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Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2012

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. JOHNSON of Georgia. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.

The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman is recognized for 5 minutes.

Mr. JOHNSON of Georgia. Having set sail in search of new shores for pirating and profiteering, it's quite apparent that the GOP is lost at sea under the helm of a confused, misguided leadership. Under the guise of austerity and deficit reduction, they have plotted our Nation on a fateful course that will only result in the surging of torrents of sewage, untreated chemicals and other hazardous materials into our rivers, streams and creeks, along with factories, plants and refineries belching smoke, smog and mercury into our blue skies. Sick children and the aged who suffer from asthma, respiratory illnesses, they'll get sicker and sicker, while oil and gas companies and mining companies get fatter and fatter.

Mr. Chair, as I see it, this bill is nothing more than an attempt to remove 40 years of Federal laws that protect our air, water, land, and wildlife. Only in a Republican-controlled House would we increase access to oil and gas leases, while reducing our ability to ensure drilling operations are environmentally safe.

Only in a Republican-controlled House would we reduce the ability of States to safely manage their sewage and wastewater run off.

And, Mr. Chair, only in a Republican-controlled Congress would we allow more uranium mining near the Grand Canyon.

Mr. Chair, these efforts are opposed by the majority of Americans who believe in oversight of drilling operations, protection from tainted drinking water, and those who believe that the Grand Canyon, with all of its majestic beauty, should be a natural national treasure for the enjoyment of families and tourists, not a wasteland laid bare by mining companies whose insatiable appetite for profit is equaled only by the magnitude of the damage they would inflict upon our environment.

These aren't the rants and raves of liberal environmentalists hell-bent on protecting nature at all costs. These are the sentiments of red-blooded Americans who believe that our natural resources, like the Grand Canyon, improve our quality of life.

The American people don't want progress if progress means that our skies get darker, our water gets murkier, and they don't want our wildlife to go extinct, but clearly that will be the effect of this bill should this ill-gotten measure pass.

Mr. Chairman, day after day, week after week, and month after month House Republicans hand out life preservers to special interests while kicking the American people overboard like the bundled tea kicked overboard by the real tea partiers at the start of the American Revolution. Sure our children have asthma, but big business gets to pump more pollution into our air. Sure our water is tainted, but special interests get to dump runoff in our streams. Yes, our endangered species are slowly fading away, but now we can drill in their habitats. What happens, Mr. Chairman, when our air becomes too dirty to breathe, when our water becomes too dirty to drink, and when our wildlife all go extinct?

I urge a ``no'' vote on this bill. But before I close, I would like to remind my colleagues across the aisle that the captain always goes down with the ship. And that's the real deal.

Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.


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