Lois Capps

Defeat Energy Bill - July 28, 2005

Lois Capps
July 28, 2005— U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, DC
Congressional floor speech
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Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to the bill.

This bill is a missed opportunity to provide a secure energy future for America.

It's a bill packed with taxpayer subsidized goodies for energy companies.

It's a bill that won't reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased about one part of the bill—it no longer contains the liability waiver to the MTBE industry.

Now, maybe communities with MTBE polluted groundwater will have a fighting chance to get it cleaned up by the people who made the mess.

I call on the MTBE industry to do the right thing now—stop fighting in court and in Congress, own up to your responsibility by sitting down and working out cleanup plans with these affected communities.

Unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, the rest of the bill is mostly bad news.

At a time of record high energy prices, the bill hands out tens of billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies for the oil and gas, coal and nuclear power industries.

  • $2 billion in guarantees for new nuke plants

  • $3 billion in subsidies to the coal industry

  • And $3 to 4 billion in subsidies to the oil and gas industry that today are experiencing record profits

The bill also cuts states out of LNG siting decisions, giving that power to the federal government which, of course, always knows what's best.

In addition, the bill does precious little to make America more energy efficient or to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

There is no effort to make our cars more energy efficient.

75 percent of the oil we use every day goes right into our gas tanks.

This bill acts like it is okay that gas mileage on automobiles has gone down in recent years and that there is no connection between that and today's record high gas prices.

And, finally, Mr. Speaker, the bill calls for new offshore drilling under guise of conducting a so-called "inventory."

My friends on the other side will argue that this is "just a study" so we know what's out there.

But MMS already conducts surveys every 5 years on offshore resources.

We already know where the offshore oil and gas is -- in the Central and Western Gulf, where drilling is currently allowed and underway.

So why the inventory?

Put simply, this is just the first step in opening up offshore areas now off limits to new drilling.

This means new drilling off states like Florida, North Carolina, and California.

Make no mistake, this inventory is the oil companies' attempt to begin dismantling the long standing, bipartisan moratoria on new drilling in these areas.

Voting for this bill means you support drilling off Florida and these other states.

Taking an inventory of what lies beneath the sea floor is not like taking an inventory of office supplies.

This means seismic surveys and other invasive technologies.

It means risks to marine life and potentially serious environmental and economic damage.

This is more than just a tally of offshore reserves and we should reject it.

I urge my colleagues to vote down this bill.