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Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2013

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. POLIS. Mr. Chairman, this amendment--and I appreciate my colleague from Virginia for helping to bring it forward here today--will help reduce the budget deficit by about $25 million.

At a time when we all know we need to make some of the hard cuts to balance our budget, why not make some of the easy cuts? Oil shale, and the research that's reduced under this amendment, does not exist in any economically viable fashion. In fact, many of the corporations and companies that would have the most self-interest in developing oil shale have given it not even a second priority or a third priority--a distant, distant priority--and have cut back on much of the research because there simply is no economically viable way to produce oil shale.

Again, at a time when we need to reexamine our priorities and we know that we need to balance our budget, why not save $25 million from a technology that doesn't exist and that we've already plowed billions of dollars of taxpayer money into.

We still contribute with our Federal resources with regard to any future potential that oil shale might have. There are several research leases in place and private companies continue to invest, although in decreasing amounts, in this technology.

What I think anybody opposed to this amendment would need to convince us of is why it is a justifiable use of taxpayer funds to continue to pursue this boondoggle of a technology that we have already sunken billions of dollars into with zero return for taxpayers, with zero return for energy independence, and with zero return for reducing energy prices for our country.

We in Colorado, and across the country, have a lot of reasonable concerns with regard to any potential future technology in terms of where the water is coming from and how and where it will be used. But fundamentally, for a prospective technology that is locally problematic in affected areas, why does this bill continue to invest good money after bad to continue to throw another $25 million down the billion-dollar hole that has been pursued and talked about for over a century.

The technology to, in an economically and viable way, extract oil shale simply does not exist. My amendment would save $25 million, reduce the deficit, allow private research to continue, and make sure that we continue an all-of-the-above approach to energy independence and reducing gas prices for our country.

I urge strong support of the Connolly-Polis amendment, and I yield back the balance of my time.


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