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Outer Continental Shelf Transboundary Hydrocarbon Agreements Authorization Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. SALMON. Mr. Chairman, I appreciate this opportunity to address Congress today.

I'm very pleased, as the chairman of the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere for the Foreign Affairs Committee, that we held a hearing on this issue. Afterwards, we decided--after some extensive consultation with folks from the Obama State Department, we worked with the chairman of the Resources Committee and the gentleman from South Carolina (Mr. Duncan) to develop this language.

There is an old axiom that says ``let no good deed go unpunished.'' Nowhere in America could that be more true. Actually, nowhere on Earth could that be more true than here in Washington, D.C.

The fact is that this language reflects the agreement that the Obama administration signed almost a couple of years ago. Maybe there's some buyer's remorse and maybe there's an idea now that we don't like the fact that we agreed to this language a couple of years ago, but this reflects the agreement that was signed.

One other thing I'd like to mention is another great axiom, and that is that ``the road to hell is paved with good intentions.'' Unfortunately, I didn't know that that road went smack-dab in the middle of Washington, D.C.

The fact is, this is a good bill, and every American out there who is paying too much for their energy costs, paying too much every time you go to the pump and you fill up your car with gasoline or you go on a vacation and you curse those gasoline pumps, knows full well that we are trying to do everything we can on the Republican side of the aisle to lower your gas prices.

We're trying to do that by forming this agreement with Mexico. A win-win. You've heard that term a lot today, because it is. It will create jobs both in Mexico and the United States.

Pemex, the Mexican oil company, does not have the deepwater drilling capabilities that our oil companies do, and so Mexico reached out to us and asked us if we would agree to a treaty to work together with them so that we could jointly drill.

And isn't it about time that America looks to its neighbors, its friends, its allies in the region, like Mexico, instead of having to rely on the thugs in the Middle East for our oil.

I think it is about time that America and the Western Hemisphere become energy independent, that we produce our own oil in this country and in this continent. And when we do so, what's going to happen? We will reduce the likelihood that we will have to get into a war because of some oil issue. We reduce the likelihood that some of these despots from other countries, like Venezuela or other countries in the Middle East, literally hold us--excuse the pun--but hold us over the barrel, and ask us to commit to things that maybe we would rather not commit to, or play their silly games.

Wouldn't you much rather rely on a country and a friend and a neighbor like Mexico to be able to jointly drill, develop that oil, lower gas prices, and create jobs for American and Mexican citizens. This is truly a win/win. Let's not let, in some minds, the perfect be the enemy of the good. The fact is this is the language that Mexico had asked us to agree to, and we're simply trying to move the ball ahead. We can do a lot of gamesmanship today and spout off about this or that, but this is the agreement that was signed almost a couple of years ago. And again, the administration dragged their feet for the last couple of years to get this ultimately to the floor. Thank goodness we have a chairman over here that took the bull by the horns and said, We're going to do this. We're going to do this for the American people because it's a no-brainer. So it's basically time, I agree, for us to do this in a bipartisan fashion, get off our dead derrieres, and get the job done.

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Mr. SALMON. Actually, that is not correct.

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Mr. SALMON. No, that's not what I just said. I don't appreciate having words put in my mouth. That's not what I said.

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Mr. SALMON. What I said was that the language that we've agreed to here is the language that I believe embodies the spirit of the agreement between us and Mexico. I believe it's exactly what the President has been asking for.

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