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Offshore Energy and Jobs Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. PASCRELL. Mr. Chairman, I have a great deal of respect for Chairman Hastings. He's a fair, civil individual. But this bill is off the charts. At least the last one that we voted on had some redeeming qualities--some redeeming qualities.

We know there's more oil been produced in the last 3 1/2 years. The increase is greater than the previous 20 years. So you're trying to target the administration, and the administration can speak for itself and defend itself, but this is not right. This is not right. This is not right.

So let's talk about this. I am opposed to this legislation. This bill would completely rewrite the administration's plan for offshore leasing in a reckless and irresponsible manner. For example, this bill would force the Secretary of the Interior to conduct lease sale 220, located off the shore of Virginia, 70 miles from the beaches of my home State of New Jersey.

Now, look, a lot of the folks that are going to vote for this bill voted against even helping those people in New Jersey respond to the Sandy storm. You know it, and I know it. And here we are on the floor perpetrating untruths about why this is needed now. Look, it's not the amount of land that we've set aside on water or on land for oil exploration and production. We've got plenty of oil coming out of the ground. We don't have any refineries, and this is the same debate we had 25 years ago. How dare anybody stand in this astute body and then claim we don't care if gas prices go up. The fact of the matter is this is an oil Congress and this is an oil economy, and you don't want to bring in--I want to talk about the special interests of the people who are hurting out there.

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Mr. PASCRELL. I want to talk about the special interests--not oil companies--us. Let's talk about us and what we get out of this.

In fact, if I'm not mistaken, correct me if I'm wrong, Mr. Chairman, the administration is committed to ensuring that American taxpayers receive a fair return from the sale of public resources, public land. As drafted, as this bill is before us right now, the revenue-sharing provisions of H.R. 2231 would ultimately reduce the net return to the taxpayers from development of Federal resources directed to be leased under this bill.

So, with summer upon us, tourism at the Jersey shore is one of our State's greatest economic drivers. These jobs that are committed, these jobs depend upon the responsible stewardship of our waters and coasts, and the legislation before us now puts those jobs at risk. For communities across the State still working to rebuild from Sandy, this is not a risk they are willing to take.

Instead of bending over backwards for Big Oil, we need to bend over and help as best we can the average citizen. I ask for a ``no'' vote on this.

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