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Public Statements

Domestic Energy and Jobs Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. GENE GREEN of Texas. I rise today in opposition to H.R. 4480, the Domestic Energy and Jobs Act.

While I support pieces of H.R. 4480, unfortunately I am not able to vote for the bill because I believe it will actually create more regulatory confusion and impediments for our domestic producers. Title I, for example, requires the Secretary of Energy to develop a plan to increase domestic oil and gas leasing from onshore and offshore federal lands that are under the jurisdiction of the Departments of Agriculture, Energy, Interior, and Defense within 180 days of a release of petroleum from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. A new government bureaucracy at the Department of Energy would develop this plan, which duplicates the oil and gas leasing programs at the Departments of Interior and Agriculture. During a House Energy and Commerce Hearing on the bill, the Secretary of Energy expressed many concerns about their ability to effectively do this.

I am also concerned with Title III of the bill, which would overturn the multiple-use principle established in the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976. This would undermine the basic principal which has guided the management of public lands for 35 years.

I also have concerns with Section 206 of the bill, which would require the Environmental Protection Agency to consider industry costs when determining what level of air pollution is ``safe.'' By doing this we would be rolling back one of the core aspects of the Clean Air Act--a requirement that was passed on a bipartisan basis over 40 years ago, signed into law by a Republican President and unanimously upheld by the Supreme Court in 2001. I plan to offer an amendment that would strike section 206 and I hope that my colleagues will support it.

As a strong supporter of policies that encourage and support domestic energy production, my hope is that in the future, the House takes up legislation that deals with this important issue without including controversial policy riders that prevent bipartisan support in the House and movement in the Senate.

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Mr. GENE GREEN of Texas. Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of my amendment.

I would like to vote for this bill, but it goes way too far.

Mr. Chairman, I represent five large refineries and 20-plus chemical plants, so I'm very sensitive to what regulatory compliance can mean to a company's economic success. But for over 40 years, the Clean Air Act has required the Environmental Protection Agency to set the level of each ambient air quality standard based on what is necessary to protect public health. They do this because EPA's job is health, not economic impacts.

Again, for over 40 years, Republicans and Democrats have agreed to this principle, which was passed on a bipartisan basis in the 1970s and signed into law by a Republican President and unanimously upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2001.

This amendment would strike section 206 of the bill, which would require the EPA to consider industry costs when determining what level of air pollution is ``safe.'' But economic and compliance costs are already considered several times throughout the regulatory process, which is why section 206 is not necessary.

The EPA conducts a regulatory impact analysis for a range of emission standards when they propose the standard. Then they do a second regulatory impact analysis when they choose the final standard before it is sent to the Office of Management and Budget for review.

The regulatory process works. Last September, the Office of Management and Budget did not allow EPA to move forward with a revised ozone NAAQS standard because they felt that the costs of compliance would be too high for the regulated industries at this point in our economic recovery. To use a Texas saying, let's not throw out the baby with the bathwater.

Section 206 is a policy rider that undermines 40 years of bipartisan agreement, and I encourage my colleagues to support my amendment that would strike it.

I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. GENE GREEN of Texas. Mr. Chairman, I want to thank my colleague from Colorado because the system does work. Even the President used economics. But that's the President's job, not the EPA.

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Mr. GENE GREEN of Texas. I appreciate my colleague and your work on the committee, but that's why we need to remove 206. That provision actually takes away health and safety as EPA's primary responsibility. That's what it was created for in 1970. We already have a system that will work to deal with the economic problems. We go to OMB. But even more so, we can go to the States. Because once EPA and OMB approves that rule, then they go to the States to work out the compliance. And in our district, where I have a huge industrial capacity, we actually work with our State agency and EPA to make sure we can economically do that within a timeframe.

That's why this amendment should be acceptable, Mr. Chairman, and I would encourage Members to vote for this amendment when it comes up for a vote tomorrow.

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