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Renewable Energy and Job Creation Act of 2008 - Motion to Proceed

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC



Mr. CHAMBLISS. Mr. President, I rise to discuss once again the rising cost of energy for Georgians and all Americans. My constituents continue to suffer due to the ever-increasing price of fuel. They are facing very difficult choices--between food and gasoline--between driving to work to earn money for their families and driving to the grocery store to feed their families.

I would like to take just a moment to read some of the letters I have received from my constituents that I think shed light on the real-world impact high gas prices are having on all Americans:

Mr. John Broomfield from Lawrenceville writes:

We are conserving, recycling, buying compact fluorescent lamps, driving less and slower, but we cannot do this alone. You in Congress must have the foresight and vision to pass policies that will actually help us. Please make it possible for our oil and energy companies to search for and extract our own natural resources. No matter where they are!

Mrs. Betty Byers from Marietta writes:

Dear Senator Chambliss,

I appreciate all you can do to help develop a program that will allow the exploration of our country's energy sources without materially affecting our environment. We need to break away from relying on other countries (even our enemies) for our energy supplies. The rising price of gasoline is hurting ALL Americans. PLEASE--put our families first before environmentalists. We are all hurting from the rising cost of gasoline. Please do something ASAP.

I was pleased to hear yesterday both President Bush and Senator McCain highlight their support for oil and gas leases in the Outer Continental Shelf. I think their public support for this effort will raise the profile of this important way in which Congress can act to help increase our supply of oil and gas to help lower gas prices for all Americans.

Is this the only answer? Absolutely not. But certainly this is the right direction to go.

The Department of the Interior released a comprehensive inventory of OCS resources in February 2006 that estimated reserves of 8.5 billion barrels of oil and 29.3 trillion cubic feet--tcf--of natural gas. Congress has imposed moratoria on much of the OCS since 1982 through the annual Interior appropriation bills.

Some contend that lifting the moratoria would pose unacceptable environmental risks and threaten coastal tourism industries.

First, that is simply not true. In 2005, we suffered significant damage in the gulf coast region of our country as a result of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Yet off the coast of Louisiana, off the coast of Mississippi, off the coast of Texas, off the coast of Alabama, where Hurricane Katrina came through, we saw not one drop of oil spilled even though there are hundreds and hundreds of oil-producing platforms in that region of the gulf.

I come from a coastal State. There is nothing I would ever do that would in any way endanger the pristine beaches in my State or the coastal regions of any other State. But, simply stated, we now have the technology in place to ensure that type of thing never happens.

Second, we can do this in a way that ultimately lets the individual coastal States decide whether or not to opt out of this moratorium. So instead of politicians in Washington dictating what will happen off the coast of my home State of Georgia, the people of Georgia and the Governor of Georgia will get the ultimate decision. I am hopeful the Senate will come together to take this first step to increase our supply.

Would I like to see more development? Sure. I support the development, not just of the OCS but in other regions of our country too, where we know we have vast resources of energy. We need to make sure that when we do explore, we do it in the right way, that we do nothing that will endanger the environment of any part of our country. But we do have the technology to make sure that happens--whether it is on the Outer Continental Shelf, whether it is in the shale of the Rocky Mountains, or whether it is in the ANWR region of Alaska or other areas of this country where geologists are fairly certain that we do have additional resources. This will add to the supply we have so that, long term as well as short term, we can see gas prices in this country stabilize and hopefully begin to come back down to something more reasonable than what we are looking at today.

I yield the floor.


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