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Blue Dogs

Location: Washington, DC

BLUE DOGS -- (House of Representatives - September 09, 2008)

Mr. SCOTT of Georgia. Thank you very much, Mr. Ross. Good to be with you again.

I thought I would just start for a few moments on the fact that we are going to vote on a ban to lift the ban on offshore drilling. Democrats are taking the lead and Democrats are moving forward in a very responsible way to take the ban off offshore drilling and drill.

What is important here are two points. One is that we need to make sure--and I understand that we are making sure--that whatever oil we are able to get from offshore drilling stays in America. This is a very tricky maneuver. Right now, as I understand it, all oil goes on the world market, but I do understand that we have the Continental Lands Act, and in that Act of 1953, as amended, it states that all oil that is discovered or pulled out of waters in the United States coastal areas will be American and will stay in America. That's very important.

That's the question that a lot of my constituents want to know, if we go, we get this oil, are we going to be able to keep this oil in America, because fundamentally, that's what's at issue. This is more than just a just basic energy crisis as we've had before. This is a national security issue of the highest regard.

I spent this afternoon for about 3 hours in our Foreign Affairs Committee talking with the Under Secretary of the Secretary of State and discussing the ramifications of Russia invading Georgia and what that was all about, and I hasten to add that this was all about, in many respects, energy and about Russia's position in that.

Europe gets 31 percent of its oil--I mean, we get a lot of ours from foreign sources, but right now, Europe gets 31 percent of its oil and gas from one Nation, Russia. There is a lot at stake that is going on in that part of the world, and underneath it all is oil and gas and energy and who's going to remain in control.

We need to understand that our basic charge is to get American dependent. So that part of the question has to be answered, and I think we've done that.

The other part is, and I think and I hope in this legislation, as we have worked and crafted--I might add that this legislation that's being crafted that we will vote on before we go back home on many, many sources. We're pulling in many ideas because no one has a monopoly on these ideas. Some of these ideas that we'll be voting on are contained in what the Senate calls the ``Gang of 10.'' That is very important.

But I think one aspect of that--and I've been very supportive of that--is that we will allow four to five States on the eastern seaboard, Georgia being one of them, to decide and opt in to whether they want to drill. We are going to have to come up with what the mileage is offshore, whether it's 3, 5, 10, 50 or 100 miles offshore. But I think we ought to entertain the possibility of allowing it open to every State, that every State may make that choice so that you're not deciding one or the other. Perhaps we will go in that direction, to allow the entirety of America, the United States of America, wherever we can get oil that we can keep, that is American dependent oil, we must do so, and wherever that drilling needs to take place, we must do so. And hopefully, that will be incorporated into the bill.

But we must not stop there. What we have more than any other country, we have the greatest amount of technology. Nobody's smarter than we are. We've got to unleash our technology, our scientists, our chemists, our engineers to go and hurry up and get alternative sources of fuel away from fossil fuels. We can't drill our way out, no matter what it is. There's just so much oil there. We've got to grow our way out of it.

And that's why we hope that this bill will be multifaceted, but drilling will be an important component on it, and we're excited for the future. I think the

American people can be proud of what the Congress is about to do.

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