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Sense of Congress Regarding Science Education

Location: Washington, DC

SENSE OF CONGRESS REGARDING SCIENCE EDUCATION -- (House of Representatives - June 04, 2008)


Mr. DeFAZIO. I thank the gentlelady for her generous grant of time.

There might be some small grounds for agreement here. I did hear both the gentleman from Illinois and the gentleman from New Jersey, and particularly the gentleman from Illinois, in talking in support of the legislation that's actually before us, which does not pertain to gas and oil prices or supply in any way, saying we needed and he supported the idea of research, investment, and education, and moving toward new technologies.

The gentleman from New Jersey talked about a transition from a petroleum-based economy. I think there's some grounds, small grounds, for agreement there.

But I guess, and I think most American people would agree with that, they know we can't, you know, drill big and burn our way out of this problem. We've got to cut our dependence to OPEC and other foreign sources of oil, and we've got to mitigate the damage on our economy.

But then that's where the disagreement starts because mitigating the damage to consumers today means taking some tough votes in this House of Representatives. One tough one was May 20 of last year, rollcall 332. Now, that seemed a no-brainer to me, but it was really tough on the Republican side, and the gentleman from Illinois voted against it.

It was to have the Justice Department, United States Justice Department, investigate collusion by the OPEC Nations to unnecessarily constrain supply and drive up the price for American consumers. That was a tough vote for the gentleman from Illinois. He voted ``no.'' He didn't think the Justice Department should investigate. I also have a bill saying the President should file a complaint against the OPEC countries in the WTO.

You know, the Bush administration, in fact, is now investigating collusion by OPEC. They still haven't filed a complaint in the WTO. So the Bush administration is taking a step that the gentleman from Illinois opposed, investigating collusion which is gouging consumers. We need a new energy future, but we don't need to allow our consumers to be price gouged on the way there.

Mr. Wu raised another issue which the gentleman just brushed off, which is the whole issue that credible analysts say, because of the Enron loophole--remember, Ken Boy? He might be dead but his memory lives on, and about 50 cents a gallon for the American people. Ken Boy Lay of Enron, one of the President's best buddies, got a special loophole from this Republican Congress deregulating derivatives in energy trading so that they could speculate. Well, he's dead, Enron's bankrupt, but the speculation is rampant.

And experts tell us probably 50 cents on every gallon, 50 cents on every gallon today, you want to give immediate relief, reregulate the commodities market. You're not regulating the price of gas. You're just saying you can't have derivatives and you can't have Morgan Stanley holding more futures contracts and more fuel than ExxonMobil. Just reregulate the market. They can't self-deal. Just reregulate the market. Just bring some regular trading back to that market that existed before 2000. You could save tomorrow 50 cents a gallon.

Now, you can talk about ANWR, and he talked about it with great certainty. I've been sitting in on debates for 20 years over ANWR. One well was drilled. What was there we don't know. It was proprietary. There are estimates from a little bit to a lot of oil. But he knows exactly how much is there, interesting, and how much revenue it would bring, even more interesting, since right now oil from Alaska can and is being exported from the United States of America. I guess he's worried about the Chinese energy problem because that's most likely where any additional supply from Alaska would go until we develop more refinery capacity, which the industry refuses to do. And there are ways to drive them to make that investment, but the gentleman doesn't support that legislation either, which I've introduced.

So we're hearing a lot of bloviating and talk on that side of the aisle because Republicans are running scared because their coffers have been filled by this industry for years and they were put into power and Bush was put into the White House and Dick Cheney was put into the Vice President's mansion by this industry. And this industry is kind of unpopular right now.

So they want to pretend they want to do something 10, 15, 20 years out. Let's even bring it a little closer in. The gentleman again talked about ANWR. Well, right just a little way away from ANWR, guess what, there's something Bill Clinton leased called the Naval Petroleum Reserve. We know there's oil under that. Bill Clinton leased it. Bill Clinton's been gone seven-and-a-half years. How time flies.

How many producing wells are there in the Naval Petroleum Reserve drilled by American companies who have leased that reserve? None, not one, not a single one.

So, if the need is to get more production going in Alaska, how about they drill the wells in the Naval Petroleum Reserve where we know there's oil as opposed to pretending there might be oil in ANWR, and we could drill way over there, and it's also a lot further from the existing pipeline and other shipping capabilities.

So there's a heck of a lot of stuff, as I said earlier in my 45-second response--I regret I didn't have time at that point to yield to the gentleman. He's not here now. I would have given him at least 30 seconds--to develop out there, but the industry isn't developing it. Ten thousand permits that haven't been actuated, and they start talking about Illinois.

These Federal leases aren't in Illinois. I'm not aware of any Federal leases in Illinois for oil exploration. These are off the coast where 80 percent of the supply is accessible through existing leases. The industry just hasn't seen fit to develop it. Why not? Because it's working really well for them right now. Record prices. They don't really care about supply. They sure as heck don't want more supply to bring down the price.

Plain and simple, they're extorting the American people. They're extorting through collusion with OPEC. They're extorting through speculation in the energy markets, and they're extorting by withholding their drilling from leases they already have while pretending they need more. Plain and simple, it's a scam.

And I'm really disappointed that the gentleman is going to oppose my bill later when he talks about all the revenue that could be realized, when right now royalty-free oil is flowing out of the gulf because of a bureaucratic error, and he doesn't want to fix that problem because he thinks the oil companies need the money more than my counties and schools, and we'll hear more about that later.


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