For Immediate Release:
September 16, 2008
Stacey Farnen Bernards
(202) 225 - 3130
(202) 225 - 3130
WASHINGTON, DC - House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the House Floor today in support of the Comprehensive Energy Security and Consumer Protection Act. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
“All through the summer, and into the fall, Americans have been filling up their cars at record prices—60, 80, 100 dollars a tank—and looking to Washington, to us, to see what we could do about it. To see what we could do to replace a crippling oil addiction with the energy technology this challenge demands, and our nation deserves. To relieve the strain on their budgets and their families not ten years from now—but now.
“Today, I’m sure some are wondering whether we’ll throw up our hands on the work of compromise, and retreat into finger-pointing. But we can do better than that. We can pass this bill, the Comprehensive American Energy Security and Consumer Protection Act—this bold step toward a comprehensive energy policy worthy of the 21st century. Lower gas prices today. American oil and natural gas for the years to come. And serious investment in a new generation of energy technologies for a cleaner, more secure energy future. It is all here, and we are all going on the record.
“Here’s what this energy package is going to accomplish. First, we’re going to drill for more oil and gas here at home. For many of my colleagues, I know that drilling is the most contentious part of this compromise, but we have worked hard to find common ground.
"Drilling will come with strong new environmental protections. It will take place well offshore, as opposed to the 3-mile zone that will go up for grabs in 15 days if we vote this bill down and do nothing. And, in the areas closer to shore, we’re letting the states themselves make the final call. To my Republican colleagues who argue that states won’t opt in without revenue sharing, I reply:
"If the groundswell for drilling is as strong as you’ve said it is, surely state leaders will listen to the demand.
“And that’s not to mention the job creation that will make drilling even more attractive.
“We are also including diligent development provisions, because oil companies have a responsibility to continue to explore the 68 million acres of we’ve already leased to them.
"Second, we’re going to take immediate action to lower the price of oil by releasing 10% of the oil in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Past releases have brought down fuel prices by as much as 33%.
“Third and finally, this energy package complements those stopgap solutions with a significant investment in the energy of the future. Tax incentives for plug-in hybrid cars, solar and wind power, biofuels, and energy-efficient homes. Funding for cutting-edge energy research. Support for mass transit. Renewable electricity.
"Someday soon, I think we’ll look back on these investments as the beginning of the end of our oil addiction.
“We’re going to fund them by recovering the royalties the oil companies owe the American people, and by repealing their lavish taxpayer subsidies. Because it simply doesn’t make economic sense to do billions of dollars in favors for corporations making the highest profits in American history.
“All of that is our energy solution; we haven’t left a stone unturned or a remedy untried.
“To my Democratic colleagues: I don’t think a single one of us is happy with every single provision in this bill. I know I’m not—but I also know that that’s the price of a good compromise, and making good compromises is our business.
“To my Republican colleagues: You’ve told us, loud and long, that you support a policy of 'all of the above.' Now’s your chance to vote for it. Your presidential candidate is running for office under the motto 'Country First.' It’s an admirable thought—now’s your chance to live by it.
“Democrats and Republicans, we’re all being watched today. Contention or compromise; slogans or solutions. That’s our choice.
“I urge all of my colleagues to join me—vote for this vital bill.”