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Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2012, Part II

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. SCALISE. Mr. Chairman, I want to thank the gentleman from Florida for yielding and for bringing this legislation forward and, specifically, want to talk about title III of this bill, and that deals with the RESTORE Act.

Of course, this Friday will mark the 2-year anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon disaster. People all across the country saw for weeks and weeks oil coming into the Gulf of Mexico, destroying ecosystems, destroying economic industries. And yet, still to this day, there is no mechanism in place to dictate what should happen to those fines that BP and the other responsible parties will have to pay under the Clean Water Act.

In this component, the RESTORE Act actually sets that policy out. And it was the result of a compilation of work by Republicans and Democrats from all five Gulf Coast States who came together and recognized that the most responsible thing to do would be to dedicate that money, 80 percent of those fines, to the Gulf Coast States so that we actually have revenue to go and restore the damage that's been done.

I think most people recognize the right thing to do is to dedicate that money, not to send it up to Washington to be spent on things unrelated, but to actually allow us to restore the damage that was done in the Gulf of Mexico from that tragedy, and that's what this bill does.

The mechanism is in place, and as we go to a conference committee, I feel very confident we can get to a point where we have the full RESTORE Act in the final product so that there is no question that there is a commitment from this Congress that the Gulf Coast States ought to have the ability to restore the damage that was done during that tragedy.

Of course, another component of this bill is the Keystone pipeline. And I think as we look at the dilemma so many families are facing with escalating gas prices, the fact that you've got gas prices in some places already over $4 a gallon, experts predicting $5 a gallon gasoline, and here we have a friend in Canada saying that they want to send a million barrels a day of oil to America, which is a million barrels a day we don't have to get from these Middle Eastern countries who don't like us, sending billions of dollars to people, in essence, funding the enemy in some of these terrorist battles across the Middle East.

We've got the ability to create 20,000 jobs and secure our energy security. I look forward to passage of this legislation.


Mr. SCALISE. Mr. Chairman, I thank my friend from southwest Louisiana for bringing this amendment forward.

As a proud cosponsor of the RAMP Act, I support this legislation because what we're trying to say here is that

you've got people that have been paying into this fund. This Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund has been there for years, and people have been paying into it, and the intention all along was that money would be used to dredge our waterways and to upgrade our locks and to keep our infrastructure along our waterways up to date so that we can continue moving commerce, not only throughout this country, but to be able to export and to be able to get commerce through to other countries. The Panama Canal is getting ready to come on line in 2013, and even deeper draft vessels are going to be coming through. That means we've got to be able to meet that demand, otherwise we're going to lose that business to foreign nations.

And yet here you have the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, and that money is not even being used for its intended purpose. We've got to ensure that the fund cannot be raided for other government spending. That's what this amendment does. It's something that will help us create jobs and increase the competitiveness of our workers, and it will keep that promise that has been made to those people who have been paying billions of dollars into this fund, and yet that fund hasn't been used properly.

I support the amendment and urge its passage.


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