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Mr. HOEVEN. Madam President, I rise to speak as if in morning business on the subject of energy.
I commend my colleagues for their excellent work on cyber. I look forward to working with them, and I thank them for the incredible amount of work and diligence they are putting into this extremely important effort. I rise this morning to speak on the incredible importance of energy security for our country.
Last week I introduced the Domestic Energy and Jobs Act along with 30 sponsors on the legislation. It is a comprehensive plan for energy security for our country. When I say energy security, what I mean is producing more energy than we consume; getting our Nation to energy security by not only producing enough energy for our needs, but even beyond that. It is absolutely doable. There is no question we can do it.
It is about pursuing an all-of-the-above strategy, and I mean truly pursuing an all-of-the-above strategy; not saying it and then picking certain types of energy we want and don't want but, instead, creating a climate and a national comprehensive energy policy that truly empowers private investment to develop all of our energy resources and all types of energy.
The Domestic Energy and Jobs Act is actually a package of energy bills. Many of these have already passed the House, and we have introduced them now in the Senate as well--13 separate pieces of legislation pulled together into this energy package, with energy leaders from both the House and the Senate. It clearly demonstrates that we have a strategy, we have a comprehensive energy plan to move our country, and it is ready to go.
If we look at the situation right now, there are hundreds of billions of dollars of private investment, of capital that would be invested in energy projects in this country, but they are being held up. These projects are being held on the sidelines because of the inability to be permitted or because of burdensome regulation. We need to create the kind of approach, the kind of business climate, the kind of energy policy that will unleash that private investment. That is exactly what this legislation does.
First, it reduces the regulatory burden so these stalled energy projects--again, hundreds of billions of dollars in private investment, not government spending but in private investment--that would move forward with energy projects that would not only develop more energy more cost effectively and more dependably, but also with better environmental stewardship, deploying the latest, greatest technology that would produce the energy, and do it with better environmental stewardship--not only for this country but actually leading the world to more energy production with better environmental stewardship.
But these projects are held up either because they can't get permitted or because they can't get through the regulatory redtape to get started and get going. This legislation cuts through that.
It also helps us develop the vital infrastructure we need for energy development. A great example is the Keystone XL Pipeline, a $7 billion 1,700-mile pipeline that would move oil from Canada to our refineries in the United
States, but that would also move oil from my home State--100,000 barrels a day for starters--to refineries. We need that vital infrastructure. That is just one example.
This legislation also develops our resources on public lands as well as private lands. So we are talking about expedited permitting both onshore and offshore, on private lands and on public lands, including for renewables. It sets realistic goals. It sets a market-based approach that would truly foster all of our energy resources rather than picking winners and losers. It would also put a freeze and require a study of rules that are driving up gasoline prices that are hitting families and businesses across this country. And it includes legislation that Senator Murkowski of Alaska has added to our package that would require an inventory of critical minerals in the United States and set policies to develop them as a key part of developing a comprehensive energy approach and a comprehensive energy plan for our country.
So what is the impact? The U.S. Chamber of Commerce in March of last year put forward a report. In that report they showed there are more than 350 energy projects nationwide that are being held up either due to inability to get permitted or regulatory burden, as I have described--more than 350 projects--that if we could just greenlight these projects, they would generate $1.1 trillion in gross domestic product and create 1.9 million jobs a year just in the construction phase.
So this legislation truly is about energy--more energy, better technology, and better environmental stewardship. But it is also very much about creating jobs--creating jobs at a time when we have more than 8.2 percent unemployment, more than 13 million people out of work and looking for work. This will create an incredible number of jobs. It is about creating economic growth.
Look at our debt and our deficit. Our debt is now approaching $16 trillion. We need to get this economy going and growing to reduce that deficit and reduce that debt along with controlling our spending. But we need economic growth to get on top of that debt and deficit. As I described, just the 350 projects alone and $1.1 trillion in GDP to help create that economic growth, to put people to work, and help reduce our deficit and our debt.
Let's talk about national security. The reality is with the kind of approach I am putting forward in the United States and working together with our closest friend and ally Canada, we can get to energy security without a doubt in 5 to 7 years. That means producing more energy than we consume within 5 to 7 years. Think how important that is.
Look what is going on in the Middle East. Look what is going on in Syria. What is going to happen there? Look at what is going on in Iran and their efforts to pursue a nuclear weapon and what is going to happen with the Strait of Hormuz. An incredible amount of oil goes through that area. Look at what is happening in Egypt with the Muslim Brotherhood. Do we really want to be dependent on the Middle East for our oil?
I think the American people have said very clearly no, and we don't have to be. We just need the right approach to make it happen right here and to work with our closest friend and ally, Canada.
The reality is developing our energy resources is an incredible opportunity, and we need to seize it right now, with both hands. We can do it. That is exactly the plan we are putting forward.
Earlier this year we passed legislation through the House and through the Senate in conjunction with the payroll tax credit legislation. Attached to it we required the President to make a decision on the Keystone XL Pipeline. He chose to turn it down. Shortly after that, the Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper, went to China. He met with Chairman Wu and China's energy leaders, and he signed a memorandum of agreement. That memorandum of agreement between China and Canada called for more economic cooperation and more energy development, with China working in conjunction with Canada.
Just last week, CNOOC--one of China's largest government-controlled companies--made a $15 billion tender offer for the Nexen Oil Company, a large oil company in Canada, to purchase their interests in the Canadian oil sands. It also includes mineral interests offshore, lease interests offshore of the United States in the gulf region, as well as in the North Sea area. But primarily it is an acquisition by the Chinese of huge amounts of tracts in the oil sands in Canada.
So just what we said: If we don't work with Canada on projects such as the Keystone XL Pipeline, the oil that is produced in Canada, instead of going to the United States will go to China or Americans will be put in the position of buying Canadian oil from the Chinese because of a failure to act on key projects such as the Keystone XL Pipeline because we are not acting on the kind of energy policy we are putting forward right here.
Ask the American people what they want. What they want is that we move forward with the energy package we put forward, and we need to do it. If we check gas prices, they are now back up to $3.50 a gallon national average. When the current administration took office, it was $1.85 national average per gallon. That is a 90-percent increase. What ramifications does that have for our economy? What ramifications does that have for small businesses? What ramifications does that have for hard-working American families? I think we all know the answer to that.
The time to move forward is now. It couldn't be more clear. We control our own destiny. We need to take action. We need to move forward on the kind of energy plans that truly benefit our people and our country. I call on my colleagues to join me in this effort.
I yield the floor.
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