Mr. HOEVEN. Mr. President, I rise to discuss this comprehensive plan for energy security for our Nation.
When I say ``energy security,'' I mean producing more energy than we consume. I believe, with this approach, within 5 to 7 years we can truly be a nation that is energy secure. Again, I mean producing more energy than we consume. This comprehensive plan for energy security is about truly producing all our energy resources in this country.
Many of these bills in this package of Energy bills have already been passed by the House that we are introducing now in the Senate, as well as additional legislation--ideas that Senators have put forward that were adding to it as well.
The approach is similar to the approach we have taken in North Dakota over the last decade. My home State of North Dakota has developed all its energy resources--both traditional and renewable--in a vigorous way over the last decade, and we are now an energy powerhouse for the Nation. We can see what we are doing in oil and gas, but we are doing a tremendous amount in all other forms of energy as well--both traditional and renewable. It is because we worked in a very inclusive way to include everybody's ideas in building a comprehensive energy plan that we call Empower ND--Empower North Dakota.
There was no one person who came up this whole comprehensive plan or with all the ideas, but we reached out to everyone--all the different energy sectors--and said: Let's collaborate, let's work together, let's pass a comprehensive energy plan, and then let's keep improving it. Let's make it a process rather than a one-time product and keep adding ideas and bringing forth items that will help us spur and drive our energy development in the State, ideas that will create the kind of business climate that will truly empower private investment--private investment that will deploy the new technologies that not only produce more energy but do it with sound environmental stewardship. That is exactly what is happening in North Dakota, and that is exactly what need to do at the national level.
This Domestic Energy and Jobs Act clearly demonstrates that we have an energy plan and that we are ready to go and that we are coordinating with our colleagues in the House as well. Right now there are 30 sponsors for this legislation, including the Republican leadership, as well as the energy leaders.
It also is a plan which has reached out to what the House calls their HEAT team--which stands for House Energy Action Team. Representative McCarthy and others, certainly Fred Upton, who is head of their Energy and Commerce Committee, Representative Hastings, and others who are truly energy leaders in the House--people whom I have worked with on things such as the Keystone Pipeline, Representative Terry and Representative Connie Mack and others.
This is about getting people involved in an inclusive way and putting in place an energy policy that truly serves this Nation and empowers private investment. We see how important that is now.
We have hundreds of billions of investment dollars waiting to be invested in producing more energy, more jobs, and more security for our country. This approach will empower private investment to develop all our energy resources. It does things such as reduce the regulatory burden, streamlines permitting--both onshore and offshore--and helps us develop vital infrastructure such as the Keystone Pipeline. It develops our resources on public lands, including our renewables, and setting realistic goals with a market-based approach, not picking winners or losers, and preserving multiple use on our public lands throughout this country. It would put in a freeze and require a study of rules that are driving up our gasoline prices.
It also includes a bill from Senator Murkowski. It directs the U.S. Geological Survey to establish an inventory of critical minerals in the United States and to set policies to help us develop those minerals.
What is the impact? The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, in March of 2011, undertook a study. In that study, they looked and determined there are more than 350 energy projects that are being held up because of an inability to get permitted or a regulatory burden or other hurdles and roadblocks. In that study, they determined that if these energy projects--again, more than 350 energy projects--could be green-lighted, it would $1.1 trillion in additional gross domestic product and 1.9 million jobs a year--1.9 million jobs a year just in the construction phase for those energy projects.
So this legislation isn't just about energy for our country. It is about energy. It is about a comprehensive approach--more than 13 different pieces of legislation, many of which have already passed the House. It is about a comprehensive approach to get development of our energy resources underway in a big way. But it is about job creation. It is about economic growth. It is about economic growth that will help us get the 13 million-plus people who are currently unemployed back to work. It is about economic growth that will help us generate revenue to reduce our deficit and our debt, and it truly is about national security.
Look what is going on right now in the Middle East. Look what is going on in Syria, in Iran, in Egypt with the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood. Look at the instability. Yet we still depend on oil from the Middle East and places such as Venezuela. There is no need for that. We can produce our own energy and more. It is an interconnected world. We all know that.
So when I talk about energy security, I mean producing more energy than we consume. That is what I mean by energy security. Of course, when there is an increased supply, what happens? It helps bring prices down. Think of the impact that has for families and for our economy.
Just recently, in the last few days, a company called CNOOC out of China--which is essentially a Chinese Government-owned company--offered $15 billion to buy Nexen, a major Canadian oil company--$15 billion. Why did they do that? To buy energy resources in Canada, so China would own energy resources in Canada.
As you know, I have been down on the floor many times, and I have worked very hard to get the Keystone Pipeline approved because if we don't produce and get that oil from Canada, somebody else will, and China is working to do just that.
So after the administration held up the Keystone XL Pipeline, what happened? Canadian Prime Minister Harper went to China. There, he met with Chairman Wu and the other energy leaders in China and they signed an MOU or MOA, a memorandum of understanding/memorandum of agreement.
In it, what did they say? They said China and Canada are going to cooperate on developing resources, energy resources in Canada. Of course, that energy then goes to China.
The question we have to ask is are we going to work with our closest friend and ally, Canada, to develop things such as the Keystone XL Pipeline so oil will come from Canada to the United States rather than going to China.
Or are we in this country going to be in a position where we have to buy our oil back from the Chinese? I know how the Americans want that question answered. That is what I am talking about. We need to be developing these energy resources in this country, and together with our closest friend and ally, Canada, we can do it.
There is another important point to be made here. I know there are some opponents of developing the Canadian oil sands concerned about CO
2 emissions. But here are some things they have to think about. Already you can see China coming in, working with Canada to develop those resources. So those resources are going to be developed. The question is, is that oil going to China or is it going to come to the United States?
The point is this: By building pipelines, we not only bring it to the United States but we empower investment in the Canadian oil sands that will help us produce more energy but do it with better environmental stewardship. Eighty percent of the new development in the Canadian oil sands is what is called ``in situ,'' which means drilling instead of the excavation. That means lower CO
2 emissions, that means emissions very much in line with what we produce now in the United States with our conventional drilling.
We have an opportunity, an incredible opportunity. We need to seize it with both hands. As I say, we can be energy secure in this country within 5 years. I think when people look at what is going on in the Middle East, when they see our soldiers over there, when they see the instability that is being created by regimes like Syria or Iran, when they see what is going on in countries like Egypt and they understand there could be an event that closes the Strait of Hormuz, they understand what that would mean for oil prices and energy prices in this country.
We do not want to be dependent on that situation, which means it is time to act. This is not about spending money; this is about generating jobs and generating revenue that will help us reduce our deficit, that will put our people to work, that will unleash the private investment, the entrepreneurship, the ingenuity of the American people to truly propel our Nation forward, to propel our economy forward, and to make us safer and more secure. The time has come to act. The House passed much of this plan with bipartisan support. We need to do the same in the Senate.
This is not the end of the story. This is an important part, the foundation, if you will, of building the right energy story for our country. We can do it and I urge my colleagues to join me in this effort.
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