WASHINGTON, DC – Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the House Floor today in favor of H.R. 6, the CLEAN Energy Act. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
“Mr. Speaker, one of the lessons that most of us learn early on is to study history so that we can avoid making the same mistakes of the past. A generation ago, this nation faced a series of crises born of an over-reliance on foreign oil. Prices spiked and supplies were rationed. It took work, but congress and the president acted to combat that dependence and ushered in a wave of new technologies, conservation and efficiency improvements that have saved untold billions of dollars, and barrels of oil, and greatly enhanced the nation’s economic performance and national security.
“Unfortunately, in recent years, we seem to have forgotten that time period. The economy grew, the price of oil waned and we forgot the lessons of the past and abandoned the progress toward a more fuel conscience existence. Crises at home and abroad have changed that, and we find ourselves once again increasingly reliant on foreign oil. And drilling for more oil and gas alone is not a solution.
“Today we will pass the last of the bills that we promised the American people we would undertake at the beginning of this congress. This legislation – the CLEAN Act – is a down payment on the promise of a new energy future for our country. This bill is not about punishing one sector of industry. Nor does this bill represent the totality of our energy policy – as evidenced by the Rural Caucus’s Bio-Fuels Energy Package, Speaker Pelosi’s Innovation Agenda, and the PROGRESS Act, which I introduced last year with more than 100 co-sponsors.
“However, the CLEAN Act starts to move our nation in a new direction. It is about the focus of precious taxpayer dollars and the future of our country.
“The oil and gas industry is extraordinarily well-established and well-off. It does not need the American taxpayers’ help to be successful or to make a dollar – or tens of billions of dollars. Even President Bush – a former oil executive -- agrees that the industry does not need additional government subsidies when prices are high.
“But our future energy resources do need help to get started.
“Renewable energy, alternative fuels, conservation and efficiency programs are under-utilized in our effort to wean our nation off of its dependence on foreign oil. The money saved by this bill will be spent on our energy future, and set aside to:
• accelerate the use of clean domestic renewable energy resources and alternative fuels;
• promote the use of energy-efficiency practices and conservation; and
• increase research, development, and deployment of clean renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies.
“By acting now to make America energy independent, we have the opportunity to leave future generations a lasting legacy that makes our nation and our world a better place. This legislation is a good first start in that effort. I urge my colleagues to support it.”