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Public Statements

Domestic Energy and Jobs Act

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. MARKEY. Mr. Chairman, I claim the time in opposition to this amendment.

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Mr. MARKEY. Mr. Chairman, the amendment creates a brand-new, burdensome permitting scheme that would complicate the process for obtaining a permit to construct a meteorological tower offshore and undermine offshore wind development. Let me say that again. This will actually make it harder to build an offshore wind project, not easier.

This amendment is similar to H.R. 2173, which was reported out of the Natural Resources Committee last year. When moving this bill through committee, the Republican majority was unable to find a single wind industry witness to come to testify on this bill, and that is because the industry that the majority is trying to help with this bill doesn't think that the measure is helpful.

So the wind industry does not support this bill. I'll just make that clear, if you are interested in helping an industry to grow. The bill has not been endorsed by any offshore wind companies or trade groups and those kinds of companies that have popped up all over the country now. None of those companies are endorsing this bill.

I'm going to read a statement that is part of the legislative hearing record on this amendment. It is from Jim Lanard, the president of the Offshore Wind Development Coalition. Here's what he says on behalf of the coalition: Streamlining approvals of towers or buoys to test wind speeds offshore is an important goal. We believe that NEPA will allow this goal to be achieved.

So NEPA clearly is not the enemy here. But in case there is still doubt, he says: Disregarding the bill's NEPA exclusion, we believe--this is, again, Mr. Lanard speaking for the Offshore Wind Development Coalition--we believe that current practices are adequate for the approval of these towers or buoys.

This bill represents a fundamental misunderstanding of what the offshore wind industry really needs. A company is simply not going to invest millions of dollars engineering and constructing a huge meteorological tower on the Outer Continental Shelf unless they have a guarantee that they'll be able to use that area to build a wind farm.

To be very clear, the industry wants a lease before they invest millions of dollars into a project. To get a lease, we should and we do require consideration of the impacts of development on the environment and the competing uses of these public waters. We should and we do require coordination with the other agencies using the Outer Continental Shelf, like the Navy, the FAA and FCC. This amendment would dismantle that process.

This amendment says sorry, wind industry. You may have sunk millions of dollars into your meteorological tower, but it's time to tear it down. We let you build it without fully considering the impacts. And no wind farm either.

Plain and simple, this bill certainly reduces the likelihood that we will see wind constructed off the shores of our country. The companies affected by this bill were not consulted before creating it.

I have a document here from the Navy commenting on this bill. Essentially, it says the 30-day limit on consultations in the amendment is problematic. The Federal Aviation Administration has expressed similar concerns. The Federal Communications Commission has expressed similar concerns. This bill will make it harder to construct offshore wind projects, and maybe--and I think this is what it's all about--that's the point after all.

I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. MARKEY. Mr. Chairman, the bottom line is that President Bush's Interior Department sat on offshore wind regulations for 4 years. Do you want to hear that again? President Bush's Interior Department sat on offshore wind regulations for 4 years. Did not promulgate them. President Obama got them done in his first 6 months. The Obama administration passionately believes in new wind. In fact, there's 35,000 new megawatts onshore, and they desperately want it offshore as well, and the process is working.

We agree that during the Bush years, the Cape wind process did not work, but there were no rules that were promulgated. Obama did it. The project is now approved for Cape wind, and it should move forward. There's nothing wrong with the process, and I urge a ``no'' vote on this amendment.

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Mr. MARKEY. Let's just get to the heart of the question of energy efficiency. Back in 1987, I was the author of the Appliance Efficiency Act of 1987, which is the constitution for energy efficiency in the appliance field. Since that time, the efficiency of appliances has increased so dramatically that we have reduced the need for between 100 and 150 new coal-fired plants from ever having to be constructed in the United States. Why is that? Well, electricity that is not consumed results in less need for new coal-fired or any kind of fired electricity, saving the consumers, saving the environment, and just working smarter, not harder. If you can keep the popsicle cool with a more efficient refrigeration process, if you can have the toast pop up with a more efficient toasting process, if you can have every one of the appliances that we use, including the air-conditioning in this room--the air-conditioning in this room is just as good as it was in 1987 but it is 50 percent more efficient in its generating capacity than it was in 1987. That reduces the need to generate new electricity that is needed. That saves money, and it saves on environmental damage as well.

So right now we're about to consider something that deals with deli-style refrigerators. Now, we're having this conversation having had no hearings on this issue in the Energy and Commerce Committee. We've had no testimony from the industry, no testimony from the Department of Energy on what this amendment could mean in terms of its impact. And we've had no evidence of an incapacity to be able to comply with these rules except for the fact that no one ever wants to necessarily become more efficient if they have to go through the extra effort and have never been required to do so.

The reason that we have these energy efficiency rules is that we're doing it for the betterment of the whole country and moving industries along, making sure that we do not have to produce this additional new electricity.

So, I think that it's better if we save money and save energy at the same time. That's what efficiency is all about. That's what working smarter, not harder is all about. The evidence is clear, since 1987, that we've done it. We've moved every other device along and made it more efficient, so I just don't know the reason why we would need a provision like this.

At this point, I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. MARKEY. I yield myself, again, as much time as I may consume.

You know, this is just a continuation of the Republican obsession and opposition--obstinate, obdurate opposition--to increased efficiency in our society. Just a couple weeks ago they brought a bill out here on the floor that would roll back the efficiency of light bulbs in the United States, even though the entire industry has already complied with it. They were still trying to roll back the efficiency of light bulbs. Now we have the deli freezer, and we'll move on to product by product that they don't believe it is necessary to improve its efficiency whatsoever. And they just respond one by one almost to an incomprehensible set of demands made by, as yet, nonexistent experts telling us that it's impossible to comply.

So, why don't we have a hearing? Why don't we get the evidence? Why don't we hear what every company in the United States says about deli freezers and then we can act upon it after we hear the evidence? But acting this way--you know, ``congressional expert'' is an oxymoron. We're not experts compared to real experts. We're only experts compared to other Congressmen. ``Congressional expert'' is an oxymoron, like jumbo shrimp or Salt Lake City nightlife. I mean, there is no such thing as a congressional expert. We should not be acting this way on the House floor trying to make ad hoc changes in efficiencies rules. It just doesn't make any sense.

Again, I oppose the way in which this is occurring, and I urge a ``no'' vote on the Westmoreland amendment.

I yield back the balance of my time.

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Mr. MARKEY. I thank the gentlelady.

Back 10 years ago, about a third of all of the interest in the oil futures marketplace was controlled by speculators, but two-thirds was controlled by the airline industry, the trucking industry, industries that are dependent upon oil. Today it's just the flip. Today two-thirds of that oil futures marketplace is controlled by speculators, and only one-third is controlled by the airline industry, trucking industry, and others dependent upon the price of oil.

So what happened? What happens is, all of a sudden, you have this crazy volatility where experts say that upwards of 20 percent of the price of a barrel of oil in the futures marketplace is related to speculation. It's not related to anything in the real marketplace. And so what happens? Well, that has a dramatically negative impact on truckers, on the airline industry because there are games being played out there.

By the way, with the speculators, they make money on the way up and they make money on the way down. That's not true for ordinary companies because they're not in there playing a game. They are not speculators. They are not doing this as part of some kind of a casino that speculators thrive in.

And here's the rule: On the way up, the big guy cleans up; on the way down, the little guy gets cleaned out. And that's what we're seeing over and over and over again.

So the President has asked to increase the number of cops on the beat, the CFTC cops on the beat that can patrol to make sure that the games that are being played don't hurt the little guy. And what are the Republicans saying? They're saying they want to cut the President's request for more cops on the beat sixfold. And what happens then? Well, we're going to be deep-sixing the hopes, the dreams, the aspirations of ordinary companies who are still going to see these games being played. The DeLauro amendment makes it possible to put the CFTC cops back on the beat.

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