9:06 PM EDT

Donald Sherwood, R-PA 10th

Mr. SHERWOOD. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Chairman, my amendment simply substitutes the language in Section 606, which contains a 1-year reauthorization of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, with the text of H.R. 2884, which passed the House 416 to 8.

This House-passed bill reauthorizes the Strategic Petroleum Reserve through fiscal year 2003. Additionally, it provides new discretion for the Secretary of Energy to purchase oil from marginal domestic wells known as stripper wells when the average market price falls below $15 per barrel.

Finally, it provides new authority for the Secretary of Energy to disburse home heating oil from any future Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve during a national emergency, a regional emergency. [Page: H5270]

The Northeast Heating Oil Reserve, which will be a separate entity from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, will be authorized to contain no more than 2 million barrels of petroleum distillate. Additionally, the reserve may be employed during severe energy disruptions, extreme price hikes, or when the President determines an energy emergency merits its use in the Northeast.

The bottom line is that this amendment will help to preserve and enhance our domestic energy-producing infrastructure, and help provide reasonably-priced home heating fuel oil during supply shortages.

It is simple, having more domestic oil production and supply capacity will result in lower prices at the pump and less dependence on foreign oil.

This last winter we in the Northeast were feeling the economic sting of an oil crisis due to high heating oil and diesel prices. That was our first warning. Now, with severely increased gasoline prices across the Nation, the rest of the country is feeling the pain that we in the Northeast have experienced for several months.

The question on everyone's mind is, why did we not see this coming, and why were we not prepared to meet it? I am here today to work with the Members in this Chamber to find the answers to these questions; also, to make sure that we will never be held hostage again by Middle East oil princes. These are the same friends for whom a decade ago we risked the lives of our sons and daughters to protect against Iraqi aggression.

The bottom line, and this is probably the most important thing that will be said tonight, is that we lack a coherent national energy policy to insulate us from the volatility of these markets.

During the 1998-1999 time frame, our Nation lost 500,000 barrels of production capacity every day due to the failure of marginal stripper wells to be economically viable. This amendment allows the Secretary of Energy to purchase oil from stripper wells when prices are low so they can adequately operate during extreme price drops, and our Nation's new heating oil reserve can be filled more cheaply.

This is an excellent bill which will help maintain the Nation's oil production capacity when prices are low, and provide relief to homeowners when heating prices are high and in short supply. I strongly urge the Secretary of Energy to utilize the new authority given him with the establishment of the Northeast Heating Oil Reserve and the reauthorization of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, to use these reserves as pressure release valves during energy crises.

Support of this measure is a step in the right direction towards solving our current gas price crisis, which we are all suffering through. It is simple: The more domestic oil supply capacity we can maintain, the lower the prices will be at the pump.

I urge my colleagues to vote for this bipartisan, prudent, and timely measure so that relief can be brought to the pocketbook of the American consumer.

In closing, I would like to thank the gentleman from Texas (Mr. BARTON) and the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. MARKEY) for all their hard work in crafting this legislation, and the gentleman from Vermont (Mr. SANDERS) for his leadership on the issue.

I urge passage of this very commonsense, bipartisan amendment.

Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.

9:11 PM EDT

Pete Visclosky, D-IN 1st

Mr. VISCLOSKY. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Chairman, as I indicated on the remarks on the rule earlier, we find ourselves with an amendment that I do support that the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. SHERWOOD) has offered. But I would want to remind Members of the history of this House in legislative action over the last several weeks.

First of all, we had an amendment that was offered by the gentleman from Vermont (Mr. SANDERS) to the Interior bill about a week ago. His proposal was essentially to fund the Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve that the gentleman would seek authorization for in his legislation. The amendment of the gentleman from Vermont (Mr. SANDERS) was defeated by two votes in this body literally a week ago.

Additionally, this body has essentially already passed through the authorization process the amendment that the gentleman has already put forth, so we are for a second time now stating a proposition that to date the majority in the other body has refused to act on.

I would further point out that in full committee, when the energy and water bill was considered during the past week, the gentlewoman from Michigan (Ms. Kilpatrick), in trying to break this logjam, whether it be in this body or in the other body, offered an amendment for a 1-year extension of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve that was essentially unanimously agreed to by the committee.

Under the amendment, her language stripped out ``and a full 3-year authorization is entered into.''

Again, I support what the gentleman is doing. I would simply encourage people to remember that the gentlewoman from Michigan (Ms. Kilpatrick) was active on this issue and offered her amendment a week ago. The gentleman from Vermont (Mr. SANDERS) was denied on a two-vote margin in this House funding for one of the propositions the gentleman put forth, and a majority in the other body, again, refuses to act.

I appreciate again the gentleman's initiative, but there is, again, bipartisan support for what is taking place here tonight.

Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.

9:11 PM EDT

Pete Visclosky, D-IN 1st

Mr. VISCLOSKY. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Chairman, as I indicated on the remarks on the rule earlier, we find ourselves with an amendment that I do support that the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. SHERWOOD) has offered. But I would want to remind Members of the history of this House in legislative action over the last several weeks.

First of all, we had an amendment that was offered by the gentleman from Vermont (Mr. SANDERS) to the Interior bill about a week ago. His proposal was essentially to fund the Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve that the gentleman would seek authorization for in his legislation. The amendment of the gentleman from Vermont (Mr. SANDERS) was defeated by two votes in this body literally a week ago.

Additionally, this body has essentially already passed through the authorization process the amendment that the gentleman has already put forth, so we are for a second time now stating a proposition that to date the majority in the other body has refused to act on.

I would further point out that in full committee, when the energy and water bill was considered during the past week, the gentlewoman from Michigan (Ms. Kilpatrick), in trying to break this logjam, whether it be in this body or in the other body, offered an amendment for a 1-year extension of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve that was essentially unanimously agreed to by the committee.

Under the amendment, her language stripped out ``and a full 3-year authorization is entered into.''

Again, I support what the gentleman is doing. I would simply encourage people to remember that the gentlewoman from Michigan (Ms. Kilpatrick) was active on this issue and offered her amendment a week ago. The gentleman from Vermont (Mr. SANDERS) was denied on a two-vote margin in this House funding for one of the propositions the gentleman put forth, and a majority in the other body, again, refuses to act.

I appreciate again the gentleman's initiative, but there is, again, bipartisan support for what is taking place here tonight.

Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.

9:11 PM EDT

Pete Visclosky, D-IN 1st

Mr. VISCLOSKY. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Chairman, as I indicated on the remarks on the rule earlier, we find ourselves with an amendment that I do support that the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. SHERWOOD) has offered. But I would want to remind Members of the history of this House in legislative action over the last several weeks.

First of all, we had an amendment that was offered by the gentleman from Vermont (Mr. SANDERS) to the Interior bill about a week ago. His proposal was essentially to fund the Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve that the gentleman would seek authorization for in his legislation. The amendment of the gentleman from Vermont (Mr. SANDERS) was defeated by two votes in this body literally a week ago.

Additionally, this body has essentially already passed through the authorization process the amendment that the gentleman has already put forth, so we are for a second time now stating a proposition that to date the majority in the other body has refused to act on.

I would further point out that in full committee, when the energy and water bill was considered during the past week, the gentlewoman from Michigan (Ms. Kilpatrick), in trying to break this logjam, whether it be in this body or in the other body, offered an amendment for a 1-year extension of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve that was essentially unanimously agreed to by the committee.

Under the amendment, her language stripped out ``and a full 3-year authorization is entered into.''

Again, I support what the gentleman is doing. I would simply encourage people to remember that the gentlewoman from Michigan (Ms. Kilpatrick) was active on this issue and offered her amendment a week ago. The gentleman from Vermont (Mr. SANDERS) was denied on a two-vote margin in this House funding for one of the propositions the gentleman put forth, and a majority in the other body, again, refuses to act.

I appreciate again the gentleman's initiative, but there is, again, bipartisan support for what is taking place here tonight.

Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.

9:11 PM EDT

Pete Visclosky, D-IN 1st

Mr. VISCLOSKY. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Chairman, as I indicated on the remarks on the rule earlier, we find ourselves with an amendment that I do support that the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. SHERWOOD) has offered. But I would want to remind Members of the history of this House in legislative action over the last several weeks.

First of all, we had an amendment that was offered by the gentleman from Vermont (Mr. SANDERS) to the Interior bill about a week ago. His proposal was essentially to fund the Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve that the gentleman would seek authorization for in his legislation. The amendment of the gentleman from Vermont (Mr. SANDERS) was defeated by two votes in this body literally a week ago.

Additionally, this body has essentially already passed through the authorization process the amendment that the gentleman has already put forth, so we are for a second time now stating a proposition that to date the majority in the other body has refused to act on.

I would further point out that in full committee, when the energy and water bill was considered during the past week, the gentlewoman from Michigan (Ms. Kilpatrick), in trying to break this logjam, whether it be in this body or in the other body, offered an amendment for a 1-year extension of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve that was essentially unanimously agreed to by the committee.

Under the amendment, her language stripped out ``and a full 3-year authorization is entered into.''

Again, I support what the gentleman is doing. I would simply encourage people to remember that the gentlewoman from Michigan (Ms. Kilpatrick) was active on this issue and offered her amendment a week ago. The gentleman from Vermont (Mr. SANDERS) was denied on a two-vote margin in this House funding for one of the propositions the gentleman put forth, and a majority in the other body, again, refuses to act.

I appreciate again the gentleman's initiative, but there is, again, bipartisan support for what is taking place here tonight.

Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.

9:13 PM EDT

Joe Barton, R-TX 6th

Mr. BARTON of Texas. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman from Pennsylvania for offering this amendment. It is similar to an amendment that we reported out of the Subcommittee on Energy and Power on a bipartisan basis.

Mr. Chairman, it was debated and voted on in the House, and passed I think in the neighborhood of 400 votes for and five or six votes against. It is an amendment that is in conference now with the Senate on the reauthorization of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and the Energy Policy Conservation Act of 1992.

It is a classic compromise in that it has the heating oil reserve in the Northeast, which would be filled most likely with fuel oil. It has for the Southwest in the production region the ability for the Secretary of Energy to purchase stripper well oil, which is oil that comes from wells that produce less than 10 barrels a day when the price of oil falls below $15 a barrel on the world market, if that would ever happen again.

[Time: 21:15]

So we get something for the production sector; we get something for the consuming sector. It is bipartisan. It passed the House overwhelmingly earlier this year.

Mr. Chairman, I want to commend again the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. SHERWOOD) for offering it tonight, and I hope that we would adopt it unanimously.

9:15 PM EDT

Sherwood L. Boehlert, R-NY 23rd

Mr. BOEHLERT. Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong support of the Sherwood-Markey-Barton Energy and Water amendment. It just makes so much sense. I would say in a Nation like ours where we had a condition like we did this past winter, shame on us for not having something available that could meet the urgent and pressing needs of American families.

In the Northeast, it was devastating. We had families that could not afford to pay the heating bill. We had families that were suffering because of the failure on the part of so many who they have every right to expect to be responsive to their needs; and quite frankly, we just were not. [Page: H5271]

This is an amendment that will address that need in a very responsible way. And as the gentleman from Texas (Mr. BARTON), my friend who preceded me, said, this is a delicate compromise that has been worked out on a bipartisan basis. It is something that, for all the right reasons, deserves our very strong support. I ask my colleagues to do just that, give it strong support.

9:15 PM EDT

Sherwood L. Boehlert, R-NY 23rd

Mr. BOEHLERT. Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong support of the Sherwood-Markey-Barton Energy and Water amendment. It just makes so much sense. I would say in a Nation like ours where we had a condition like we did this past winter, shame on us for not having something available that could meet the urgent and pressing needs of American families.

In the Northeast, it was devastating. We had families that could not afford to pay the heating bill. We had families that were suffering because of the failure on the part of so many who they have every right to expect to be responsive to their needs; and quite frankly, we just were not. [Page: H5271]

This is an amendment that will address that need in a very responsible way. And as the gentleman from Texas (Mr. BARTON), my friend who preceded me, said, this is a delicate compromise that has been worked out on a bipartisan basis. It is something that, for all the right reasons, deserves our very strong support. I ask my colleagues to do just that, give it strong support.

9:15 PM EDT

Sherwood L. Boehlert, R-NY 23rd

Mr. BOEHLERT. Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong support of the Sherwood-Markey-Barton Energy and Water amendment. It just makes so much sense. I would say in a Nation like ours where we had a condition like we did this past winter, shame on us for not having something available that could meet the urgent and pressing needs of American families.

In the Northeast, it was devastating. We had families that could not afford to pay the heating bill. We had families that were suffering because of the failure on the part of so many who they have every right to expect to be responsive to their needs; and quite frankly, we just were not. [Page: H5271]

This is an amendment that will address that need in a very responsible way. And as the gentleman from Texas (Mr. BARTON), my friend who preceded me, said, this is a delicate compromise that has been worked out on a bipartisan basis. It is something that, for all the right reasons, deserves our very strong support. I ask my colleagues to do just that, give it strong support.

9:15 PM EDT

Sherwood L. Boehlert, R-NY 23rd

Mr. BOEHLERT. Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong support of the Sherwood-Markey-Barton Energy and Water amendment. It just makes so much sense. I would say in a Nation like ours where we had a condition like we did this past winter, shame on us for not having something available that could meet the urgent and pressing needs of American families.

In the Northeast, it was devastating. We had families that could not afford to pay the heating bill. We had families that were suffering because of the failure on the part of so many who they have every right to expect to be responsive to their needs; and quite frankly, we just were not. [Page: H5271]

This is an amendment that will address that need in a very responsible way. And as the gentleman from Texas (Mr. BARTON), my friend who preceded me, said, this is a delicate compromise that has been worked out on a bipartisan basis. It is something that, for all the right reasons, deserves our very strong support. I ask my colleagues to do just that, give it strong support.

9:16 PM EDT

Donald Sherwood, R-PA 10th

Mr. SHERWOOD. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Chairman, this winter we had severe price disruptions in the Northeast that would be almost unbelievable if we had not experienced them. In a period of 60 days, home heating oil, which all the old people depend on in the Northeast, we do not have any gas mains and home heating oil is the heating source of choice, went from 80 cents a gallon to $1.80 a gallon. People could not fund that in their budgets.

Diesel fuel for trucks and tractors and farm equipment and snowmobiles and school buses went from $1.30 to $2.60 per gallon. Now, there is no real understandable reason for a price spike of this magnitude. What happened, we had a little shortage and then because there was a shortage, they got speculating on the New York Merc and this price was run up to double its historic record and double what we were expecting for the winter.

Mr. Chairman, the purpose of my amendment is to put some things in place that will help this from happening again. If we could keep these stripper wells in production during low-price periods, we will have that much more domestic production. If we can have the Northeast Heating Reserve, that will be some hedge against this happening again.

These are things that we need to do. We need to become more self-sufficient. I think that is a much bigger discussion for another day. But we have to look at our drilling policies and find out how we got in this position where we have all of these reserves, but we do not have refinery capacity enough and we do not have drilling capacity enough. We need to look these policies over down the road and develop a very comprehensive energy policy.

Mr. Chairman, how much time do I have remaining?

The CHAIRMAN pro tempore (Mr. LAHOOD). The gentleman from Pennsylvania has 5 minutes remaining.

9:16 PM EDT

Donald Sherwood, R-PA 10th

Mr. SHERWOOD. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Chairman, this winter we had severe price disruptions in the Northeast that would be almost unbelievable if we had not experienced them. In a period of 60 days, home heating oil, which all the old people depend on in the Northeast, we do not have any gas mains and home heating oil is the heating source of choice, went from 80 cents a gallon to $1.80 a gallon. People could not fund that in their budgets.

Diesel fuel for trucks and tractors and farm equipment and snowmobiles and school buses went from $1.30 to $2.60 per gallon. Now, there is no real understandable reason for a price spike of this magnitude. What happened, we had a little shortage and then because there was a shortage, they got speculating on the New York Merc and this price was run up to double its historic record and double what we were expecting for the winter.

Mr. Chairman, the purpose of my amendment is to put some things in place that will help this from happening again. If we could keep these stripper wells in production during low-price periods, we will have that much more domestic production. If we can have the Northeast Heating Reserve, that will be some hedge against this happening again.

These are things that we need to do. We need to become more self-sufficient. I think that is a much bigger discussion for another day. But we have to look at our drilling policies and find out how we got in this position where we have all of these reserves, but we do not have refinery capacity enough and we do not have drilling capacity enough. We need to look these policies over down the road and develop a very comprehensive energy policy.

Mr. Chairman, how much time do I have remaining?

The CHAIRMAN pro tempore (Mr. LAHOOD). The gentleman from Pennsylvania has 5 minutes remaining.

9:19 PM EDT

Donald Sherwood, R-PA 10th

Mr. SHERWOOD. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Chairman, this is going to be a national debate that is going to take awhile. Tonight might be the start of that. People in my district certainly cannot put in another winter like we had last winter. I do not think people in Chicago want to put in another summer like they are having right now with $2.50 gasoline. We do not want to go back to $2.60 diesel fuel. These are problems that we have got to address.

We have got to make sure that we do not have artificial barriers to the movement of product throughout the various regions of the country. The reformulated product for different air quality standards has made it very difficult for the big oil companies to move product from one part of the country to the other, and that leads to regional dislocations like we have in Chicago at the present time.

We have to have more refinery capacity. Some of our areas of the country that are complaining about high heating oil prices and high gasoline prices have not allowed refineries to be built. So we have to have a comprehensive discussion that includes the environmentalists, includes the oil companies, includes the consumers and distributors so that we get a comprehensive national oil policy.

We are being held hostage now to some items that have come up, because we have not addressed them for the future. It will take awhile, but we cannot just blunder off into the future like we have in the last few years.

I think we were lulled to sleep by the fact that world demand was low, and we had historically low oil prices here in the U.S. Because we had historically low oil prices, nobody wanted to do anything about a policy. Well, that bit us this winter. It is biting us this summer. And if we do not get a comprehensive policy, we will continue to have these oil spikes.

The two features of my amendment will help. But we need to do more than that. We need to have a comprehensive policy. I appreciate this opportunity this evening to speak on this issue. It is something that we need to continue to discuss, and we need to get our national oil policy that brings all the stakeholders into play so that when this comes together, it will make sense. It will make sense environmentally, and it will make sense to the producers and the consumers in the country.

9:19 PM EDT

Donald Sherwood, R-PA 10th

Mr. SHERWOOD. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Chairman, this is going to be a national debate that is going to take awhile. Tonight might be the start of that. People in my district certainly cannot put in another winter like we had last winter. I do not think people in Chicago want to put in another summer like they are having right now with $2.50 gasoline. We do not want to go back to $2.60 diesel fuel. These are problems that we have got to address.

We have got to make sure that we do not have artificial barriers to the movement of product throughout the various regions of the country. The reformulated product for different air quality standards has made it very difficult for the big oil companies to move product from one part of the country to the other, and that leads to regional dislocations like we have in Chicago at the present time.

We have to have more refinery capacity. Some of our areas of the country that are complaining about high heating oil prices and high gasoline prices have not allowed refineries to be built. So we have to have a comprehensive discussion that includes the environmentalists, includes the oil companies, includes the consumers and distributors so that we get a comprehensive national oil policy.

We are being held hostage now to some items that have come up, because we have not addressed them for the future. It will take awhile, but we cannot just blunder off into the future like we have in the last few years.

I think we were lulled to sleep by the fact that world demand was low, and we had historically low oil prices here in the U.S. Because we had historically low oil prices, nobody wanted to do anything about a policy. Well, that bit us this winter. It is biting us this summer. And if we do not get a comprehensive policy, we will continue to have these oil spikes.

The two features of my amendment will help. But we need to do more than that. We need to have a comprehensive policy. I appreciate this opportunity this evening to speak on this issue. It is something that we need to continue to discuss, and we need to get our national oil policy that brings all the stakeholders into play so that when this comes together, it will make sense. It will make sense environmentally, and it will make sense to the producers and the consumers in the country.

9:24 PM EDT

Rick Lazio, R-NY 2nd

Mr. LAZIO. Mr. Chairman, I want to begin by thanking the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. SHERWOOD) for his leadership on this issue which addresses a crisis that is facing the Northeast: high gas prices and high fuel prices.

We experienced this during the winter when many of our most vulnerable citizens, our seniors, our disabled, those in rural America were suffering the most. Many of us have been calling for immediate relief, including the rollback of the 4.3-cent Clinton-Gore gas tax at the gas pump.

But this method of creating a regional reserve will help address an issue, that has been a dramatic problem, in the years ahead. The ability to try and provide more liquidity in the market, to lance the boil of insufficient supply of oil, especially in our Northeast area that is so dependent on both oil for transportation and for home fuel oil.

Mr. Chairman, I want to thank the gentleman from Pennsylvania, and I urge our colleagues to support this amendment.

9:24 PM EDT

Rick Lazio, R-NY 2nd

Mr. LAZIO. Mr. Chairman, I want to begin by thanking the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. SHERWOOD) for his leadership on this issue which addresses a crisis that is facing the Northeast: high gas prices and high fuel prices.

We experienced this during the winter when many of our most vulnerable citizens, our seniors, our disabled, those in rural America were suffering the most. Many of us have been calling for immediate relief, including the rollback of the 4.3-cent Clinton-Gore gas tax at the gas pump.

But this method of creating a regional reserve will help address an issue, that has been a dramatic problem, in the years ahead. The ability to try and provide more liquidity in the market, to lance the boil of insufficient supply of oil, especially in our Northeast area that is so dependent on both oil for transportation and for home fuel oil.

Mr. Chairman, I want to thank the gentleman from Pennsylvania, and I urge our colleagues to support this amendment.

9:25 PM EDT

James H. Maloney, D-CT 5th

Mr. MALONEY of Connecticut. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman from Indiana for yielding me this time.

Mr. Chairman, I rise to express my strong support for this amendment, which is modeled in large part after legislation that I and many of my colleagues introduced earlier this year.

This amendment will not only provide relief to residents in the Northeast through the creation of a regional home heating oil reserve, it will give the President the authority he needs to release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to have an impact on the market price.

As the price of gasoline reaches $2 a gallon in Connecticut and $2.50 across the Midwest, there is no better time to address this issue. My constituents and families across the Northeast have been hit with high gasoline prices; and if we do not act, they will face high heating bills during the cold winter months ahead. If this crisis is not addressed now, the situation will only become worse. Most importantly, the seniors and others in my district who live on fixed incomes cannot afford these

high prices. Having to choose between heating their home and other life necessities is simply unacceptable. [Page: H5272]

Mr. Chairman, I say to my colleagues, this crisis has gone on already far too long. We have the means; we have the ability to solve this problem. Let us act, and let us act now.

9:25 PM EDT

James H. Maloney, D-CT 5th

Mr. MALONEY of Connecticut. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman from Indiana for yielding me this time.

Mr. Chairman, I rise to express my strong support for this amendment, which is modeled in large part after legislation that I and many of my colleagues introduced earlier this year.

This amendment will not only provide relief to residents in the Northeast through the creation of a regional home heating oil reserve, it will give the President the authority he needs to release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to have an impact on the market price.

As the price of gasoline reaches $2 a gallon in Connecticut and $2.50 across the Midwest, there is no better time to address this issue. My constituents and families across the Northeast have been hit with high gasoline prices; and if we do not act, they will face high heating bills during the cold winter months ahead. If this crisis is not addressed now, the situation will only become worse. Most importantly, the seniors and others in my district who live on fixed incomes cannot afford these

high prices. Having to choose between heating their home and other life necessities is simply unacceptable. [Page: H5272]

Mr. Chairman, I say to my colleagues, this crisis has gone on already far too long. We have the means; we have the ability to solve this problem. Let us act, and let us act now.

9:27 PM EDT

Rosa DeLauro, D-CT 3rd

Ms. DELAURO. Mr. Chairman, this past winter, families across the Northeast saw their budget stretched to the limit by skyrocketing home heating oil costs. Over 50 percent of families in Connecticut depend on oil to heat their homes in the winter months. For middle-class working families in my State and throughout the Northeast, the increase in home heating oil prices broke the bank.

I received thousands of calls from my constituents asking for help. For example, I received a call from Thomas Marcarelli of East Haven. He has a family with four children, ages three, six, seven and nine. In order to pay for heating oil, he has had to send in his mortgage payment late, cut back on his family's groceries, and drop his thermostat by 10 degrees with children in the house to stretch out his supply.

It appears that Mr. Marcarelli and his family and families across the Northeast may face another very cold season. This winter they are estimating that home heating oil will increase by another 10 percent.

My concern is, and I support this amendment, but we had an opportunity several weeks ago with the gentleman from Vermont (Mr. SANDERS) when he offered such an amendment and was defeated by two votes. In terms of allowing the President the authority to release the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, the gentlewoman from Michigan (Ms. Kilpatrick) offered this amendment in committee just a few days ago.

I support this amendment, but my concern, as always, is that we try to play politics with these issues when families in my part of the country and families in other parts of the country are suffering because, in fact, the Republican leadership has not allowed us to create an energy policy in this country. It fails to reduce our dependence on oil.

That is the direction that we need to move in. We need to support this amendment tonight. But we also need to do something about solar renewable energy. We also need to do something about providing the opportunity for an energy policy that meets the needs of the people in this country.

9:27 PM EDT

Rosa DeLauro, D-CT 3rd

Ms. DELAURO. Mr. Chairman, this past winter, families across the Northeast saw their budget stretched to the limit by skyrocketing home heating oil costs. Over 50 percent of families in Connecticut depend on oil to heat their homes in the winter months. For middle-class working families in my State and throughout the Northeast, the increase in home heating oil prices broke the bank.

I received thousands of calls from my constituents asking for help. For example, I received a call from Thomas Marcarelli of East Haven. He has a family with four children, ages three, six, seven and nine. In order to pay for heating oil, he has had to send in his mortgage payment late, cut back on his family's groceries, and drop his thermostat by 10 degrees with children in the house to stretch out his supply.

It appears that Mr. Marcarelli and his family and families across the Northeast may face another very cold season. This winter they are estimating that home heating oil will increase by another 10 percent.

My concern is, and I support this amendment, but we had an opportunity several weeks ago with the gentleman from Vermont (Mr. SANDERS) when he offered such an amendment and was defeated by two votes. In terms of allowing the President the authority to release the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, the gentlewoman from Michigan (Ms. Kilpatrick) offered this amendment in committee just a few days ago.

I support this amendment, but my concern, as always, is that we try to play politics with these issues when families in my part of the country and families in other parts of the country are suffering because, in fact, the Republican leadership has not allowed us to create an energy policy in this country. It fails to reduce our dependence on oil.

That is the direction that we need to move in. We need to support this amendment tonight. But we also need to do something about solar renewable energy. We also need to do something about providing the opportunity for an energy policy that meets the needs of the people in this country.

9:29 PM EDT

Frank Pallone, D-NJ 6th

Mr. PALLONE. Mr. Chairman, I rise on behalf of the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. MARKEY) and myself in support of the Sherwood-Markey-Barton amendment to reauthorize the Energy Policy and Conservation Act and establish the Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve.

On April 12 of this year, the House overwhelmingly approved the Energy Policy Conservation Act reauthorization by a vote of 416 to 8. This bill included language that the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. MARKEY) authored to provide for the establishment of the heating oil reserve in the Northeast. Unfortunately, these provisions have languished at the hands of the Republican leadership in the Senate. The administration supports these provisions, and these provisions have bipartisan support

here in the House.

The Democrats and some House Republicans are working to address our high gas and heating oil prices by crafting bipartisan solutions. Unfortunately, some members of the Republican leadership are using tactics to prevent this Congress from implementing a long-term energy strategy, one that will provide real energy security for all Americans.

This legislation would give the President the flexibility that he needs to create a Northeast heating oil reserve and release the heating oil from this reserve in the event we have a repetition of the type of severe price spikes, supply disruptions or severe weather situations that we saw last winter which drove home heating oil prices way up.

This provision helped assure that as we are reauthorizing EPCA, that we are addressing both the needs of the producing States, who are worried about what happens when prices go too low, and the consuming States, who worry about what happens when prices get too high.

So if my colleagues voted aye for H.R. 2884, the EPCA reauthorization to create a Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve, they should vote aye today to assure that we can make the Reserve a reality.

I urge adoption of this bipartisan amendment.

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE CHAIRMAN PRO TEMPORE

The CHAIRMAN pro tempore (Mr. LAHOOD). The Chair was in error a minute ago in stating that the gentleman from Indiana (Mr. VISCLOSKY) had the right to close. Since he is not opposed to the amendment, the gentleman from Pennsylvania has the right to close.

Without objection, the Chair will extend to each side 1 additional minute. The gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. SHERWOOD), at the conclusion, will have 1 minute remaining to close. We will add 1 minute on the time of the gentleman from Indiana (Mr. VISCLOSKY), so he has 8 minutes remaining.

9:30 PM EDT

Frank Pallone, D-NJ 6th

Mr. PALLONE. Mr. Chairman, I rise on behalf of the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. MARKEY) and myself in support of the Sherwood-Markey-Barton amendment to reauthorize the Energy Policy and Conservation Act and establish the Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve.

On April 12 of this year, the House overwhelmingly approved the Energy Policy Conservation Act reauthorization by a vote of 416 to 8. This bill included language that the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. MARKEY) authored to provide for the establishment of the heating oil reserve in the Northeast. Unfortunately, these provisions have languished at the hands of the Republican leadership in the Senate. The administration supports these provisions, and these provisions have bipartisan support

here in the House.

The Democrats and some House Republicans are working to address our high gas and heating oil prices by crafting bipartisan solutions. Unfortunately, some members of the Republican leadership are using tactics to prevent this Congress from implementing a long-term energy strategy, one that will provide real energy security for all Americans.

This legislation would give the President the flexibility that he needs to create a Northeast heating oil reserve and release the heating oil from this reserve in the event we have a repetition of the type of severe price spikes, supply disruptions or severe weather situations that we saw last winter which drove home heating oil prices way up.

This provision helped assure that as we are reauthorizing EPCA, that we are addressing both the needs of the producing States, who are worried about what happens when prices go too low, and the consuming States, who worry about what happens when prices get too high.

So if my colleagues voted aye for H.R. 2884, the EPCA reauthorization to create a Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve, they should vote aye today to assure that we can make the Reserve a reality.

I urge adoption of this bipartisan amendment.

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE CHAIRMAN PRO TEMPORE

The CHAIRMAN pro tempore (Mr. LAHOOD). The Chair was in error a minute ago in stating that the gentleman from Indiana (Mr. VISCLOSKY) had the right to close. Since he is not opposed to the amendment, the gentleman from Pennsylvania has the right to close.

Without objection, the Chair will extend to each side 1 additional minute. The gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. SHERWOOD), at the conclusion, will have 1 minute remaining to close. We will add 1 minute on the time of the gentleman from Indiana (Mr. VISCLOSKY), so he has 8 minutes remaining.

9:32 PM EDT

Bob Menendez, D-NJ 13th

Mr. MENENDEZ. Mr. Chairman, I rise to support the Markey amendment, and I certainly believe that this is a step in the right direction.

Exorbitant gasoline prices are clearly a problem as we begin the summer season. I am even more concerned about home heating oil costs for next winter. In fact, the current inventory for home heating oil on the East Coast is 40 percent lower than at this time last year.

We Democrats have called for urgent action on several fronts. We have asked the Federal Trade Commission to expedite its investigation into price gouging on the part of oil companies. Major oil companies have nearly tripled their profits as a result of these price increases, from $4.5 billion in profits in the first 3 months of 1999 to more than $12 billion in the same period this year.

Democrats have also urged the Republican leadership and Congress to show some leadership and renew the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. This is a key tool in our Nation's energy security, and the President must have the authority to release or exchange oil reserves from the SPR.

Finally, we have called on the Congress to authorize the Northeast Oil Reserve.

I am glad that we have finally gotten our colleagues in the majority to move in this direction, despite all of our previous efforts to get them to move in that direction. But we must also understand that the Republican leadership is also responsible and has failed to provide Americans with energy security. It has failed to reauthorize the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to date. It has failed to fund research and development into alternative fuels and energy efficiency.

In fact, in the past 5 years, Republicans in Congress have funded only 12 percent of the administration's request for new investments in renewable sources of energy and energy efficiency initiatives. This measly and irresponsible level of funding has been nearly $2 billion short of the administration's request.

When they were not funding the requests, they were out trying to get rid of the Department of Energy and selling off the reserve policy itself. That would have been extremely detrimental if carried out as proposed.

So I am glad that we begin on a course tonight that works with the Democratic proposals that we have talked about and that clearly have been copied here in the context of the work of the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. MARKEY) and to begin to work on energy security for American families before we enter into a winter of discontent.

9:32 PM EDT

Bob Menendez, D-NJ 13th

Mr. MENENDEZ. Mr. Chairman, I rise to support the Markey amendment, and I certainly believe that this is a step in the right direction.

Exorbitant gasoline prices are clearly a problem as we begin the summer season. I am even more concerned about home heating oil costs for next winter. In fact, the current inventory for home heating oil on the East Coast is 40 percent lower than at this time last year.

We Democrats have called for urgent action on several fronts. We have asked the Federal Trade Commission to expedite its investigation into price gouging on the part of oil companies. Major oil companies have nearly tripled their profits as a result of these price increases, from $4.5 billion in profits in the first 3 months of 1999 to more than $12 billion in the same period this year.

Democrats have also urged the Republican leadership and Congress to show some leadership and renew the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. This is a key tool in our Nation's energy security, and the President must have the authority to release or exchange oil reserves from the SPR.

Finally, we have called on the Congress to authorize the Northeast Oil Reserve.

I am glad that we have finally gotten our colleagues in the majority to move in this direction, despite all of our previous efforts to get them to move in that direction. But we must also understand that the Republican leadership is also responsible and has failed to provide Americans with energy security. It has failed to reauthorize the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to date. It has failed to fund research and development into alternative fuels and energy efficiency.

In fact, in the past 5 years, Republicans in Congress have funded only 12 percent of the administration's request for new investments in renewable sources of energy and energy efficiency initiatives. This measly and irresponsible level of funding has been nearly $2 billion short of the administration's request.

When they were not funding the requests, they were out trying to get rid of the Department of Energy and selling off the reserve policy itself. That would have been extremely detrimental if carried out as proposed.

So I am glad that we begin on a course tonight that works with the Democratic proposals that we have talked about and that clearly have been copied here in the context of the work of the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. MARKEY) and to begin to work on energy security for American families before we enter into a winter of discontent.

9:35 PM EDT

Christopher Shays, R-CT 4th

Mr. SHAYS. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding me this time.

Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong support of the Sherwood-Barton-Markey [Page: H5273]

amendment to replace section 606 of this bill with the text of H.R. 2884, which passed the House by a vote of 416 to 8 on April 12.

Among its provisions, H.R. 2884 authorized the creation of a two million barrel home heating oil reserve in the Northeast.

Winter is a perennial event. It is sensible to prepare for the cold weather, regardless of external circumstances.

We can help ensure stable home heating oil, diesel fuel, and jet fuel prices by creating a two million barrel reserve of home heating oil that can be drawn down when fuel prices rise dramatically, as they did last winter.

The recent increase in oil prices led fuel costs in some areas of the Northeast to reach their highest point since the Gulf War. This winter it cost some Connecticut residents as much as $2 for a gallon of home heating oil, approximately double the cost of a year ago.

We should not force families to choose between heating their homes and buying food during the winter months.

Establishing a home heating oil reserve in the Northeast, much like the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, to help stabilize prices when fuel costs rise dramatically, will ensure consumers have access to home heating fuel at predictable, affordable prices.

I commend my colleagues for their hard work and leadership on this issue.

Many industry experts agree an influx of home heating oil into the market would drive prices down and allow families access to affordable home heating oil in times of drastic price increase.

According to a 1998 Department of Energy report, the creation of a home heating oil reserve will be an effective method of stabilized home heating oil prices in the future, and the use of a Government-owned reserve in the Northeast would provide benefits to consumers in the Northeast and to the Nation at large.

Mr. Chairman, I hope we move forward with this amendment.

9:35 PM EDT

Christopher Shays, R-CT 4th

Mr. SHAYS. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding me this time.

Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong support of the Sherwood-Barton-Markey [Page: H5273]

amendment to replace section 606 of this bill with the text of H.R. 2884, which passed the House by a vote of 416 to 8 on April 12.

Among its provisions, H.R. 2884 authorized the creation of a two million barrel home heating oil reserve in the Northeast.

Winter is a perennial event. It is sensible to prepare for the cold weather, regardless of external circumstances.

We can help ensure stable home heating oil, diesel fuel, and jet fuel prices by creating a two million barrel reserve of home heating oil that can be drawn down when fuel prices rise dramatically, as they did last winter.

The recent increase in oil prices led fuel costs in some areas of the Northeast to reach their highest point since the Gulf War. This winter it cost some Connecticut residents as much as $2 for a gallon of home heating oil, approximately double the cost of a year ago.

We should not force families to choose between heating their homes and buying food during the winter months.

Establishing a home heating oil reserve in the Northeast, much like the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, to help stabilize prices when fuel costs rise dramatically, will ensure consumers have access to home heating fuel at predictable, affordable prices.

I commend my colleagues for their hard work and leadership on this issue.

Many industry experts agree an influx of home heating oil into the market would drive prices down and allow families access to affordable home heating oil in times of drastic price increase.

According to a 1998 Department of Energy report, the creation of a home heating oil reserve will be an effective method of stabilized home heating oil prices in the future, and the use of a Government-owned reserve in the Northeast would provide benefits to consumers in the Northeast and to the Nation at large.

Mr. Chairman, I hope we move forward with this amendment.

9:35 PM EDT

Christopher Shays, R-CT 4th

Mr. SHAYS. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding me this time.

Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong support of the Sherwood-Barton-Markey [Page: H5273]

amendment to replace section 606 of this bill with the text of H.R. 2884, which passed the House by a vote of 416 to 8 on April 12.

Among its provisions, H.R. 2884 authorized the creation of a two million barrel home heating oil reserve in the Northeast.

Winter is a perennial event. It is sensible to prepare for the cold weather, regardless of external circumstances.

We can help ensure stable home heating oil, diesel fuel, and jet fuel prices by creating a two million barrel reserve of home heating oil that can be drawn down when fuel prices rise dramatically, as they did last winter.

The recent increase in oil prices led fuel costs in some areas of the Northeast to reach their highest point since the Gulf War. This winter it cost some Connecticut residents as much as $2 for a gallon of home heating oil, approximately double the cost of a year ago.

We should not force families to choose between heating their homes and buying food during the winter months.

Establishing a home heating oil reserve in the Northeast, much like the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, to help stabilize prices when fuel costs rise dramatically, will ensure consumers have access to home heating fuel at predictable, affordable prices.

I commend my colleagues for their hard work and leadership on this issue.

Many industry experts agree an influx of home heating oil into the market would drive prices down and allow families access to affordable home heating oil in times of drastic price increase.

According to a 1998 Department of Energy report, the creation of a home heating oil reserve will be an effective method of stabilized home heating oil prices in the future, and the use of a Government-owned reserve in the Northeast would provide benefits to consumers in the Northeast and to the Nation at large.

Mr. Chairman, I hope we move forward with this amendment.

9:40 PM EDT

Donald Sherwood, R-PA 10th

Mr. SHERWOOD. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Chairman, I urge support of this bipartisan, indeed tripartisan amendment. It does some very important things. It reauthorizes the strategic petroleum reserve through 2003. It is new discretion for the Secretary of Energy to purchase oil from domestic stripper wells when the price falls below $15, and it is new discretion for the Secretary of Energy to disburse home heating oil for many future Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserves upon a regional emergency.

But more than that, we need to keep alive this bipartisan debate of how we will have a coherent energy policy in this country, the drilling, the refining, the production, and the distribution so that we will not be held hostage again.

People do not want to put up with this forever. There is no reason in this country that we have to. I urge passage of this amendment.

9:40 PM EDT

Donald Sherwood, R-PA 10th

Mr. SHERWOOD. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Chairman, I urge support of this bipartisan, indeed tripartisan amendment. It does some very important things. It reauthorizes the strategic petroleum reserve through 2003. It is new discretion for the Secretary of Energy to purchase oil from domestic stripper wells when the price falls below $15, and it is new discretion for the Secretary of Energy to disburse home heating oil for many future Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserves upon a regional emergency.

But more than that, we need to keep alive this bipartisan debate of how we will have a coherent energy policy in this country, the drilling, the refining, the production, and the distribution so that we will not be held hostage again.

People do not want to put up with this forever. There is no reason in this country that we have to. I urge passage of this amendment.

9:42 PM EDT

Charles W. Stenholm, D-TX 17th

Mr. STENHOLM. Mr. Chairman, I appreciate the courtesy of the gentleman from Indiana for allowing me to take these 5 minutes and to speak relatively out of order.

I do not have an amendment, but I want to speak about a very, very real and growing problem in my district back home dealing with water. In almost any part of Texas, drive into a rural area and look for a large pond; and when one finds one, it is likely to have been built, funded and managed through a unique coalition of Federal, State, and local agencies.

These projects provide many benefits, including flood control and bettering water quality, but more importantly the improve water availability in areas of perpetual drought.

No resource is more crucial than water. There is an increasing need for water as the population and economy continues to grow rapidly. Water shortage problems arise primarily as a result of limited access to supplies and uneven distribution of water resources. It is these small watershed projects that provide many communities the means to maintain a viable water supply and literally keep the community alive.

Unfortunately, many of these projects do not always find their way to completion on a smooth road. Time and time again I have seen projects back home held up by multiple bureaucratic hurdles that in the end seriously impact the health, safety, and welfare of the community involved.

[Time: 21:45]

For example, the City of Stamford, Texas, is facing a very serious water availability problem in which the Army Corps of Engineers was involved as required by law. The population of Stamford is approximately 3,300. However, the city provides water to 10,000 residents in the area.

Lake Stamford is the sole source of water supply for the city, as well as several surrounding communities and West Texas Utilities' 237 megawatt Paint Creek Steam Electric power station. The city is operating under a 1-year supply of water.

A diversion project was formulated to supplement the inflow to Lake Stamford. The diversion project would be located on Paint Creek and would consist of a pump station, a pipeline and a channel dam, creating a detention pond along the stream channels.

The city began by requesting a pre-application meeting to speed up the process. However, this request was denied by the Corps on the grounds that dams generally destroy and/or degrade riverine systems, even those that do not permanently impound water.

As such, they should be avoided when a practical alternative exists. The applicant, City of Stamford, should evaluate alternatives to supplementing its water supply. Obviously, the authors of this regulatory requirement have never set foot in west Texas, as finding an alternative water source is about as likely as finding an udder on a bull.

After 6 months of jumping through hoops and over hurdles, including the proposed mitigation of 2,200 acres of mesquite trees, a species and often eradicated throughout the State, the city was faced with their next obstacle, an on-site assessment of the project area to evaluate the culture resource sites identified through a required archeological survey which was requested to discuss the project's potential impact on the aquatic environment and formulate possible alternatives that might help

reduce the project's adverse environmental impact.

As expected, a site was identified, a site which if left alone would continue to wash away as a result of normal creek flow regardless of whether or not this project was implemented. However, the city is now required to mitigate this site as a mandate by the National Historic Preservation Act. As a result of this untimely process, and because of some recent spring rains as recorded by the USGS, the City of Stamford has missed out on a 2-year water supply increase of approximately 4,400 acre feet

of water because the infrastructure was not in place.

Opportunities to collect water come rarely in west Texas, and it is painful for those of us from the area to watch the opportunities flow away from us unnecessarily.

Now, Stamford is not alone in this problem. Most, if not all, of the communities in my district are facing serious water availability concerns. The cities of Throckmorton and Winters have a 118-day supply of drinking water remaining with no other options, and the cities of Abilene and Snyder are currently working on potential solutions to their water shortage problem.

Each of these cases will likely involve the Corps, as well as the numerous laws and regulations that require the Corps to dot every ``I'' and cross every ``T.''

Granted, it is important to carefully scrutinize projects ensuring that the requirements of the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the [Page: H5275]

National Historic Preservation Act are fulfilled; but 118 days does not allow much room for bureaucratic red tape, especially when one is dealing with an emergency situation involving the economic stability of a community, in addition to people's lives and well-being.

The situation at hand is not entirely the fault of the Corps. We in Congress need to be mindful of the legislation passed. It is not implemented in a vacuum. A common sense approach to emergency situations like this, I hope, will get the attention of this committee and the committees of jurisdiction so that we might in fact find a solution to a very, very real problem in the near future.

AMENDMENT OFFERED BY MR. HANSEN