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Providing for Consideration of H.R. 1231, Reversing President Obama's Offshore Moratorium Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Ms. HIRONO. Yes, indeed, the taxpayers are waiting for relief at the pump, but this bill is not it. I rise in opposition to this rule and to H.R. 1231.

Once again the House will vote on Republican legislation that takes a ``let's put all our eggs in one basket'' approach to our national energy policy. And what's their answer to high gas prices? Drill for more oil offshore, and preserve taxpayer subsidies for Big Oil. Big Oil gets $4 billion in subsidies from us taxpayers. This helped them rake in $35 billion in profits in the first quarter of 2011 alone. Meanwhile, my taxpayers in Hana, Maui, have to pay over $6 per gallon to fill up their cars to go to work. Do these taxpayers get a subsidy? No. People in Hawaii pay the highest gas prices in the country. When I was in Hawaii recently, my constituents were astonished to hear about the record profits and continuing subsidies that are provided to Big Oil.

At the same time that the Republican majority is defending subsidies for oil companies which don't lower the price at the pump, they're also working to cut Federal funding for clean, alternative energy, public transit, and energy efficient programs. They also, adding insult to injury, want to disarm the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which is the main cop on the beat when it comes to oil speculation. Republicans also want to pretend that there are no consequences to the near indiscriminate drilling authorized by these bills. Less than a year after the catastrophic BP oil spill, which was caused by lax regulation of a dangerous industry, they want us to undo the reforms that have been made. And for what?

The Energy Department's Energy Information Administration estimates that drilling authorized by these bills may lead to a measly 1.6 percent increase in domestic energy production from 2012 to 2030. That is not a prescription for relieving pain at the pump in the short term, and it's a poor strategy for long-term energy security. Instead, we need to invest in fuel-efficient technologies and expand our transportation options. We need to focus on harnessing clean alternative energy sources, and that way, we can leave our children a cleaner, healthier planet and wean ourselves from foreign oil. I urge my colleagues to vote against this rule and against this drill-only bill.


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