Madam Chairman, I rise first to pay respects to the distinguished gentleman on the majority side handling the legislation to tell him that I have affection and respect for him, but he is handling a bad bill. I also want to thank my good friend for yielding me this time.
I have been to Alaska many times. I have hunted there. I have fished there. I have been to the NPR-A. I have been to all of the refuges in the national forests and national parks and the BLM lands up there. I have seen what a treasure it is. I have also supported, actively, the idea that this Nation must make it possible for us to easily produce energy, but not at the price of throwing away things like our basic fundamental environmental protection laws.
This legislation is not going to significantly increase production of oil. All it is going to do is throw away the things that are necessary to protect it against unwise use. This has been a battle that we have had in this body many times, where the majority will consistently seek to make it easier to drill for oil that either isn't there or isn't there in the amounts or that is not going to be produced by the oil companies, because we are finding that there is a lot of oil where there is authorization for drilling where they just got the drilling permits and they sit there and look at the drilling permits. Oil is not produced.
Having said this, the Secretary in the last year or so has increased the ability of this Nation to continue producing more and more oil from the public lands. One of the problems with Alaska is the public lands are cold, they are intractable, they are harsh, and they are hard to produce oil from; so it is necessary that it takes longer for us to produce oil on those lands, and that is properly so. It is easy to produce it in the warmer, more gentle climates here in the United States. Given that fact, we can expect that we will see more rapid increases in production here than we will see up there.
We have a tremendous national treasure in Alaska. It produces fish, wildlife, open spaces, salmon, all kinds of riches of renewable resources of all kinds.
The CHAIR. The time of the gentleman has expired.
Mr. HOLT. Madam Chair, I gladly yield the gentleman an additional 1 minute.
Mr. DINGELL. I express my thanks to my dear friend.
Madam Chairwoman, we should not throw away those protections, nor should we open those lands up to being blasted, drilled, ditched, and dug without wise protection. After all, good conservation is wise conservation and wise use of the resources.
We are going to find, as time passes, the predictions of our Department of Energy and the Department of the Interior, that this oil is not present in NPR-A and in the arctic game range and is not there in the amounts that we would like, and there is no real reason for increasing that oil production, especially by permits that will not yield any additional production of oil to this Nation.
I urge my colleagues to reject the legislation. Let the administration continue its production of oil according to wise use and see to it that we protect the treasures that we have in Alaska against unwise use.
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