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Public Statements

Domestic Energy and Jobs Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. WITTMAN. I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Chairman, today, the House is taking an independent and important step forward to develop domestic sources of energy, create American jobs, and reduce our reliance on foreign sources of energy. And I'm a strong proponent of an all-of-the-above energy policy.

As a scientist by trade, I understand the need to achieve a balance to foster development of American energy while at the same time protecting the integrity of our environment. We can achieve efficiency and protection, and this bill helps us achieve both goals.

Offshore wind energy is an important component, furthering development of clean, renewable American energy sources. Unfortunately, the process is often unnecessarily slowed for years by bureaucratic hurdles in the permitting process and numerous other delays. The Cape Wind project in Massachusetts only recently received Federal permitting approval, a process 10 years in the making.

The U.S. built the Hoover Dam in 5 years during the height of the Great Depression. Within a decade of President Kennedy's call to put a man on the Moon, the U.S. had won the space race. Americans have proven that we can accomplish great engineering and technical feats in small periods of time. However, today it's frustrating that this administration cannot point to one wind turbine operating offshore in Federal waters. They can, however, point to layer after layer after layer of regulations, bureaucracy, and red tape.

While it is critical that energy development is safe and environmentally friendly, the process must become more efficient. This amendment facilitates the development of an all-of-the-above energy strategy by streamlining the process for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to develop offshore wind power.

My amendment will speed the production of wind energy, as it sets a 30-day time line for the Secretary of the Interior to act on permits for all weather testing and monitoring projects in the United States Outer Continental Shelf. This amendment will also streamline the environmental review process for these small wind testing towers.

This amendment also requires coordination with the Department of Defense and other affected agencies so the projects do not disrupt national security or other critical projects. This provision is especially important for the Commonwealth of Virginia, with its active defense community.

This amendment is identical to H.R. 2137, legislation I authored that passed out of the House Natural Resources Committee last July. This effort has been endorsed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Ocean Industries Association.

I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. WITTMAN. Mr. Chairman, I would like to remind folks that this bill does accommodate concerns that may be raised by the Department of Defense and other Federal agencies to make sure that all those thoughts and ideas are put into place in considering this permitting process. But it streamlines it. That's a simple, thoughtful process that gets to the point much quicker. So instead of taking 3 years to permit a tower, now it goes to 30 days. It seems to me it's counterintuitive to say that longer is better. In this case, since there are no active mills, windmills offshore, wind turbines offshore, it seems to me that we ought to quicken the process. This clearly does, yet it allows for proper due diligence, proper consideration of all of the different concerns. And this amendment, indeed, facilitates the development of an all-of-the-above energy strategy by streamlining the process with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to develop offshore wind power and also to support good-paying American jobs. Let's not forget about that.

I urge my colleagues to accept this amendment and expedite offshore wind energy development, and with that, I yield back the balance of my time.

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