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Public Statements


Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

ENERGY -- (Senate - July 17, 2008)


Mr. WARNER. Mr. President, I have a long history of supporting opening the OCS to drilling. Aside from being a longtime supporter of opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, I have also engaged in attempts to open the Pacific, Atlantic, and Gulf Coasts to drilling.

While we were successful in opening a portion of the gulf, the Pacific and Atlantic coasts remain off limits.

Instead of focusing my effort on all the off-limit portions of the OCS, I have concentrated over the last year on opening the coast of Virginia, for exploration of natural gas only. I think the history on this effort demonstrates a momentum shift in the minds of my colleagues.

In June 2007, I offered an amendment to the Energy Policy Act of 2007 that would allow for the exploration of natural gas in Virginia only. Extraction of natural gas could only occur if the Governor and State legislature approve such a move.

That vote lost by a vote of 44 nays and 43 yeas.

Of those 44 nays, there are two Senators who are now cosponsors of the Gas Price Reduction Act, a bill that includes a drilling title.

With the nonvoting Members, I think we could win this vote today, on an up-or-down vote.

This fact is significant because it represents a shift in momentum and the way my colleagues are now thinking of rectifying this energy crisis in which our Nation finds itself.

Mr. President, I commend my distinguished colleague, whom I have been these 30 years sharing this floor with from time to time.

Mr. DOMENICI. That is right.

Mr. WARNER. We have collaborated on so many things together.

Mr. DOMENICI. That is right.

Mr. WARNER. But now, as both of us are looking forward to quietly stepping down, I say to the Senator, you are carrying as full a weight as you ever did, and you are the man of the hour among our peer group to work on this energy question because of the depth and background you have on this subject.

Mr. DOMENICI. Thank you, sir.

Mr. WARNER. So I commend you on your efforts with respect to drilling. But I wonder if you would bear with me a minute. Several years ago, I started on this, trying to drill offshore. Do you remember that?

Mr. DOMENICI. Yes, sir, I do.

Mr. WARNER. You always said to me, well, there will come a time.

Mr. DOMENICI. Yes, sir.

Mr. WARNER. But I kept putting in bill after bill, and Senator Alexander joined me on one. And now--

Mr. DOMENICI. The time is here.

Mr. WARNER. The President has joined, and the time is here.

Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to have printed in the Record a list of the votes that were actually cast on my amendment at one time, where I lost by--it was actually 44 to 43--1 vote.


Mr. WARNER. Or I would have received a majority vote at that time, notwithstanding the 60 votes required for passage, and we might be a little further down the road if that had happened.

There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in the RECORD, as follows:


Mr. WARNER. But I wish to say how pleased I am to see you vigorous and strong, and with our distinguished leader, Senator McConnell, leading the charge. I hope we get it up here and let these 100 Senators speak their will.

Mr. DOMENICI. Thank you. I am glad to be at our Republican leader's side on this issue and help wherever I can.

Mr. WARNER. We share that.

Mr. DOMENICI. We are aware this is a real big, big-time American problem, as hard as any kind of problem as we have had.

Mr. WARNER. I say to the Senator, go back and look at your mailbox, look at your e-mail, look at the hundreds of communications each of us are receiving every day.

Mr. DOMENICI. You bet.

Mr. WARNER. These people are gathered--I would say almost a quarter of Americans are gathered around the kitchen table every night looking at the increased costs in their food, the increased costs in their heating and their gasoline, trying to figure out how they are going to make ends meet, with relatively small amounts of dollars in the overall picture. But to them, it is the difference between buying a little extra food and having the choice to forego it.

I yield the floor.


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