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Public Statements

Energy Development

Location: Washington, DC

ENERGY DEVELOPMENT -- (House of Representatives - June 11, 2008)


Mr. LATTA. I thank the gentleman for yielding, and he speaks the truth. This country is in a crisis and we are not listening. The folks back home get it. But we are not getting it. It is time we do.

I would like to start off with this. This is kind of sobering. Right now the United States uses 21 percent of the world's energy. If you look across this chart, in 2010 we still have energy supremacy and usage over India and China. When you look at 2015, those two countries together will be consuming more energy than the United States. When we get to 2020, China is going to be consuming more energy than the United States. And just look at the chart as it goes across, the United States is barely moving while China is making leaps and bounds. The question is, what does that all mean. It means this: energy means jobs. Those are American jobs. The folks

back home get it. Congress doesn't get it.

I come from the Fifth Congressional District of Ohio which is the ninth largest manufacturing district of the 435 districts in Congress. I also represent the number one agricultural district in the State of Ohio. What does it mean, if we don't have energy, we don't have jobs. Companies out there are looking, we look at this chart, companies are looking at where can they get energy. How are they going to keep their jobs and keep their people employed. Farmers are out there right now in our State planting, and some people say farmers are getting these high prices this year. Let's look at some facts.

When they are buying diesel and buying fertilizer that is also made from oil, when they are buying their chemicals that they are putting on the field made from oil products, they are not making that much money.

What does that mean to the consumer? Very simple, the consumers when they go to the grocery store are finding that prices are going up for milk, bread and cereal. It is all going up.

Looking down the road, when you are paying $4 a gallon for gasoline, you are paying more for food and it is costing you more to get to work. I have talked to a lot of my manufacturers in Ohio in my district, and I asked how far do most people drive to work. It is not unusual to have people say people are driving 50 or 60 miles to get to work. So when we look at people who are driving maybe 100 miles round trip every day, 500 miles a week, and $4 a gallon for gasoline, some folks are saying I'm not sure I can afford this job. We can't have that happen.

As the gentleman from Pennsylvania mentioned about Dow, we have a company in my district, a float glass company, the price of their fuel for natural gas in a 5-year period of time has gone from $10 million to $30 million. What does that mean for America? There are only 37 float glass facilities left in this country. The Chinese are building 40 as we stand here today and bicker, unfortunately, about doing something in this country about oil and our energy usage and needs. They have the energy and they are going to have a cheaper labor supply, I am going to ask you in the future, where are you going to buy a window pane that is made in the United States of America? Or where are you going to buy a windshield that is made in the United States of America? They will not be made in this country at all. And the gentleman from Pennsylvania is absolutely correct, more and more products are being made offshore and those are American jobs. We can't afford that.

What made this country great is very simple. After the Civil War, the Industrial Revolution really kicked into high gear. We had all the natural resources in the country, and we were able to produce for the world, and we produced for the world for years. We had the head start on everybody, of course, after World War II when the rest of the world lay in ruins and the United States' factories were humming. But the rest of the world is catching up, if not surpassing us, and this chart shows it. And we can't afford it.

What is the rest of the world doing? France, 70-80 percent of their power is nuclear. They are exporting power to the rest of Europe.

Japan, 55 nuclear reactors, two under construction.

China, they are building 40 nuclear power stations in the next 25 to 30 years.

India, 30 plants in the next 25 years.

Coal. That was talked about earlier. China and India use 45 percent of the world's coal. China is building coal-powered plants as we speak and putting them online right now. They are investing $24 billion in clean coal technology.

The gentleman mentioned they are also out there building the Three Gorges hydroelectric plant. Again, it is a communist country and they are not worried about displacing millions of people, but they are going to have that power station producing electricity to make sure that they are producing.

It has been mentioned how China is drilling onshore and offshore and right off our shore. But the real question is what is the United States doing on all of this? And this scares people, absolutely nothing. Absolutely nothing.

The last nuclear power plant to be licensed in this country was in 1977; 1977. The last one to go online was in 1996; 1996. We have 24 percent of the coal in the world; 24 percent. But what are we doing, nothing. You mention coal in this Chamber, and it is an absolute no. We have to have it.

In Ohio we have what they call high-sulfur coal so it is very, very expensive to burn because you need to have it clean. But if you burn it in a closed system, you don't have those emissions. What does that mean for Ohio, we will put miners to work and we will have companies that make steel to make the coal gasification plants out there, making those parts, and we will have people building those plants. And we will be able to consume that power in this country because when we have 24 percent of the world's coal reserves right now, we can get a lot done. But what are we doing about it, absolutely nothing.

What about oil. Again, when you have China out there doing everything it possibly can to make sure that they have their oil supplies up, they are putting thousands of cars on the road. A lot of people say we don't understand what is going on out there. Well, there is only so much oil out there in the world right now, and only so much of it has been refined. The whole world is now consuming more and other areas are producing more, but not in this country.

One of the things that we should be doing is, as the gentleman from Pennsylvania mentioned, we've got to be drilling. We've got to be exploring. And one of the places we've been talking about a lot is ANWR in Alaska.

As has already been mentioned, how big are we talking here? We're talking one-half of 1 percent of that area. Of 19.6 million acres, total, we're only talking 2,000 acres.

Anybody who has ever done any title work, you know that a section of land is only 640 acres, which is 1 square mile. We're talking a little over 3 square miles. Three square miles. And we're talking about an area of 19.6 million acres, and we're not allowed to go in there and produce?

And there's estimated that we have 10.4 billion barrels of oil that we can extract up there. What's it all about?

That's twice the proven oil reserves in Texas, almost half of the total U.S. proven reserves of 21 billion barrels. What are we doing? What's this Congress doing? Absolutely nothing.

But we are doing something that this past year we almost imported 65 percent of the oil that we need to use in this country; 65 percent of the oil being imported into this country.

We talked about it a little bit earlier. We're watching our dollars flow overseas. What's that all mean to America?

We have a $9 trillion national debt right now. What scares the devil and daylights out of me is this little fact. $2.4 trillion of that national debt is owned by foreign countries. The Chinese almost now own almost one-half of $1 trillion of American debt. That's what's happening.

You know, the American people out there, again, they get it. This Congress doesn't.

Again, as the gentleman mentioned earlier, right now it's estimated there's 420 trillion cubic feet of natural gas offshore and 86 billion barrels of oil. 85 percent of that's off-limits, and we can't afford that. We can't afford that for the future.

Onshore, it's estimated there's, on Federal lands, 31 billion barrels of oil and 231 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. And again, it's restricted down to access, which does not allow Americans to be getting that. 92 percent on Federal lands for oil and 90 percent for natural gas. We can't get to it. What civilized country in the world allows this to happen? Not very many. But right here in this country it's happening. It's happening here, ladies and gentlemen, and we're doing nothing.

The old saying is, ``Rome burned and Nero fiddled.'' That's what's happening.

We haven't built a new refinery in this country, talk about problems, in two-and-a-half decades. I'm fortunate in my district, just by coincidence, that I have a company that produces solar panels. Over 99 percent of their production goes overseas to Europe. We have another plant that's going to be constructed. Solar is another area out there. It's good supplemental power.

We also have the only four wind turbines located in the State of Ohio. I can see them out my back door in Bowling Green. We only have four. There's a lot of objection now because people say they're unsightly; they don't want them; build them someplace else.

But when you talk about wind-powered turbines, to kind of get an idea how many you have to have to equal something, you have to have between 600 to 800 turbines to equal one coal-fired plant, or anywhere from 1,250 to 1,700 wind turbines to equal one nuclear power plant. If we're having problems around Bowling Green in Ohio, getting turbines built, how are we going to build 1,700 turbines if people are objecting to a few?

Because now in Ohio the Division of Wildlife is going to have to start making assessments what birds might be killed, or a bat. And it's going to be blocking them.

We also have an ethanol plant in my district. We're working on biofuels. It's all out there. But we've got to be acting and we've got to be acting now. We can't wait. The American people can't wait because we've got to be getting this done today.

This country, 10, 20 years ago, had the ability to make mistakes and say, well, in a few years, okay, we can get it corrected. We can't do that today. Why can't we do that today? Because the rest of the world has caught on and they're moving. Every day that we do not act they are, and we're falling farther and farther behind.

That's American oil, energy that we have to be producing, and we're not doing it.

I introduced a House resolution not too long ago, 1206, and it's really pretty basic what we need to be doing. Just a few points. We have to expand the use of our renewables and alternative energy sources. We have to increase the U.S. domestic refining capacity. We have to promote, incentivize an increase in the conservation and energy efficiency, expand and promote additional research and development through new and innovative methods, such as public-private partnerships, and enhancing the consumer awareness and education regarding methods to increase energy efficiency and available alternative fuel sources to reduce our dependence on middle eastern oil.

But the time's getting short. The clock's ticking, and America must act now.

I thank the gentleman from Pennsylvania, and I yield back.


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