7:16 PM EDT

Hansen Clarke, D-MI 13th

Mr. CLARKE of Michigan. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the desk.

The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will report the amendment.

7:16 PM EDT

Hansen Clarke, D-MI 13th

Mr. CLARKE of Michigan. Mr. Chair, this amendment would move $10 million from the Bureau of Land Management to the Environmental Protection Agency's geographic programs under the Environmental Programs and Management account.

Here's the bottom line, what this $10 million is all about. It's helping to save jobs connected to the $7 billion Great Lakes fishing industry. This industry, and the jobs connected to it, are at stake, are at risk because of the Asian carp. So it's my intention that the Environmental Protection Agency designate this additional $10 million to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to stop the Asian carp from migrating into the Great Lakes.

Unfortunately, just last week, and this is the urgency of this situation, why I'm offering this amendment. Just last week, the Army Corps of Engineers found Asian carp DNA in Lake Michigan. This is deeply disturbing. We have to do everything in our power to stop the Asian carp from migrating to the Great Lakes basin because of the $7 billion industry that's at stake.

These carp, they come and they eat all the food up in the ecosystem, and that leaves very little for the native fish. And the native fish is what people fish for in the Great Lakes.

So, again, I urge this body, for the sake of preserving the Great Lakes fishing industry, to allow this amendment. And again, it's my intention that the additional $10 million would go toward the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which right now is underfunded by $100 million. So it'll be some measurable improvement, and to have that money focus on preserving our Great Lakes fishing jobs by stopping the Asian carp.

I yield the balance of my time.

7:19 PM EDT

George Miller, D-CA 7th

Mr. GEORGE MILLER of California. Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of this amendment and strong opposition to this bill. The Interior appropriations bill that is before us today is a radical assault on public health, on clean air and clean water, and on our environment.

This bill wouldn't create a single job. Instead of creating jobs and protecting the public health, this bill gives polluters and other special interests license to do just about anything that they want. This might be the single worst bill in this House for our public health and the environment since the days of Newt Gingrich and Tom DeLay.

[Time: 19:20]

In this bill, the House Republicans are undermining the Clean Water Act, creating loopholes in the Clean Air Act, and gutting the Endangered Species Act.

But that's not all. This legislation makes it harder for our States and cities to improve their crumbling water and wastewater systems through the State clean water and drinking water revolving funds.

The legislation blocks the Environmental Protection Agency from protecting us from mercury, soot, and power plant pollution. Under this bill, the EPA will hardly be allowed to do anything about dangerous pollution that threatens our public health.

The legislation blocks the new vehicle standards that will save consumers at the gas pump and would reduce the amount of oil that we import as a Nation. If that wasn't bad enough, the bill decides to prohibit the State of California from setting its own clean vehicle standards.

The legislation also includes an ``extinction rider,'' one of the most aggressive threats to the Endangered Species Act in my career here that would freeze all of the efforts to protect imperiled species across the country.

One of the most offensive aspects of this bill, out of a very long list, is the 80 percent cut to the Land and Water Conservation Fund. For nearly 50 years, the Land and Water Conservation Fund has taken oil and gas drilling fields, a finite resource, to invest them in a continuing protection of our resources on land, not taxpayer dollars--these are taken from the oil companies that drill in the offshore--and they use that money to preserve the national parks, the wildlife habitat, trails, and

working ranches and forests.

With this cut, Republicans are breaking the decades-long promise that has been a bipartisan consensus across this country, the promise that we will use these oil and gas royalties to protect important American places for future generations.

Outside of the Republican Conference in the House of Representatives, I don't know anyone in this country who wants to end our commitment to use these fees on Big Oil to protect our parks and recreation areas. These are our public lands. These are the lands that America's families use every summer, use at different seasons and different parts of the country all of the time. These are the public spaces that make us the envy of the rest of the world. These are the public systems that countries

from all over the world send people to understand how did we save them, how do we protect them, how do we manage them. We set the standard for the world. As it was said earlier, one of America's best ideas. But now all of that is threatened under the cut to these funds for the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

Mr. Chairman, these are a few of my reasons; but there are many, many more why I would strongly oppose this legislation and the very bad, bad ideas that it contains. I would hope that this Congress would reject this legislation out of hand.

I yield back the balance of my time.

7:20 PM EDT

George Miller, D-CA 7th

Mr. GEORGE MILLER of California. Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of this amendment and strong opposition to this bill. The Interior appropriations bill that is before us today is a radical assault on public health, on clean air and clean water, and on our environment.

This bill wouldn't create a single job. Instead of creating jobs and protecting the public health, this bill gives polluters and other special interests license to do just about anything that they want. This might be the single worst bill in this House for our public health and the environment since the days of Newt Gingrich and Tom DeLay.

[Time: 19:20]

In this bill, the House Republicans are undermining the Clean Water Act, creating loopholes in the Clean Air Act, and gutting the Endangered Species Act.

But that's not all. This legislation makes it harder for our States and cities to improve their crumbling water and wastewater systems through the State clean water and drinking water revolving funds.

The legislation blocks the Environmental Protection Agency from protecting us from mercury, soot, and power plant pollution. Under this bill, the EPA will hardly be allowed to do anything about dangerous pollution that threatens our public health.

The legislation blocks the new vehicle standards that will save consumers at the gas pump and would reduce the amount of oil that we import as a Nation. If that wasn't bad enough, the bill decides to prohibit the State of California from setting its own clean vehicle standards.

The legislation also includes an ``extinction rider,'' one of the most aggressive threats to the Endangered Species Act in my career here that would freeze all of the efforts to protect imperiled species across the country.

One of the most offensive aspects of this bill, out of a very long list, is the 80 percent cut to the Land and Water Conservation Fund. For nearly 50 years, the Land and Water Conservation Fund has taken oil and gas drilling fields, a finite resource, to invest them in a continuing protection of our resources on land, not taxpayer dollars--these are taken from the oil companies that drill in the offshore--and they use that money to preserve the national parks, the wildlife habitat, trails, and

working ranches and forests.

With this cut, Republicans are breaking the decades-long promise that has been a bipartisan consensus across this country, the promise that we will use these oil and gas royalties to protect important American places for future generations.

Outside of the Republican Conference in the House of Representatives, I don't know anyone in this country who wants to end our commitment to use these fees on Big Oil to protect our parks and recreation areas. These are our public lands. These are the lands that America's families use every summer, use at different seasons and different parts of the country all of the time. These are the public spaces that make us the envy of the rest of the world. These are the public systems that countries

from all over the world send people to understand how did we save them, how do we protect them, how do we manage them. We set the standard for the world. As it was said earlier, one of America's best ideas. But now all of that is threatened under the cut to these funds for the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

Mr. Chairman, these are a few of my reasons; but there are many, many more why I would strongly oppose this legislation and the very bad, bad ideas that it contains. I would hope that this Congress would reject this legislation out of hand.

I yield back the balance of my time.

7:22 PM EDT

Lee Terry, R-NE 2nd

Mr. TERRY. Mr. Chairman, I urge defeat of this onerous and job-killing amendment.

I yield back the balance of my time.

The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Connecticut (Mr. Murphy).

The question was taken; and the Chair announced that the ayes appeared to have it.

7:22 PM EDT

Mike Simpson, R-ID 2nd

Mr. SIMPSON. I move to strike the last word in opposition to the amendment.

The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Idaho is recognized for 5 minutes.

7:22 PM EDT

Mike Simpson, R-ID 2nd

Mr. SIMPSON. Mr. Chairman, I appreciate what the gentleman is trying to do. This amendment would limit the BLM from spending $10 million in offsetting collections for oil and gas fees and put the funding into the EPA's geographic programs. I understand what he's trying to do, and I'm sympathetic with what he's trying to do.

I'm not necessarily opposed to increasing this program, and we recognize the challenge of the Asian carp in the Great Lakes. We have many invasive species in Idaho, so I certainly understand where the gentleman is coming from and the challenges that they face.

With that said, we worked hard to balance funding in this bill. We already funded invasive species in the Great Lakes at $43 million, and the total for Great Lakes geographic programs is $250 million. It makes little sense to [Page: H5545]

take funds from offsetting collections for the cost to administer the oil and gas programs. In other words, these programs are paid for by the industry, not by the taxpayers.

So while I don't necessarily oppose what the gentleman is trying to do, it's the offset that the gentleman has created to put the $10 million in there. We've tried to create a balance between these different programs with limited funding. I think we've done a good job in the Great Lakes, the best we could in this bill; and I would oppose the amendment and ask my Members to oppose the amendment.

7:23 PM EDT

Mike Simpson, R-ID 2nd

Mr. SIMPSON. Mr. Chairman, I appreciate what the gentleman is trying to do. This amendment would limit the BLM from spending $10 million in offsetting collections for oil and gas fees and put the funding into the EPA's geographic programs. I understand what he's trying to do, and I'm sympathetic with what he's trying to do.

I'm not necessarily opposed to increasing this program, and we recognize the challenge of the Asian carp in the Great Lakes. We have many invasive species in Idaho, so I certainly understand where the gentleman is coming from and the challenges that they face.

With that said, we worked hard to balance funding in this bill. We already funded invasive species in the Great Lakes at $43 million, and the total for Great Lakes geographic programs is $250 million. It makes little sense to [Page: H5545]

take funds from offsetting collections for the cost to administer the oil and gas programs. In other words, these programs are paid for by the industry, not by the taxpayers.

So while I don't necessarily oppose what the gentleman is trying to do, it's the offset that the gentleman has created to put the $10 million in there. We've tried to create a balance between these different programs with limited funding. I think we've done a good job in the Great Lakes, the best we could in this bill; and I would oppose the amendment and ask my Members to oppose the amendment.

7:24 PM EDT

Hansen Clarke, D-MI 13th

Mr. CLARKE of Michigan. Thank you, sir. I appreciate it.

I do have a newspaper article that does state that the oil and gas industry does hold around 7,200 drilling permits that haven't been used yet, but I do take the gentleman's point into consideration, if there is a way that we could work out something, because I'm not trying to undercut the drilling program at all here.

I did notice in fiscal year 2012 that there was a surplus in terms of what we funded, which was around $45 million; in terms of the collections that were received, there was around $27 million. So there was around an $18 million overfunding there. That's why I did ask for this offset, because I felt it would be responsible and would not undercut the drilling permit program here.

7:25 PM EDT

Mike Simpson, R-ID 2nd

Mr. SIMPSON. Reclaiming my time, I appreciate what the gentleman is trying to do. As I said, we do have some concerns with the offsets, but I am more than willing once this bill goes to conference in whatever form, depending on the outcome of this amendment, obviously, to work with the gentleman to see what we can do with the geographical programs, not just the Great Lakes programs, but there are both Republicans and Democrats that care about the geographical programs.

We've tried to do the best we could there, but there are other geographical programs that the gentleman from Washington (Mr. Dicks) is concerned about and that the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Moran) is also concerned about. We will work with the gentleman in conference in trying to address the concerns expressed by the gentleman.

7:26 PM EDT

Hansen Clarke, D-MI 13th

Mr. CLARKE of Michigan. I offer this amendment for what's at stake. The Great Lakes fishing industry is a $7 billion industry, and right now metro Detroit and the State of Michigan are in very hard-hit economic times by our industrial base being eviscerated. The one saving grace in our State and in that region is the fishing industry. That's the reason why I'm asking for this right now. It's emergency action. We found Asian carp DNA in Lake Michigan last week. I've got to do everything in my

power as a Representative of not only Michigan but of that entire region to stop that carp from getting into the Great Lakes system, which would destroy our fishing industry. I urge your help.

7:26 PM EDT

Mike Simpson, R-ID 2nd

Mr. SIMPSON. I yield back the balance of my time.

The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Clarke).

The question was taken; and the Acting Chair announced that the noes appeared to have it.

7:27 PM EDT

Bobby Rush, D-IL 1st

Mr. RUSH. Mr. Chairman, I demand a recorded vote.

The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to clause 6 of rule XVIII, further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Illinois will be postponed.

AMENDMENT NO. 8 OFFERED BY MS.

HANABUSA

The Acting CHAIR. It is now in order to consider amendment No. 8 printed in House Report 112-181.

7:27 PM EDT

Edward J. Markey, D-MA 7th

Mr. MARKEY. Mr. Chairman, in the underlying bill, the majority has underfunded the Interior Department agency charged with issuing new drilling permits and ensuring that offshore drilling is safe. The underlying bill would underfund the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement--BOEMRE is what it's called--by nearly $35 million. This is the agency that is charged with the responsibility of ensuring that we drill safely off the coastline of the United States.

At our very recent hearing, the director of that agency, Michael Bromwich, said that underfunding this agency, as the majority, the Republicans, have done in this bill, would slow down new offshore drilling permits and make offshore drilling less safe. That is unacceptable.

Unfortunately, the rule the majority adopted has protected the underlying provision limiting the inspection fees paid by the oil and gas industry from a point of order, and now the Republicans will not allow the House to work its will on the amendment that I have drafted with the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Holt) and the gentlelady from California (Mrs. Capps).

Our amendment would have fully funded this safety agency by increasing the inspection fees on the oil and gas industry. The top five oil and gas companies made $35 billion in profits just in the first 3 months of this year. This week, they will likely report similar profits for the second quarter. In fact, earlier today, BP reported quarterly profits of $5.6 billion. That's just for the last 3 months.

[Time: 19:30]

Yet the industry as a whole pays just $10 million a year in inspection fees for offshore drilling, and the Republicans are putting it offshore today from any consideration by the Members of this body.

So our amendment would have, if the Republicans had allowed us, implemented a key recommendation from the independent BP spill commission. The BP commission recommended increasing the $10 million per year that the oil and gas industry currently pays in inspection fees significantly, and that is what our amendment would have done.

And for my friends on both sides of the aisle who are concerned about reducing Federal spending, the increased funding for the safety agency from our amendment would have come from the oil and gas industry and not from taxpayers, but the majority won't even allow a vote on this amendment.

The oil and gas industry supports increased funding for BOEMRE. Just last November, the president and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute, Jack Gerard, said, ``We fully support Congress providing additional resources for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement. This agency needs the additional inspectors and the increased staff and training resources to allow more efficient review and approval of oil and natural gas permit applications and processing of environmental

reviews.''

But what have the Republicans done in this bill? They have underfunded this agency. The oil industry agrees that there needs to be more funding to process permits and conduct inspections. The only question is whether a portion of that funding is going to come from a small increase in inspection fees, as the independent BP commission has recommended, or whether American taxpayers will have to pick up the entire tab. We are saying that they should pay the fee, the American Petroleum Institute should

pay the fee. The oil industry should have to pick up the tab. And right now we do not have an ability to debate that on the House floor.

When people go to get their cars inspected to ensure they are safe and not a threat to the environment, they pay a small fee. But the oil and gas industry, which is recording the largest profits in the history of the world, doesn't have to pay a fee to get some of their rigs inspected to ensure that we don't have another Deepwater Horizon disaster.

The American people want these rigs inspected to make sure they are safe, not allow oil companies to be safe from paying more inspection fees. But when we are trying to cut the deficit, the Republican majority is giving another gift to the oil industry, straining our oil safety agency. More than 1 year after the BP spill, it is still business as usual.

The Acting CHAIR. The time of the gentleman has expired.

7:33 PM EDT

Lois Capps, D-CA 23rd

Mrs. CAPPS. Mr. Chairman, the legislation we are considering today undermines the ability of the Federal [Page: H5546]

Government to continue protecting our Nation's air, land, and waters.

I intended to offer an amendment, along with my colleague from Massachusetts (Mr. Markey) and my colleague from New Jersey (Mr. Holt), to fully fund the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, fully fund the national agency in charge of regulating offshore oil and gas drilling. Unfortunately, due to changes by the Republican leadership to the House budget process, we weren't allowed to offer this amendment.

Mr. Chairman, it's been over a year since the Nation's worst offshore oil spill. And I think our constituents would be surprised to learn that rather than taking action to prevent another deadly spill, this House continues to talk about expanding offshore drilling while sidestepping environmental laws to do so. They would also be surprised to learn that the underlying bill blocks the bureau's ability to collect inspection fees, and, as a result, the agency would see a $35 million cut in their

budget.

Mr. Chairman, in his fiscal year 2012 budget

request, President Obama asked for a significant increase for the bureau over his 2010 budget. He asked for this new money to hire additional inspectors, to enhance environmental reviews, and to enforce strengthened regulations. If we recall a year ago and the events following the spill, we will understand why this is the case.

While this request was a significant increase over prior years, the administration proposed to offset nearly half of the request by increasing the inspection fees on offshore rigs. This was a key recommendation of the President's bipartisan, independent national oil spill commission.

In their final report, the commissioners recommended the industry fees should be increased to, and I quote from their report, ``provide adequate leasing capabilities and regulatory oversight for the increasingly complex energy-related activities being undertaken on the OCS.''

Our straightforward amendment adopts this key recommendation to provide the funding needed for government regulators to do their jobs, and it will ensure a safer and more environmentally responsible industry.

Mr. Chairman, knowing what we know now, if we continue to allow offshore drilling in U.S. waters, the government has a responsibility to ensure that they are protecting us against a repeat of last year's disaster. And if oil and gas corporations want the opportunity to drill, it's only fair for them to help cover the cost of ensuring it's done properly, that their workers are protected, and the surrounding ocean is safe. But, ultimately, Congress holds the purse strings, and we must require these

corporations to step up so the bureau can ensure that the people, communities, economies, and environment in the gulf, Alaska, and off the southern California coast are sufficiently protected against a spill.

Whether or not we have an agency capable of properly regulating the oil and gas industry is dependent upon our decisions. Without these fees, taxpayers, rather than the industry, would have to shoulder the costs of these operations.

If we want to ensure safe and responsible energy development, we must put the lessons learned from the BP oil disaster to use.

I urge my colleagues to vote down this bill which blocks the bureau's ability to collect inspection fees. It's what is needed so we do not have to endure a repeat of the horrific disaster that is still inflicting pain and damage to the Gulf of Mexico and to those who make their living from it.

What a terrible legacy of this Congress that we have done so little following the gulf oil disaster. What a legacy should, God forbid, a future disaster take place and we would have remembered that on our watch we could have done something about it.

I yield back the balance of my time.

7:37 PM EDT

Norm Dicks, D-WA 6th

Mr. DICKS. I move to strike the requisite number of words.

The Acting CHAIR. Without objection, the gentleman from Washington is recognized for 5 minutes.

There was no objection.

7:37 PM EDT

Rush Holt, D-NJ 12th

Mr. HOLT. As you heard, this appropriations bill provides several hundred million dollars to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement. Sounds like a lot of money, but it is far less than what is needed for the protection of the environment and of workers for offshore oil and other activities.

The Director of the bureau recently testified that these funds that are missing are needed and that their lack will have a direct and immediate impact on the ability of the agency to hire inspection and permitting personnel.

It's interesting that so eager is the majority to look after the interests of the oil industry that they ruled out of order our amendment which provides one way to make up for these lost funds, this amendment that I would have offered with Mr. Markey of Massachusetts and Mrs. Capps of California had the amendment been in order. So eager are they to look after the interests of the oil industry that they actually work against the oil industry.

[Time: 19:40]

So eager are they to look after the interests of the oil industry, that they actually work against the oil industry. The irony is pretty rich here. At a time when the majority is aggressively pushing their oil, oil, oil, drill, drill, drill agenda, they are slashing the very funds that are needed by the bureau to conduct the lease sales and issue the permits and inspect the offshore drilling facilities so the industry can move ahead safely and efficiently.

You know, at a time when we are about, according to the majority here, about to require seniors and the poor to pay more for their health care, and the majority is considering drastic cuts to the social safety net and considering trading away critical parts of Medicare and Medicaid, the majority is prepared to hand out yet another subsidy to the oil industry. They refuse to make in order the legislation that would take 0.02 percent, that is two-tenths of 1 percent, of the annual profits of the

top five oil companies to replace the missing $35 million in inspection fees. That amount would fully fund the bureau and would ensure that the agency could effectively and efficiently issue the permits and conduct the safety inspections.

This is an industry that is making tens of billions of dollars each quarter. As we have heard, BP just today announced more than $5 billion in profit. That is a little bit below expectations, we read, $5 billion in the last 3 months.

So as a result, because this amendment is not being made in order, this bill, should it become law, would leave the agency that is responsible for the management, regulation, and enforcement of offshore drilling underfunded, understaffed, and it would leave the public and the workers at risk.

I yield back the balance of my time.

The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will read.