Majority Leader Hoyer Statement on Upcoming Energy Legislation


WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke at a press conference on energy with the House Democratic leadership today.  Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:

 
“Three years ago, the Republican Congress passed and President Bush signed into law this administration’s shortsighted energy policy.  And today, we see the result – record high gas prices and a struggling economy.
 
“Let’s be clear: Democrats support increasing the domestic production of petroleum and our other energy resources.  However, what continues to be missed is this: Today, there are 68 million acres in the United States of America that oil producers have leases to drill on.  There are another 20 million acres in the National Petroleum Reserve Alaska – an area set aside by Congress for oil drilling – that could be leased.
 
“Those combined 88 million acres are roughly equal to the size of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, and about two-thirds of Maryland.  That is an enormous amount of land on which drilling could take place.  And, we believe such drilling should occur.
 
“That is why we intend to consider a package of energy provisions that will, among other things, speed the Reserve’s development by requiring the Bureau of Land Management to offer annual lease sales in the NPRA.
 
“This energy package also will incorporate the ‘use it or lose it’ legislation, which simply requires oil producers to drill on the leases they already have before asking the federal government for new ones.
 
“To meet domestic needs, we are going to reconstitute a ban on the export of Alaskan oil.
 
“And, we will be calling on the President to finish construction of natural gas and oil pipelines from Alaska as soon as possible.
 
“The Republican Party is trying to score cheap political points – after their policies failed.  Democrats are trying to address the needs of our nation and our people.  And, that is what we will do in the days ahead.”
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