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Revolutionary War And War Of 1812 Battlefield Protection Act - Motion To Proceed

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. COBURN. Madam President, the American people should pay very close attention this week. We are going to have on the floor what the majority leader calls a ``noncontroversial'' bill; a noncontroversial bill, in that we are going to take 3 million acres and deem it untouchable for further energy for this country; noncontroversial in that we are going to spend--in mandatory spending yearly from now on out--$900 million a year on things you will never see the benefit of; noncontroversial in terms of taking specific areas with known, proven oil and gas reserves--300 million by the Department of the Interior's estimation in one field alone--to the tune of 300 million barrels of oil and 13 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Yet it is noncontroversial.

The other thing we should be aware of is that throughout this omnibus lands bill there are 150 different individual bills, 50 of which never had a hearing in the House--they were voted on in the Senate in committee but most had never had a hearing--and we are going to step all over private property rights in this Nation. We are not going to do it directly, we are going to do it through laws that we refer to in this omnibus package that allows the bureaucracy--the faceless bureaucracy--to now utilize portions of preexisting acts to take land by eminent domain.

You are going to hear: Well, that is a small portion. It is specifically prevented in certain portions of the bill. They do say that. But they do not obviate the law. In this omnibus bill are 70 or 80 bills that I would happily pass, because I don't think they have a profound negative impact on our future. But there are 70 or 80 of the bills which I think have a profound negative impact on the future, and I readily admit to trying to stop this bill in the past. I will put forward that I will do everything in my power as an individual Senator to, if not stop it, slow it down so that the American people will actually know every aspect of everything that is in this bill.

This bill is over 2,000 pages. There has never been one amendment. There has never been one amendment allowed on the Senate floor to alter this bill. So I look forward to a debate. I look forward to an open amendment process that does not allow veto by the other side of what we want to try to amend and when we want to try to amend it. But I pledge to use every parliamentary tactic I have at my disposal to defend the right to amend this bill.

Some may say: Well, you have a lost cause. Why don't you give it up, Senator Coburn, and let them have it. They are going to win. The reason we shouldn't let them win on this--although there are good things in this bill--is because we are setting a precedent with a very weak foundation underneath us for our future energy needs. Recently, in the last 6 weeks, we had a Federal judge in Utah abandon and prohibit energy exploration because it was close to a wilderness area. We have had the Department of the Interior rescind energy exploration permits that were duly granted under a full and proper process because it was not environmentally acceptable.

What is not acceptable is to deny the fact that even if we get to a totally green energy source, it is going to take us 20 years to do it. What is not acceptable is to continue to send our hard-earned dollars out of this country when in fact we could provide that same energy without sending those dollars out of this country and increase our own economic base and freedom and prosperity.

I look forward to the debate. I plan on voting no on the motion to proceed, and I plan on using every tool I can to delay and obstruct this piece of legislation because it is not in the best long-term interest of our country.

A bill that is 150 bills or 160 bills comes to the floor with many people as proponents. The question Americans ought to ask their Senator is: Even though you get something for us, is this a good deal for us? Is this something with which we want to bless the other 149 bills throughout this mega, omnibus lands bill? Do you get something that is good for the country as a whole, that is good for the country in the long term, that benefits the next two generations; do we do so in a way that is prudent, efficient, effective, and manageable? The answer to that question is no. It is no today, it is going to be no tomorrow, and it will be no after we have done this and look back on it 10 years from now.

We live in a make-believe world where we think we can have our cake and eat it too. We can't. The fact is we are tremendously reliant on carbon sources of energy. We need to quit abandoning our own sources until we can be carbon free. This bill takes us a long way toward taking off multiple areas of both potential and proven reserves of natural gas, geothermal, and oil which we should be utilizing for our own benefit and our own future.

With that, I yield the floor.

I suggest the absence of a quorum.


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