GULF OF MEXICO SECURITY ACT OF 2006--Continued -- (Senate - August 01, 2006)
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Mr. BIDEN. Mr. President, I am in opposition to the bill before us that opens up new areas in the Gulf of Mexico to oil and gas drilling. I don't dispute that the oil and natural gas that may be harvested as a result of this legislation could be useful, and I would support drilling from some new sources--if the value of doing so is not outweighed by the risks to our environment and economies. But it is not a solution to our energy problems.
Here we are, yet again, with a so-called ``energy'' plan that only offers one plan for our energy security crisis: drilling. That is not much of a plan. That is not going to free our foreign policy. That is not going to lower prices at the pump.
We consume a quarter of the oil in the world, but we have less than 2 percent of the world's reserves--that 2 percent includes the areas under debate today. If we tapped all the reserves in Alaska, the Gulf of Mexico and off the Pacific and Atlantic coasts, we would increase output by 2 million barrels a day by 2020. Yet our consumption is expected to rise to 25 million and world consumption to 110 million, so the impact on price and energy security would be minimal. Drops in the bucket.
We need a real energy policy, a real path toward energy security. For instance, we can make the biggest difference and have the most immediate impact by reducing oil consumption where we use it most: the transportation sector. That's why I have proposed four steps to begin the transition to alternative fuels and make us more energy secure: (1) 100 percent of cars running on alternative fuels; (2) 50 percent of major gas stations selling it; (3) 25 percent farm-grown fuel; (4) 1 mile per gallon more fuel efficient each year.
And if we are going to drill in new areas, we need to make sure we do it right, and not bypass the appropriately careful process and environmental reviews that are required by the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act. The leadership put this bill before the Senate and said: ``take it or leave it.'' This bill could have been much better, and I fear that the bill that will come back from the House will be much worse.