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Energy in America

Location: Washington, DC

ENERGY IN AMERICA -- (House of Representatives - June 03, 2008)


Mr. CARTER. I thank the gentleman and my good friend for yielding and allowing me to talk on this. You know, having two Texans here, somebody is going to be saying, Well, there they are in Texas again, talking about energy. And we know something about it. But let me tell you about a couple of energy experts that I ran into when I held a little impromptu event of standing around a service station in my district and talking to the people at the pumps as they pulled up to buy gasoline and diesel.

The first memorable energy expert that I remember was a lady that pulled up there and she had a baby, I would say about 2 years old, and then she had probably the age 6, 7, 8-year-old girl in the car who looked like she was on her way to her ballet lesson. I said, I wanted to ask your opinion on gasoline prices. This lady started crying. She said, I am a single mom. I have got three kids, two of which I have to transport to everything that they go to. I don't want to deprive my children of anything that they can go to, like their ballet lessons or their ball games. But I just don't know how I am going to be able to feed my family and be able to take my kids around, with the price of gasoline.

That is an energy expert. This lady knows that the fact that we have failed in our energy policy in this country has caused her to have a harm imposed upon her family. There's not much you can say to that energy expert but I'm sorry, ma'am. We are trying.

Then we have another energy expert that pulled up there, and he had a plumbing truck. And he was a family plumbing business in Georgetown, Texas. I asked him how he felt about the energy business. He said, Well, I will tell you what, partner. The price of plumbing in this part of Texas is going up, and it's going up in a big way. Me and my boys are running four trucks. And he said, I am telling you, the cost of fuel going up is killing us,

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and we are going to pass it on to our customers, and the price of plumbing is going up. And he says, You know the old joke about plumbers charging more than lawyers? Well, I guarantee it's going to be that way from now on. I laughed and said, Yes, sir. I hear what you're saying. He said, I hope you hear what I am saying.

I wanted to share that story with you because that story took place 2 1/2 years ago when gasoline hit $2.85 a gallon. That was that same 2 1/2 years ago when the Republicans were in the majority in the House of Representatives. When they took their shots, they were taking them at me, because the party that I belong to was the party in power and we were being heavily criticized for $2.85 a gallon gasoline.

Fortunately, that gasoline went down some and it lightened up after a point in time, but the criticism continued about the price of gasoline. And in the last election, we had promises that there was a plan to bring down the price of gasoline, absolutely commonsense plan to bring down the price of gasoline. Well, since that promise, I think gasoline has gone up $1.65 a gallon. At least when I was home this last week, gasoline in my part of Texas was $3.95 a gallon. I understand now it's over $4 a gallon.

I have to think back to that lady and those kids and that family plumber with his boys and their business and all those people who are having the services and are having the relationships with those people. Those were the kind of oil and gas and energy experts we ought to start listening to.

There is a commonsense solution to our energy problem. I want to tell you that at the time that I was talking about previously, then-Chairman Barton had presented an energy plan that was excellent; that sought energy from all sources, including renewables, but certainly looked at the oil and gas resources, coal resources, atomic energy resources that are available to this country. Yet, that bill was killed by the Democrats in the Senate and got nowhere. We are now sitting here looking at a worse situation than that by almost two. And we are not getting anything done.

As my colleague pointed out, while we are doing this, the Chinese Communists are drilling off the shores of Florida in Cuban waters. But we don't drill in those waters. Did you know that last year the oil and gas industry in the drilling process spilled one tablespoon of oil worldwide? One tablespoon. Yet, we are not willing to even take a look at seeking the resources that were there.

When I was a kid, I guess I was in high school, they had an article in the Houston paper where they talked about the dwindling resources in the oil and gas business. My father worked for an oil company. So I was concerned. And I asked him about it and he told me, son, there's shale oil in the Rocky Mountains but it's too expensive to go get. When the price is right, we will be able to harvest trillions of barrels of oil from the mountain regions of our country. That oil is still there and the price is available now to where it's worth going after. We should seek the resources that will bring down the price. The American-made power is what our American citizens are asking us for. They are begging us for it.

When you go home now, I guarantee you there's not a member of this House that if they went home and stayed home this last Memorial Day break, if they didn't have somebody ask them about the price of gasoline, they must have been deaf or slept through the whole period. Because they asked me at church, they asked me at the grocery store, they asked me at the service station, everybody that saw me, and they asked me everywhere I went, even at the hospital.

So, you know, when you're sitting there realizing that the American family is now suffering and looking down the road and saying there is no relief in sight, it's time for us to wake up America, wake up this Congress. Let's do that bipartisan work that so many people are bragging about right now. Let's do it, and let's do it now.

Let's do all the energy resources that are available to Americans. Let's don't be afraid of one or another industry. The American intelligence can make every one of these resources clean and available and nonpolluting to this country. We have proven it. Let's look off the coast of California and let's look off the coast of Florida and let's look in Alaska, let's go to known reserves, and let's take care of that lady and those three kids so that she has affordable gasoline so she can live her life in the kind of good, free manner that Americans and Texans want to live.

I thank Mr. Barton, my good friend, for allowing me to come here and talk about this. I am no energy expert. I just know that the American people are. And they want energy that provides the ability to drive their automobiles and heat their homes and light our world and give us the prosperity of industry that will keep us going. If we have that, we will have done our job, and this is our job today.


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