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Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2013

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. FLORES. I rise to offer an amendment which addresses another misguided and restrictive Federal regulation.

Section 526 of the Energy Independence and Security Act prevents Federal agencies from entering into contracts for the procurement of fuels unless their life cycles of greenhouse gas emissions are less than or equal to emissions from an equivalent conventional fuel produced from conventional petroleum sources. In summary, my amendment would stop the government from enforcing this ban on all Federal agencies funded by the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill.

The initial purpose of section 526 was to stop the Defense Department's plans to buy and develop coal-based and/or coal-to-liquids jet fuel. This restriction was based on the opinion of some environmentalists that coal-based jet fuel might produce more greenhouse gas emissions than traditional petroleum-derived fuels.

Unfortunately, the ban on the fuel choices of section 526 has been expanded to include all Federal agencies, not just the Defense Department. This is why I am offering this amendment to the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill.

Federal agencies should not be burdened with wasting their time in studying fuel restrictions when there is a simple fix. That fix is to not restrict our fuel choices based on extreme environmental views, bad policies and misguided regulations like those in section 526. Placing limits on Federal agencies' fuel choices is an unacceptable precedent to set in regard to America's energy independence and our national security.

Mr. Chairman, section 526 restrictions make our Nation more dependent on Middle Eastern oil. Stopping the impact of section 526 will help us to promote American energy, to improve the American economy, and to create American jobs. In addition, we must ensure that our military has adequate fuel resources so that it can rely on domestic and more stable sources of fuel.

With the increasing competition for energy and fuel resources and with the continued volatility and instability in the Middle East, it is now more important than ever for our country to become more energy independent and to develop and produce all of our domestic energy resources.

Mr. Chairman, in some circles there is a misconception that my amendment somehow prevents the Federal Government and our military from being able to procure and use alternative fuels such as biofuels. Mr. Chairman, this viewpoint is categorically false. All my amendment does is allow the Federal purchasers of fuels, particularly our military, to be able to acquire the fuels that best and most efficiently meet their needs.

I offered a similar amendment to the CJS appropriations bill, and it passed with bipartisan support. My identical amendments to the three other FY13 appropriations bills also passed by voice vote. My friend, Mr. Conaway, also had language added to the Defense authorization bill to exempt the Defense Department from this burdensome regulation.

Let's summarize the problems with section 526. Number one, it increases our reliance on Middle Eastern oil. Number two, it hurts our military readiness, our national security, and our energy security. Number three, it also prevents the potential increased uses of some sources of safe, clean, and efficient American oil and gas. Number four, it hurts American jobs and the American economy. And five, last but not least, it costs our taxpayers more of their hard-earned dollars.

My amendment fixes these problems, and I urge my colleagues to support the passage of this commonsense amendment.

With that, I yield back the balance of my time.


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