9:00 PM EDT

Ron Packard, R-CA 48th

Mr. PACKARD. Mr. Chairman, this is absolutely legislating on an appropriations bill. I make a point of order that the amendment violates clause 2(c) of rule XXI, which provides that an amendment to a general appropriations bill is not in order if it changes existing law.

The rule states very clearly, ``An amendment to a general appropriations bill shall not be in order if changing existing law.'' The amendment authorizes the creation of a new commission, and is clearly in violation of the rule.

Therefore, I must insist on the point of order. I hate to do that to one of my dear colleagues and classmates, but if I made an exception here, I would have to make it in many, many other cases.

9:00 PM EDT

Ron Packard, R-CA 48th

Mr. PACKARD. Mr. Chairman, this is absolutely legislating on an appropriations bill. I make a point of order that the amendment violates clause 2(c) of rule XXI, which provides that an amendment to a general appropriations bill is not in order if it changes existing law.

The rule states very clearly, ``An amendment to a general appropriations bill shall not be in order if changing existing law.'' The amendment authorizes the creation of a new commission, and is clearly in violation of the rule.

Therefore, I must insist on the point of order. I hate to do that to one of my dear colleagues and classmates, but if I made an exception here, I would have to make it in many, many other cases.

9:05 PM EDT

Pete Visclosky, D-IN 1st

Mr. VISCLOSKY. I appreciate the gentlewoman's commitment to her constituents, and also, in terms of her attempt in trying to begin to solve the energy crisis we face in this country. I do look forward to working with the gentlewoman on this issue as we approach conference, but obviously I cannot make a commitment to the gentlewoman here on the House floor. Again, I do appreciate the gentlewoman raising the issue this evening.

AMENDMENT OFFERED BY MR. SHERWOOD

9:05 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.

9:05 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.