GULF OF MEXICO SECURITY ACT OF 2006--Continued -- (Senate - August 01, 2006)
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Mr. KERRY. Mr. President, I was unfortunately not present to vote on final passage of S. 3711, the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006. I would like the RECORD to reflect that had I been present, I would have voted no on both the July 31 vote on the motion to invoke cloture as well as today's vote on final passage of the bill.
This legislation not only fails to address our energy problems, it raids the Federal Treasury and threatens our coastal economies and ecosystems. Opening more of our coastlines to drilling is clearly not the answer to our energy problems, especially given that 80 percent of offshore oil and gas resources are already open to drilling, and oil companies currently hold more than 4,000 untapped leases in the Gulf of Mexico.
Instead of despoiling our shores and perpetuating our dependence on oil, I believe Congress should pursue more environmentally friendly solutions, including investments in efficiency, biofuels, and increased use of renewable energy such as wind and solar power.
Unfortunately, rather than using American ingenuity to advance a new energy future that benefits both the economy and the environment, S. 3711 continues to promote failed policies of the past. It opens 8 million acres of Florida's gulf coast waters to offshore drilling rigs, including more than 6 million acres that are currently protected by the bipartisan moratorium on offshore drilling that has been in place for 25 years. S. 3711 also diverts tens of billions of dollars in offshore drilling revenues from the Federal Treasury and gives the money to just four States.
Furthermore, passing S. 3711 paves the way for a conference with H.R. 4761, the even more harmful House-passed bill that lifts the moratorium on all offshore drilling, including my home State, Massachusetts.
For our coasts, our environment, and our economy, I oppose S. 3711, and instead support real solutions to our energy problems.