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Public Statements

Affordable Energy

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. GARDNER. I thank the gentlelady from Alabama for her leadership tonight on this very important issue about the energy future of the United States.

Mr. Speaker, she is right. The conversation that we are having isn't something that is just occurring tonight on the House floor. It's not a conversation that's just occurring inside the beltway of Washington, D.C. It's a conversation about energy that's happening in California, in Virginia, in my home State of Colorado. It's about a strong future for this country. It's about our children finding the kinds of jobs and opportunity that we know they deserve, a kind of country that is growing stronger each and every day with better jobs and a stronger and growing workplace.

Tonight I hope that people, Mr. Speaker, around the country will send thoughts to #AffordableEnergy. Mr. Speaker, if they wish to join in that conversation, they'll be able to participate, and we can all see around the country what's happening with that conversation in their own homes, at their own dinner table tonight at #AffordableEnergy and what it is that they're seeing, whether their utility rates are increasing, whether they have a job in one of the shale plays booming around the country, or perhaps they're trying to find work. And energy presents an incredible opportunity for them to do just that.

Often times in Washington, D.C., you see this fight break down between the House or the Senate or Republicans and Democrats unnecessarily so. We ought to be focused on what's right for this country, not what's right for a political party, not what's right for this group or that group or favoring this special interest. It ought to be about what's good for the American people, the jobs that they're trying to keep and hold on to, the college that they're trying to pay for for their kids, to build a brighter future for their family.

The conversation is one that we know isn't just about left or right. That's not what energy is. Energy is about how we can produce it here in the United States, what we can do in our own backyards to create a more vibrant future. All of us have our own energy experience, whether that's as kids when we were told by our parents to make sure you turn the light off before you leave the house, go up and turn the light off in your bedroom before you go to school, or whether it's today trying to run a business, trying to make sure we're using efficient computers to lower the cost of our utility bill year after year.


Mr. GARDNER. I think that you bring up an excellent point about this issue of regulations, about how the President has spent all of this time developing incredibly onerous regulations that will increase the cost of electric generation. It will increase the cost to produce the electricity that each and every one of us use every day at home and at our workplace.

And yet, it has taken years for him to develop this. And concentrating on this, this big announcement today, which will hurt American jobs. It will, indeed, impact negatively the middle class of this country. And yet, there's a project out there, like the Keystone XL pipeline, that he could approve today. After mountains of paperwork have been completed, environmental impact studies completed, people could be put to work today on the Keystone pipeline. Instead of focusing on putting them out of work, instead of focusing on regulations that will hurt our ability to grow the economy, like the President announced today, his plans to disarm our energy plans in this country, the fact is we could have a Keystone XL pipeline putting people back to work.

People that I talk to back in my district strongly support the Keystone pipeline. There are people in Colorado that I've heard from who don't support it. And one of the questions they lead with is: You know, Representative Gardner, it's not really going to create jobs here in Colorado. Well, you know what? We know, thanks to research that's been done, done by a university, the impact of the Alberta oil sands development on U.S. State economies, in Colorado alone, the job increase, thanks to the Alberta oil sands development--and the Keystone XL pipeline is a major part of this--that we would receive about 11,200 new jobs as a result of further development of the Alberta oil sands in Colorado alone. That's 11,000-some jobs that we could benefit from because of the construction of the Keystone pipeline and further development of the Alberta oil sands.

In North Carolina alone, my colleague from North Carolina, 18,400 jobs could come from further development of the Alberta oil sands, the Keystone pipeline being a critical part of that.

And so today, the President announces a plan to make it more difficult to generate electricity, to increase the cost of coal-power generation. His top science adviser has said we need a war on coal. This is the President of the United States saying we need a war on coal--his administration saying that--and yet today we have an opportunity to say ``yes'' to a pipeline to create jobs in this country.

So instead of putting people out of work, why don't we put people into work by approving things like the Keystone pipeline.


Mr. GARDNER. And I don't think that there can be any doubt that that's the President's intention under his plan that he announced today. The talk, the conversation, the focus tonight is about affordable energy. And there are people sending tweets around the country right now with the hashtag to affordable energy, hashtag affordable energy, about that very subject tonight.

But if you listen to the pattern of statements the President has made over the past several years, from the time he was a candidate to his administration today, as a candidate, President, then-Senator Obama said: Under my plan, energy rates will necessarily skyrocket.

He said years ago that his energy plan was for energy rates to skyrocket. Just a few years later, when he nominated Secretary Chu to be Department of Energy Secretary, the Secretary of the Department of Energy said he'd like to see gas prices around $8, European level prices of gasoline, doubling what they are today. They're already too high, nearly $4 in Colorado. That's too high.


Mr. GARDNER. One of the most stunning things, of course, in the administration is their focus on regulations and a complete lack of focus on that regulation's effect on jobs.

We had an assistant administrator of the EPA come and talk to the Energy and Commerce Committee about whether or not a regulation on energy production was good. And I asked a very simple question, and the question was whether or not there was a jobs analysis that was performed when they issued the regulation; did they look at whether or not jobs would be impacted by this regulation.

And after 5 minutes of what can only be described as an Abbott and Costello ``Who's on First?'' kind of conversation, the answer was clearly no, that this administration did not take into account the impact energy regulations would have on job creation.

And so, as we have a conversation with the country about an all-American energy plan, we have got to realize that not only does it impact the coal-fired power plant or the nuclear plant or the wind farm down the road, but it impacts our families' ability to afford a brighter future.


Mr. GARDNER. In Colorado, the district that I represent, we really do have it all. We have a coal mine, and we have wind energy. Not only the wind farms, but we have wind energy manufacturing. We have one of the Nation's most promising oil and gas plays right now in the Niobrara in Weld County. In western Colorado, we have thousands of jobs that are being created and thousands more that could be created if the government would get out of the way and approve the permits that they're holding back on. In fact, the Bureau of Land Management, if they were just to approve a handful of permits waiting right now, it could create over a hundred thousand jobs that this country could put to work right now if these permits were approved.


Mr. GARDNER. One of those promising things about American energy development is not just the fact that it's creating thousands of jobs, but it's the side benefits of the revenue produced and what that revenue goes to. In fact, in Weld County, Colorado, in my district, it's probably the only county in the country that has zero bonded indebtedness because of the natural gas and oil production. They don't have any debt. If they need a road, they pay for it. They pay for it with the money that they've received out of severance tax payments from oil and gas development.

Two companies paid their 2011 property taxes a couple of months ago. They paid $150 million to one single county. Forty percent of that revenue of $150 million goes to the school districts, goes to the community colleges. So not only are we able to develop affordable energy for the American people, not only are we able to put people to work but we're also doing better things for our schools and our community colleges because that revenue then turns around and goes to the core community institutions that make our country strong.


Mr. GARDNER. It is exciting, the energy future of this country. When you see studies that are being done--here's a study that I will cite right here, it says: ``America's shale oil revolution is loosening the grip of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries on global oil markets.'' OPEC. Because of the work that

we're doing here in this country, we're loosening the grip of OPEC.

Daniel Yergin, a renowned energy expert, testified before the Energy and Commerce Committee talking about how the energy development in the United States is allowing our sanctions against Iran to work, that we're lessening their ability to sell and fund terrorism activities because we're able to produce it here in the United States, displacing around the world the sale of Iranian oil, the sale of Iranian energy.

So when our colleague from Arkansas talks about the optimism that we have in this country, the people of my district who see it each and every day in little tiny towns that used to have one stop light, that now have a new housing development going up because of the production in the energy field, or traffic that they never had before because they've got activity going to and from the worksite that never existed before. People who graduated from the local high school who for the first time in their lifetimes--maybe even their parents' lifetimes--know they can stay there in that hometown with their family, with a good-paying job and benefits because of energy development.

We've talked a lot tonight about oil and gas and coal, but in Colorado we do have it all. We have wind energy and solar energy. And it's not just regulations that are blocking the traditional fossil fuels; it's regulations that are holding up wind energy projects. The ability to site a transmission line, to get the power from the wind farm to the people who use it, is being held up because of governmental regulations.

And so there may be people out there who think that we're just down here talking about regulations on fossil fuels. Well, you know what? It's regulations that are holding up clean energy too. And if we truly cared about affordable energy, if we truly cared about doing something good for our country--which I believe we all do, and the American people are ready for it to happen--then we would get government out of the way and let America work. And our chance is this week.


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