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Public Statements

Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2014

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Mr. Chairman, I rise to oppose the gentlewoman's amendment.

The amendment would prohibit, as she said, hydraulic fracking operations or fracking within the Inglewood Oil Field in Los Angeles.

I appreciate my colleague's passion for this particular issue and obviously her desire to protect her constituents, but the Energy and Water appropriations bill is not the proper place for such a unique prohibition on fracking.

Inglewood Oil Field is not Federal land nor does the Department of Energy's Office of Fossil Energy have any current projects that involve Inglewood in its natural gas portfolio. Furthermore, fracking activities are currently regulated both locally and by her own State of California.

This is a complex authorizing issue, but we are still waiting to hear from the Department's lawyers on what effect, if any, this language would actually have in the fiscal year 2014. Therefore, I must oppose her amendment and urge other Members to do the same.

I yield back the balance of my time.

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Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Mr. Chairman, I rise to oppose the gentleman's amendment.

I share the gentleman's support for smart investments in our Nation's water resources infrastructure, though. In fact, the Army Corps of Engineers has always been one of the top priorities in our Energy and Water bill.

Total program level funding is $50 million above the budget request and almost $150 million above the post-sequester level. There is very strong Member interest in the harbor maintenance activities, and most of these additional funds were included in the Operation and Maintenance account. Even so, construction funding is less than 1 percent below the President's budget.

On the other hand, the bill already reduces funding for fossil energy by $84 million below the fiscal year 2013 level. That's a 16 percent reduction. Fossil fuels, such as coal, oil, and natural gas, provide for 82 percent of our Nation's energy needs, and we will need to continue to use these valuable energy resources for generations to come. Research conducted within this program ensures we use our Nation's fossil fuel resources well and as cleanly as possible. In fact, if we increased the efficiency of our fossil energy plants by just 1 percent, we could power an additional 2 million households without using a single additional pound of fuel from the ground.

We simply cannot take a further reduction to this account, and I urge my colleagues to oppose this amendment.

I yield back the balance of my time.

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Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. I rise to oppose the gentleman from Georgia's amendment. His amendment is overly broad and would prevent the Department of Energy, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Bureau of Reclamation, and the National Nuclear Security Agency, all agencies covered under our bill, from leasing or purchasing any new vehicles.

I understand my colleague's concern with the size of vehicle fleet within some of these agencies; and, in fact, I share some of those very concerns. That's why our bill actually carries a reporting requirement within the Department of Energy to report on its vehicle fleet.

However, this amendment would have serious unintended consequences, ranging from maintenance of Corps sites to science at our national labs, such of which are tied to the nuclear stockpile that are involved in protecting our nuclear sites.

Therefore, I must oppose the amendment. I certainly understand his reasons for doing it. I'm supportive in theory, but there are some potentially unintended consequences, so I must oppose it.

I yield back the balance of my time.

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Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. I do rise in opposition to the amendment.

And let me say, I appreciate the gentleman's passion for coastal restoration. I know it's a high priority for his district and others around the Nation.

The bill before us includes over $5 million to continue studies, engineering and design work and various components of the program. That's nearly 6 percent of the entire Investigations account dedicated to continuing work in coastal restoration in Louisiana.

The committee had to make some tough choices in the bill. While the Army Corps was a high priority, it was not completely spared. The Construction account, specifically, is slightly below the President's budget request, and almost 20 percent below the fiscal year 2013 appropriations.

The Corps has numerous projects already under construction that were not included in the President's budget and, so, aren't likely to be funded in fiscal year 2014.

While construction funding is trending downward, I believe it is most prudent to prioritize funding for ongoing projects so they can be completed and the Federal Government can realize the public safety, economic and other benefits from previous spending, rather than starting new projects. It's unclear to me whether this is a new project, but I take the gentleman at his word that this is not a new project.

I do oppose the amendment. The reduction would substantially work against our purposes of trying to balance the Federal budget and lower the Federal deficit.

I yield back the balance of my time.

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