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Red Tape Reduction and Small Business Job Creation Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. FARENTHOLD. I rise in opposition to this amendment which would provide an exception for regulations that attempt to manipulate the price of oil, gas, and other fuels.

As I was listening to my colleague from across the aisle, I was struck by the fact that he didn't actually mention any possible regulations that could do that. I also would like to point out that our hands, as Congress, are not tied. This bill ties the hands of regulators.

If he is able to come up with a good idea to lower fuel prices, he can bring it to Congress, we can pass it, the Senate can pass it, and the President can sign it, just the way the Founding Fathers intended.

Just to be clear, I also want to point out that nothing in H.R. 4078 prevents the administration from taking any number of actions that would increase the supply of domestic oil and gas and lower the price of gasoline at the pump. The passage of this amendment, however, would do nothing to lower the price at the pump.

Now, I realize this amendment seems to preserve the option to impose price controls. That's the only thing I could think of that it could do. We learned back in the 1970s that price control does nothing but lead to shortage and lines at the gasoline pump. There's absolutely no reason we need to return to the failed policies of the Carter administration.

Now, if the current administration were truly interested in providing relief at the pump, there are any number of actions they could do to increase the supply of oil and gasoline and lower the price at the pump. But the Obama administration's done little to tap into vast domestic resources that would increase the supply of American oil.

Rather, under President Obama, permitting and leasing on Federal land is actually down. Alas, the President has also vetoed or is opposed to the Keystone pipeline, which would have connected not only Canadian oil to refineries in the South but would have also have connected the new finds in North Dakota in the Bakken shale sands.

Canadian sands production is expected to double to 3 million barrels a day between 2010 and 2020, and domestic oil production will increase by as much as 20 percent. The lack of a Keystone XL-like pipeline means slower, less reliable, and less safe forms of transportation that will continue to necessitate transporting domestic oil from North Dakota by much more expensive and much less safe means of truck and rail, rather than pipelines.

Lowering the cost of that transportation would lower the cost of that crude oil and would lower the cost of gasoline at the pump. As a matter of fact, a barrel of North Dakota Sweet sells for $62. That's lower than the international price of oil, predominantly because of the additional transportation costs necessary to bring it down to be refined in the refineries that are currently set up in this country.

If this Bakken oil were made available to the rest of the country we would see an economic boom. We would see lower prices for gasoline at the pump. We would see more jobs in America. The east coast, in particular, needs this oil and this gas made available to bring costs down.

Bakken may lead to some price relief there. But it will also open Canadian oil. We talk about energy independence, but realistically, North America is the energy unit that we should be looking at for providing our source. As we tap resources throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico, we are going to be able to become energy independent much more rapidly than anyone ever thought as these new technologies develop to let us reach oil and gas deposits that we never, even 10 years ago, thought was possible.

I was talking to a geologist just recently when I attended a field hearing in North Dakota, and he told me, when he was in school, they always considered shale to be the source and would never be able to tap it. But technology has proved that wrong. And, in fact, even with our current technology, we're only getting a small percentage of the actual oil trapped in that shale.

I'm confident that, as our technology develops, that is going to become more and more available, and this is going to take care of it.

But what we know is what's running up the price of oil and gas is excessive government regulation. And if we can put a hold on government regulation, so our businesses can know what they have to do to comply with those regulations, and not have the goalposts moved in the middle of the game, we'll have new refining infrastructure built, we'll have new factories built, we'll have new jobs created, and we will get to an unemployment rate of 6 percent a whole lot faster, I think, than anybody is predicting.

This bill is a rational step to put the brakes on an oppressive government that is stifling job creation. And carving holes in it and creating loopholes, like this amendment would do, only weakens that and will slow our path to recovery. So I urge my colleagues to defeat this amendment.

I yield back the balance of my time.


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