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Public Statements

Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2008

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC



Mr. KLINE of Minnesota. Mr. Chairman, my amendment would reduce funding for the fossil energy research and development account in this bill by $142 million. These funds appropriated in this account go toward research of oil, gasoline, coal and natural gas.

Funding this account at $709 million, as in this bill, would be a 19 1/2 percent increase over last year's appropriation amount and 20 percent higher than what was requested by the administration.

This massive increase in spending is aimed at research of oil, coal and natural gas. With energy prices rising, our research dollars are better spent by going toward alternative and diversified energy sources like nuclear, wind, solar, geothermal, hydropower and others.

You may be interested to know that some of the research projects funded by this account include: a submersible-deployed micro-drill for sampling of shallow gas deposits, ultra-lightweight cement, and an oil and gas resource assessment of the Russian Arctic.

Given the record profits being made by oil, gas and coal companies, the research of oil and gas resources of the Russian Arctic should be done and paid for by those oil companies, not by American taxpayers who have already paid for it at the pump.

A half a billion dollars in Federal funds appropriated to this account, as was the case last year, should be more than enough for the government's share of this research.

Any additional funding, and I'm talking about funding over the half a billion dollar plus what's already in last year's bill, any additional funding should be borne by the private sector.

My amendment would save the taxpayers $142 million and remove that 20 percent increase in spending on fossil fuel research.

Solutions to our rising energy prices are not found in a massive increase in deficit spending, and we've been talking a lot about deficit spending today.

Not only does this bill have a 20 percent increase in spending for fossil fuel research, it contains a $1.3 billion increase over last year's Energy and Water appropriation.

It seems that this appropriation bill is another example of ballooning Federal spending and increasing Federal deficits to be paid for by ever-higher taxes.

We know it's been discussed today that the Federal budget that was passed by House Democrats earlier this year does indeed include the largest tax increase in American history. It would raise taxes by at least $217 billion. We're looking for ways to reduce spending, modest ways. That's all that these appropriation bills allow us. We can't address the massive spending that comes from entitlement spending, but we can get at sensible ways to control the spending in these discretionary funds.

My amendment is a step in the right direction. Let's save the taxpayers $142 million and remove this huge 20 percent increase in spending for fossil fuel research.

There have been proposals to put price controls on oil companies. I vehemently oppose those, but I don't think it's unreasonable to ask them to put some of those profits back into this essential research and development, take the burden off the taxpayers. Let's in a bipartisan way support this amendment.


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