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Public Statements

Energy Crisis

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

I thank the gentleman for yielding. Thank you for the time.

I am absolutely convinced, Mr. Speaker, that this is a pivotal time in our public life and it's a pivotal time that doesn't come along very often, the sense of clarity that has emerged across the country when gasoline is now knocking on the door of $4.50 a gallon all across the country. Today as I left Wheaton, Illinois, $4.17 a gallon. As I'm out in town hall meetings, as I'm literally walking in the parades over the 4th of July, everybody is coming together and saying, look, let's do something about this. And rather than having this whole opportunity just be squandered away, we have got an opportunity to move forward. And, unfortunately, the orthodoxy that is developed on the other side of the aisle is what my predecessor, Henry Hyde, used to call ``government by bumper sticker.'' ``Government by bumper sticker'' says put cute little phrases on the backs of cars and that's the policy that is going to drive our country. Well, that's great. Bumper stickers are nice and cute when it's at $2.50 a gallon. But in my district you know what people are saying? Rip the bumper stickers off and let's get serious about bringing a national policy as it relates to energy independence for the United States of America so that we're not creating the same elements of great risk where right now, as you know, we are funding both sides of the war on terror. When we go to the gas pump and the money that we are putting in and the taxes that we are paying, yes, we're protecting ourselves from terrorism. We are protecting ourselves with homeland security and domestic security efforts and our whole military infrastructure. But we are also putting money in the hands of regimes that are hostile, that are exporting terrorism and are being very provocative on the world stage.

So, Mr. Speaker, we have got a chance today in this Congress to bring together a wide-ranging coalition that has an interest and a desire to move forward on energy independence, and I think that the time is now. Part of it has to be exploring and continuing to unlock American resources. Part of it has to be that. You can't do the math. You can't ultimately come up with the types of solutions that are going to satisfy our energy needs and simply ignore the resources that are available in the Arctic, the resources that are available in the Outer Continental Shelf. So that has got to be part of it.

Part of it is we have got to put nuclear power back into this mix. We have had great obstacles in the past as it relates to nuclear energy. Look at France. They have done a tremendous job harnessing that energy, moving it in ways that don't have the same types of emissions problems that other elements do. Nuclear energy has to be a part of it.

The types of funding resources that would be available if we were to unlock those American resources that I talked about a minute ago could fund many of the R and D types of projects. Let me tell you about one in my district. I represent an institution called the Gas Technology Institute, GTI, in Des Plaines, Illinois. It's a wonderful program, a public/private partnership. They are the types of folks that are doing the R and D that looks into emerging technologies, and then they help hand that off to industry and applied science. They have got a technology that they are on the verge of that is an anti-idling technology. So here's what happens: If you're a commercial truck, if you're a commercial bus, they waste tremendous energy as they are idling, as they are at stoplights and moving and not moving in traffic. Well, the technology that GTI is developing moves this so that in a nutshell it's a solid-fuel oxide that literally saves us in terms of the amount of energy that's used, the emissions that are emitted. It's that type of R and D that can undergird the types of things that the gentleman from Georgia has been talking about, Mr. Speaker.

There is a whole host of opportunities here, and it's dynamic. The public knows it. The public is crying out for what? The public is crying out for this body to act, for this body to get over the nonsense of ``government by bumper sticker,'' and to say, look, we can all come together. And we can get 218 Members, a majority of this House, to come together around commonsense ideas that strive for American energy independence. The gentleman from Illinois my colleague Mr. Shimkus has been a table pounder for clean coal technology. That can transform not only our region of the country in being an exporter, but it can literally transform how the United States begins to look in the future. So the opportunities are there.

I thank the gentleman for yielding. I'm very hopeful about what can come out of this. But it only comes out if there is a political will that develops that says we are going to put 218 votes up on that board and we're going to move the ball for the American public.

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