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Mr. HOLT. Madam Speaker, today we are considering the so-called President Obama's Proposed 2012-2017 Offshore Drilling Lease Sale Plan Act (H.R. 6168).
This legislation, to require the Department of the Interior to conduct the very offshore drilling plan they are already set to implement, has been rushed to floor just so that the majority could vote against it in a political stunt. Even the sponsor of this bill will oppose it.
Although I have serious concerns with the DOI's plan to hold lease sales in the Arctic, where spill response capabilities are virtually nonexistent and the merits of opening this pristine environment to drilling remain unclear, the DOI's five-year plan stands in stark contrast to the House Republican plan for offshore oil and gas development.
The Republican plan amounts to yet another attempt to open up nearly every last piece of our public lands to drilling and hand even more giveaways to Big Oil. It is important to note that the President's plan does not provide for oil and gas lease sales off of the coast of New Jersey.
For these reasons, I will vote for H.R. 6168. But I want the Record to reflect that my vote for this bill is not an endorsement of expanded drilling in the Arctic or seismic exploration off of the coast of New Jersey. I strongly oppose drilling off of the coast of New Jersey and in the Mid-Atlantic and I offered an amendment to the bill we are considering to prevent any new drilling in that region.
Along with my Democratic colleagues on the Natural Resources Committee, I have offered bills to implement the safety recommendations of the National Commission on the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and to establish a fee on inactive leases as an incentive for oil companies to begin producing on the lands they already hold--of course, applying up-to-date environmental and safety lessons. I also introduced the Big Oil Bailout Prevention Act to make sure that oil companies pay the full cost of damages resulting from future oil spills.
We should be considering these important reform bill not political stunts designed to let the majority pat themselves on the back about what a good job they are doing to promote the development of the natural resources that belong to all Americans.
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