, and I urge them to, as well.
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Mr. JOHNSON of Ohio. Mr. Chairman, today I rise in support of the Amodei amendment that would ensure that the Secretary of the Interior does not combine the two agencies with competing missions into the same agency.
Late last year, the Secretary of the Interior tried to merge the Office of Surface Mining into the Bureau of Land Management. After spending months of time and valuable taxpayer dollars to look at the issue and holding multiple public meetings, the Secretary of the Interior realized two things: First, he realized that he didn't have the power to merge the two agencies; and secondly, he realized it was simply a bad idea. Now there are reports that the Secretary is looking at taking portions of Bureau of Land Management and moving them under the purview of the Office of Surface Mining.
The two facts that I just mentioned still hold true today. The Secretary doesn't have the power without it first being authorized by Congress, and the two agencies have competing missions. It simply doesn't make sense to combine the two agencies.
During a markup at Natural Resources earlier this year, I offered an amendment similar to this that stopped the Secretary of the Interior from combining the two agencies, and it passed on a voice vote. I would hope that this amendment passes in a similar fashion.
I am all for streamlining overlapping government functions and cutting wasteful government spending. However, in this case there are no overlapping functions or wasteful spending. For that reason, I urge all of my colleagues to support this amendment.
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