Ms. SOLIS. Mr. Chairman, I move that the Committee do now rise.
The motion was agreed to.
Accordingly, the Committee rose; and the Speaker pro tempore (Mr. Sarbanes) having assumed the chair, Mr. Serrano, Acting Chairman of the Committee of the Whole House on the state of the Union, reported that that Committee, having had under consideration the bill (H.R. 3221) moving the United States toward greater energy independence and security, developing innovative new technologies, reducing carbon emissions, creating green jobs, protecting consumers, increasing clean renewable
energy production, and modernizing our energy infrastructure, had come to no resolution thereon.
Ms. PELOSI. I thank the distinguished chairman for yielding time.
Mr. Chairman, today we have an historic opportunity in the House of Representatives. Today we are faced with a momentous decision on energy and global warming. With this bill, we are turning toward the future for the sake of our children and our planet. With this bill, the New Direction for Energy Independence, National Security, and Consumer Protection Act, Congress can indeed take our Nation in a new direction. This is a moment when we can make a decision in favor of the future.
Mr. Chairman, you acknowledged all of the chairmen and chairwomen who have contributed to the success of this legislation that we are bringing forward today, and I want to commend all of them. I want to say that the principles that have been put into this legislation are very important. Our energy independence is a national security issue. It is an economic issue for our country and for America's families. It is an environmental health issue for our children. And it is a moral issue. This beautiful
planet is God's gift to us. We have a moral responsibility to preserve it. That is why I am so pleased that so many in the religious community are supporting our actions today.
This bill makes the largest investment in homegrown biofuels in American history. We know that America's farmers will fuel America's independence. We will send our energy dollars to middle America, not to the Middle East.
The bill promotes cleaner and efficient means of transportation, including alternative fuels in busses and ferries and hybrid automobiles in hauling goods around the country.
I have a very long statement about this bill, I'm very enthusiastic about it, and I will use that enthusiasm to submit most of my statement for the Record.
But I do want to acknowledge the important work that Mr. Dingell did on this legislation because in his bill, renewable energy offers a new direction for our country. And what he does is, 10.4 billion tons of dioxide emissions are reduced. That's more emissions than are used by all of the cars on America's highways today. It's very important. And I want to thank Mr. Rangel, who we will hear from later, on the fact that this bill is paid for.
So it's about our national security. We cannot be dependent on foreign oil. As I said, this is God's creation. This issue is as local as our neighborhoods; it is as global as the planet. It is about how we educate our children in this new green economy. It's how we create jobs. And Congressman Miller and Congresswoman Solis will be talking about that in a moment.
The Prophet Isaiah has said, Mr. Chairman, that ``to minister to the needs of God's creation is an act of worship. To ignore that is to dishonor the God who made us.'' I firmly believe from the bottom of my heart that if we do believe that, that we should pass this legislation today. It's about our children, their future, the world in which they live to fulfill their lives, and it's about America being number one and in the lead.
So I urge my colleagues, I promise to submit it for the Record if you promise to read it.
My colleagues, today we are fced with a momentous decision on energy and global warming.
Will we turn toward the future, for the sake of our children and our planet? Or will we remain mired in the disputes and regional differences that have so often prevented the Congress from adopting new, innovative approaches to our energy needs?
With this bill, the ``New Direction for Energy Independence, National Security, and Consumer Protection Act,'' Congress can indeed take our nation in a New Direction.
Energy independence is a national security issue, and environmental and health issue, an economic issue, and a moral issue.
As it says in the Bible, ``To minister to the needs of God's creation is an act of worship, to ignore those needs is to dishonor the God who made us.''
This is the moment when we can make a decision in favor of the future, while ministering to the needs of God's creation.
Ten committees have been hard at work for months to develop this legislation, and I salute the leadership of our Chairmen. These committees have held extensive hearings and markups. The Appropriations Committee has also highlighted sustainable energy and global warming in their bills.
As a result, almost every Member of Congress has had the opportunity to participate in this process. Thank you all for your creativity and hard work.
With broad input, and a commitment to the future, Congress has created this bill with four principles in mind. We must strengthen our national security by reducing our dependence on foreign oil; lower energy costs with greater efficiency, cleaner energy, and smarter technology; create new and good-paying American jobs, and reduce global warming.
And we must do it all in a fiscally sound way.
To fund these key investments in our future, we have demanded greater accountability to the taxpayer from oil and gas companies that drill on Federal lands.
This bill makes the largest investment in homegrown biofuels in American history. We know that America's farmers will fuel America's energy independence, creating jobs and prosperity across rural America.
This bill will send our energy dollars to middle America and coast to coast; not the Middle East.
This bill promotes cleaner and more efficient means of transportation, including alternative fuel buses and ferries, and hybrid locomotives for hauling goods around the country.
With the energy efficiency provisions in this legislation, we will lower costs for American consumers and businesses in key areas, such as electricity, home heating, and cooling--saving Americans more than $300 billion dollars.
With these energy efficiency measures, we will also reduce carbon dioxide emissions by as much as 10.4 billion tons through 2030, more than the annual emissions of all the cars on the road in America today.
This bill is essential to developing renewable energy sources in America. It makes a strong commitment to research and innovation. It extends tax provisions that have provided a strong foundation for our renewable energy industries, provides new incentives, and bolsters research.
Renewable energy offers a new direction for our country by improving energy independence and reducing global warming.
As we address energy independence and global warming with innovation and market-based solutions, we will grow our economy and create good paying jobs--including ``green-collar'' jobs.
Because small businesses are the backbone of our economy, this bill ensures small businesses can reap the economic benefits of new energy technologies.
The consequences of global warming will be as local as our neighborhoods, and as broad as our entire planet. So too must our solutions be both local and global. [Page: H9724]
This bill lays out specific steps the Administration should take for the U.S. to resume a constructive role as the global leader in combating global warming.
Here at home, the Federal Government should lead by example. This bill requires the Federal Government to become carbon-neutral by the year 2050, and lays out a number of specific measures that will assist our government to achieve that goal.
States and local communities need to know how to plan for the global warming that is already underway. This bill reorganizes the federal climate change research, so every locality has information it needs to prepare.
It also assists us in tracking the effects of global warming on the oceans and wildlife so we can take steps to protect them.
Mr. Chairman, the legislation we debate today is just the ambitious first phase in what will be a series of revolutionary actions for energy independence.
But it is a very serious first step, that honors God's creation--our planet, and creates a better world for our children.
With confidence in American ingenuity and faith in our future, today we can declare a New Direction in our energy policy--one for our future generations. I urge my colleagues to do just that by supporting this bill.
Mr. BARTON of Texas. Mr. Chairman, I am not a member of the Education and Workforce Committee, so I have a parliamentary inquiry. Are we on the Education and Workforce time at this time?
Mr. BARTON of Texas. Well, Mr. Chairman, I would claim the time for the Education and Workforce Committee since the Education and Workforce Committee is not here.
Mr. BARTON of Texas. Mr. Chairman, when Mr. Dingell uses Energy and Commerce time, then I will use Energy and Commerce time, but at this point in time I will reserve the time.
Mr. TIERNEY. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Chairman, today I rise to highlight one aspect of the Energy bill that is before the House today, that's the provision essentially incorporating the Green Jobs Act of 2007, which had previously been passed by the House Committee on Education and Labor.
Let me begin by acknowledging and thanking Speaker Pelosi for making this issue, ``the green workforce development,'' a priority in her environmental agenda.
My cosponsor, HILDA SOLIS of California, is appreciated for her work in ensuring that a broad cross section of workers get in at the bottom floor of this growing industry.
This innovative proposal, ``green jobs,'' will make $120 million a year available across the country to begin training workers for jobs in the clean energy sector. 35,000 people per year can benefit from vocational education that will provide for them secure employment in this country.
Until now, the United States has not really had a coherent strategy to address the growing labor shortage and demands of these green and clean energy sectors. This bill, this particular provision, will help a broad cross section of workers get into these growing industries.
Green-collar jobs can provide living wages and upward mobility. For some, they will create a way out of poverty, even as they help improve our environment and buttress our national security by lessening reliance on foreign oil.
We've passed legislation to increase science, technology, engineering and math teachers, to educate more engineers and scientists. Now we have the chance to make sure that those who do not have degrees or do not choose to go to college can also support a family and contribute to their communities. Urban youth, retired veterans, struggling farmers, and displaced workers from our manufacturing sectors can all get training through this proposal.
They will help meet a growing labor need as America seeks thousands of green-collar workers to install millions of solar panels, to weatherize buildings and homes, to build and maintain wind farms, and more. These jobs are energy saving, air quality improving, and carbon cutting, and they're all local. They mostly cannot be outsourced to other countries. Solar panels and wind farms need to be built here. Buildings to be retrofitted to save energy have their foundations in U.S. soil.
Today, we can join Speaker Pelosi and the many numerous advocacy organizations that have worked hard to develop and expand the concept of green jobs, making sure that the benefits of a cleaner and greener economy are shared broadly at all income levels.
Special acknowledgement goes to the Ella Baker Center's Van Jones, whose passionate expressions have been liberally borrowed here and whose personal energy has greatly advanced this idea.
The return in energy savings helped by green jobs can be enormous. The positive impact on lives from rewarding employment can be priceless. Mr. Chairman, this provision of the clean energy bill can help provide America with the working muscle, practical experience and training, and industry-specific intelligence to change our Nation's future.
I urge my colleagues to support the entire bill, being mindful that the Green Jobs Act of 2007 contributes specifically to this appeal.
Mr. DINGELL. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members have 5 legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks and to insert extraneous material into the record on H.R. 3221.
Mr. DINGELL. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself 1 minute.
The legislation here represents the work of 10 committees. In the portion of the legislation written by the Committee on Energy and Commerce, there is not a single provision that a Member would feel justified in opposing. The legislation from the Commerce Committee sets appliance standards for buildings and other devices and appliances which, when in full force, will save 10 million tons emissions of carbon dioxide, more than the annual emissions of every car in this country. It promotes the
development of the Smart Electricity Grid that will deliver energy to a household in a more efficient manner. It paves the way for more efficient use of electricity and [Page: H9725]
will make innovations like plug-in hybrid vehicles even more promising.
It improves the loan guarantee programs to the Department of Energy, and it makes the largest investment in our history in biofuels, along with other things which will move forward and see to it that the infrastructure is there to provide the necessary service.
Some of our Members are unhappy with what is not in the bill; some of them are unhappy with what is in the bill. I would observe that we will be having additional legislation which we are contemplating bringing forth from the Energy and Commerce Committee in the month of September which will address a large number of questions not now before the House, including the question of global warming in all of its aspects.
These controversies have been avoided so that we could produce a consensus bill that will pass the House and the Senate and be signed into law by the President. That bill is before us at this time, and it merits our support.
Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. SHIMKUS. Mr. Chairman, I'm going to count to 10 and make sure I'm calm and deliberative. I do appreciate my friends on the other side.
Throughout the process in our committee, numerous times I've heard the promise that we will have coal provisions in the Greenhouse Gas Bill this fall, and I think we kind of heard it again today. I am skeptical. I am a doubter. I don't believe it will happen. That's why I'm upset about the bill today.
We just heard Education and Workforce people talk about jobs. I'll talk about jobs; coal-to-liquid jobs. One coal-to-liquid refinery that produces 80,000 barrels of coal-to-liquid, a thousand jobs, 2,500 to 5,000 construction jobs, 15 million tons of coal per year, and up to 500 coal mining jobs. Those are real jobs with great benefits and great wages.
Energy security. We have our soldiers deployed in the Middle East, and they've been there for a lot of reasons for many, many years. I think it was Carter who said the Persian Gulf region was an important national security interest. Why? We know why. Crude oil. How do we decrease that importance of the Persian Gulf region? We move to coal-to-liquid technologies, our coal fields to a coal-to-liquid refinery, through a pipeline to fuel our aviation assets that the Department of Defense really wants.
What is wrong with this bill? Everything. No soy diesel. No renewable fuel standard. No ethanol. No renewable fuel standard. No coal. No alternative fuel standard. Nothing on nuclear energy. No expansion. There is no supply in this bill. Defeat this bill.
Mr. YOUNG of Alaska. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Chairman, I rise in the strongest opposition to this bill. This bill, as brought forth by the majority, will increase the energy costs to all Americans. It increases the imports more than we are now, where we are now at 67 percent, of foreign oil, sending dollars overseas to compete against us and actually raise the war of terror.
I am shocked that any union would ever support this bill. It will lead to the loss of jobs in all sectors of our economy. It is clearly the work of those, including the leadership on the other side, who do not appreciate the blessings of America's place in the world.
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher once said, ``Nothing is more obstinate than a fashionable consensus.'' This bill appears to be based on the consensus opinion that America is too wealthy, too strong and too influential in the world. The way we got there was to build the world's strongest economy by using the energy that God gave us.
The popular consensus of representatives of this bill is if we use less energy and make it more expensive then we can unilaterally reduce our impact on the world. I have news for those who believe this: Nature abhors a vacuum.
The U.S. has been the world's number one industrial economy since the Civil War. Since the Civil War. We got there by using our coal, our oil, our natural gas and our brains to create and use more energy to amplify human strengths to do more things than any other competitor on Earth. Along the way we became number one.
Now, for the first time since the Civil War, our Nation faces serious competition to our number one status from China and India. China just surpassed Germany to become the third-largest economy in the world. Experts believe that within 20 years they will overcome this Nation. And with this bill they will.
China already produces more CO
2 than we do, which is the logical outcome of the relentless race to use more energy, because they understand energy use means economic growth. They are our competitors. They import energy around the world. They consume over half of the cement in the world today building their economy for tomorrow.
So what does this bill do to prepare our Nation for competition? It tells us to turn the lights out. That is what this bill does.
Mr. Chairman, I fear for our Nation. I fear for our young people. I fear for a Congress that does not understand that to stay in number one requires more energy, not less. Energy is the power of life. I fear for a Congress that does not understand the history of our blessed place in this continent of the world. I fear for my children and my grandchildren because what you are doing here today is dead wrong. And anybody who says this is the right thing to do does not understand the energy policy
President Ronald Reagan, who more than anyone understood the spirit that makes America great, often referred to our Nation as ``the Shining City on the Hill.'' Mr. Chairman, I fear we are witnessing nothing less than an effort to turn off the lights in what Ronald Reagan referred to as ``the Shining City on the Hill,'' because some believe we need to rest in our quest to make the world a better place. Our competitors in the world would like us to rest.
Mr. Chairman, this is a bad bill. There is no energy in this bill at all. We are faced with the ability not to have our ships float, our trains run, our cars drive and our trucks deliver because there is no energy in this bill. And I say shame on you.
Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. WILSON of South Carolina. Thank you, Mr. McKeon.
Mr. Chairman, I rise today in opposition to this legislation. We have heard from many of our colleagues this morning about the flaws of this legislation across a range of policy areas. I would like to focus on one in particular that concerns many Members of the Committee on Education and Labor, and particularly the subcommittee on which I serve as ranking Republican, the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections. That issue is, of course, that the application of Davis-Bacon prevailing wage requirements,
which is expanded no less than five times in this bill.
I submitted an amendment to the Rules Committee which would have conditioned the effective dates of the Davis-Bacon expansions in this bill on the completion of a study by the GAO to determine how effective the Davis-Bacon wage system is, and in particular whether progress was being made on improving its known flaws. I will give my colleagues some background.
In 2004, the Department of Labor's Office of Inspector General examined the Wage and Hour Division's attempt to update the Davis-Bacon wage-gathering system, a system that the Department of Labor spent $22 million updating. The results were troubling.
The IG report stated: ``Wage and fringe benefit data supplied wage and hour, and used in its surveys continue to have inaccuracies and may be biased. Further, prevailing wage decisions developed from the data are not timely.''
Indeed, the problems identified are dramatic. My amendment simply would have required the Government Accountability Office to examine the status of the Department of Labor's efforts to remedy these identified flaws and make progress implementing the IG's suggested reforms before we expand Davis-Bacon wages and its associated costs in the wholly new areas of law.
That is why I submitted my amendment to rules and why I am disappointed we are not debating it today. The Wilson amendment may not have solved all of the problems in this bill, but it would have at least made an effort to correct one significant issue that we know sorely needs fixing.
As the Democrat Congress endeavors to expand Davis-Bacon into unprecedented areas under this bill, states and private parties receiving loan guarantees, grants and bonds will now be required to comply with the act. That is an unprecedented expansion beyond the original purposes of the act. I urge my colleagues to vote ``no.''
Mr. BARTON of Texas. What is the intention of the controller of the time for the Energy and Commerce Committee on the majority? Are you about to yield back? Are you going to reserve?
Mr. BOUCHER. If the gentleman would yield, we are reserving the balance of our time. We do not have additional speakers on this side for general debate. We do reserve the potential for a brief close in general debate, but that will be the extent of general debate on our side.
Mr. BARTON of Texas. Then, Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of the Energy and Commerce time on the minority side until the end of the general debate.
Mr. BOUCHER. If the gentleman from Texas would yield again for a moment, what we are attempting to do actually is facilitate the debate. At this point in time, if the gentleman is prepared to use his time, we would yield back the balance of our time.
Mr. BARTON of Texas. All right. Then I would yield myself 5 1/2 minutes, with the understanding, I want to make sure before I do this Mr. Boucher or Mr. Dingell or some member of the Energy and Commerce Committee is going to speak after I speak. Is that correct?
Mr. BARTON of Texas. Mr. Chairman, first let me say some positive things. I want to commend Chairman Dingell and Subcommittee Chairman BOUCHER for the number of hearings that they have held on this issue in this Congress and this committee. I want to commend them for the draft that they circulated earlier this year in which they attempted to put forward a bipartisan energy bill that actually had real energy in it. Unfortunately, the draft that Subcommittee [Page:
Chairman BOUCHER circulated was hijacked. I am not sure what happened to it, but it just kind of disappeared.
We had six committee prints that were marked up at subcommittee and full committee. They were artfully crafted in such a way that no amendment that dealt with energy was germane to the committee prints. As I said at the full committee markup, I am in awe of the parliamentary expertise, but I was not in awe of the substance of the actual amendments or the actual committee prints.
This is the first Congress that I have served in in which there has not been a bipartisan approach to energy policy. In all the previous Congresses that I have served in, whether you had a Democrat majority or a Republican majority, when it came to energy policy, we tried to be bipartisan. For some reason, so far in this Congress that has not been the case.
If you look at the complete text of the bill that is before us, you see things in it that have never been seen before in an energy bill.
There is some sort of a Clean Energy Foundation that is appropriated $100 million that apparently has the authority to enter into contracts, perhaps even binding contracts, with foreign governments. That is not from the Energy and Commerce part of the bill, but it is in one of the titles in the bill.
We don't have anything on clean coal technology. We don't have anything on oil and gas. There is in the Energy and Commerce section of the bill, there is something to try to clarify the loan guarantees with regard to new construction of nuclear power plants which was considered in the Energy Policy Act of 2005.
There are some sections of the bill that deal with building codes, and one could argue that section of the bill preempts State and local building codes. I'm not sure that is the kind of energy policy that we really want to implement, where Washington knows better than your local government what the building codes should be.
There is a provision that says ``by date certain''. I think the date certain is 2050, that every building in America has to, on a net basis, consume no energy. There are some exclusions based on reasonableness, but there is no exclusion based on cost, including the building that we are currently in, the Capitol of the United States of America.
Can you imagine what it is going to cost if this bill becomes law to make the U.S. Capitol on a net basis use no energy? I am not sure it could even be done, but if it can be done, it is going to be enormously expensive.
For some of the reasons I have already outlined, the administration has said they are going to veto the bill. So this is really an exercise in sterile futility because this bill isn't going anywhere. I am not even sure it will be attempted to be conferenced with the other body.
This is not the way I conducted energy policy when I was chairman of the Energy Committee. I believe it is probably not the way that the current chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee really wants to conduct energy policy. This is really a political exercise to give some Members of the majority party a forum to put forward their pet ideas and pet projects. But it is not good for the country, and it is not good energy policy, and it should be defeated in the strongest possible terms.
Mr. HALL of Texas. Thank you, sir.
Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Chairman, I have said it here before and I will keep on saying it. For some reason, there is a war going on today against energy from fossil fuels, and I am not really sure why. Anyone ought to be able to understand that, to be less dependent on foreign sources of oil and to increase our national security, we need conventional, renewable, and alternative sources of energy. Our country at this time will not be able to continue to thrive and lead the world on renewable energy alone. Punishing
the oil and gas industry, hindering alternative uses of clean coal and stifling nuclear power will ensure that the United States loses its place as a world leader.
Make no mistake, I support the continued development and increased use of renewable energy but not at the detriment of fossil fuels and clean nuclear energy that we absolutely have to have today.
The bill before us today includes many provisions of research and development into renewable energies that I support, but there is not one thing in this bill that would encourage the development or production of oil and gas in our country or off our country's coast, which is the only way we are going to decrease our imports in the near term.
Why? What on earth are my friends on the other side of the aisle afraid of? I can't for the life of me understand the pure venom that is felt for the oil and gas industry.
At this time in our country's history, more than any other time, when we are up against terrorists who have no fear of dying and only want to kill as many Americans as they can, we need to develop our domestic sources of energy for ourselves. We need to reduce our imports and our dependence on OPEC. And, yes, we need to continue developing renewable and alternative sources of energy to eventually help displace our use of oil and gas. But it is not going to happen next year or in the next 10 years.
We need to be realistic about this and deliberate about this and come together about this because I believe Republicans and Democrats alike care about our youngsters and care about the future of this country.
Mr. Chairman, I am disappointed that this bill has energy independence and national security in its title. I think it is misleading. We can't become independent and secure on energy [Page: H9730]
deficiency and research and development alone. We definitely need them, but they can't carry the weight of our country's energy needs.
As the ranking member of the Science Committee, I would like to focus on the science side of the bill. While I feel there is some good research and development in the science title, I am disappointed to see that ARPA-E is in there again. We just passed it as part of the Competitiveness bill on Thursday after 2 months of negotiations. The Senate passed it on Friday, and it is on its way to the President's desk.
I am as opposed to it today as part of this bill as I was on Thursday when it was a part of the other bill. I am especially troubled that this version costs billions more than the one we just passed. I still believe it is unnecessary and could divert very valuable resources away from the Office of Science.
During committee markups, I, along with several other of my Republican colleagues, offered amendments that would have improved upon the bills, but they were voted down by every Democrat on the committee. These were commonsense provisions I thought and we thought that would have ensured that our most abundant domestic source of energy, coal, would continue to be a part of the energy future as an alternative fuel.
One amendment by Mr. McCaul from Texas simply added coal-to-liquids refineries to a list of facilities that could be a source of carbon dioxide for the large-scale sequestration demonstrations in the carbon capture and sequestration bill.
I offered an amendment to research ways to blend coal-to-liquids fuels with biofuels in order to prolong the supply of both. This would have helped to mitigate the potential negative effects that increased biofuel development would have on our food supply and on our prices. My friends on the other side of the aisle have decided that coal is a four-letter word when, instead, they ought to be looking at it as a ticket to independence.
Our greatest generation is no longer my generation, but it is our children and our grandchildren's generation. Let's not leave them with no choice but to fight wars all over the world for energy because our leadership here continues to put forth legislation that stifles domestic production of oil and gas and shuts out coal and shuts out nuclear energy sources.
Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. RAHALL. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself the balance of my time for the Committee on Natural Resources.
Mr. Chairman, to follow on my previous comments and to respond to many of the comments made on the minority side, there are those on the majority side representing coal fields of this country that recognize that we must as a Nation aggressively pursue strategies and technologies to capture and store the carbon dioxide that results from coal combustion.
There are three provisions in the natural resources title which seek to accomplish that goal. The first is a national assessment of the geological capacity for carbon storage, focusing on deep saline formations, unmineable coal seams or oil and gas reservoirs capable of accommodating industrial carbon dioxide.
The second initiative directs the Interior Department to devise a regulatory framework for conducting geological carbon sequestration activities on Federal lands. This is extremely important considering future actions this Congress may take in this area. In the event a suitable geological formation is identified on Federal lands, there currently exists no clear-cut authority to allow that activity to go forward.
The third is the biomass utilization program established by this title. One of the purposes of this program is to develop biomass utilization for energy, including through combustion with other fuels such as coal, to achieve cleaner emissions. This is especially important in our continued efforts to develop a viable coal-to-liquids industry in this country to counter imported oil. Expert studies and tests show that when coal is mixed with biomass in the coal-to-liquid production process it will
produce a cleaner fuel at the tailpipe than conventional gasoline.
In conclusion, on our title VII of the Natural Resources part of this bill, I would like to highlight provisions which aim to restore the public interest in the management of our Federal oil and gas reserves.
A number of GAO and Interior Inspector General investigations made it abundantly clear to our committee that the taxpayers are not receiving a fair return for the disposition of their resources as a result of royalty underpayments, various schemes and outright fraud.
The Natural Resources Committee has been very aggressive in pursuing these matters. There is a fiduciary responsibility to the American people involved here, and if the Interior Department will not fully exercise it under this administration, then those of us in Congress on our committee will.
Provisions of this title will bolster Federal audits and provide expanded tools for requiring compliance with the payment of Federal oil and gas royalties. This is simply good government.
Our portion of this bill provides for transparency, accountability, and a fair return to the true owners of these Federal lands, the American taxpayer. No longer can we allow the American taxpayer to be ripped off, to not receive their fair share for the disposition of their resources. No longer can we allow cronyism, fraud and abuse to exist in the Department of the Interior.
I conclude by saying that the Natural Resources portion of this bill is a good bill. The underlying bill is a good bill. I salute our Speaker, a true leader, who has addressed the concerns of many members of our caucus, who has an intimate grasp of the details of this legislation. Under Speaker Pelosi's leadership, we are advancing in this particular legislation energy independence for this country, a freeing of our reliance upon foreign, unstable sources of oil that imperil not only
our national security but imperil the lives of our young men and women.
This bill helps restore that integrity and that independence. I urge all of my colleagues to vote for the underlying bill.
Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.
Mr. SHIMKUS. Mr. Chairman, I want to talk about natural gas for a few minutes. Natural gas is a major commodity product in a lot of what we do in our country. I think this chart basically shows that as the price of natural gas goes up jobs go down. We are not competitive with countries around the world on natural gas.
Look what we have done and what we continue to do in this bill. It is amazing how our major coastal States want to drive us to energy efficiency, they want to use electricity, but they don't want us to use the natural resources off their coast.
This is a map of our country. It shows all the areas in red that are off limits for natural gas exploration. So we have the States of Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont; we have the great State of California, Oregon, Washington State. Guess what? It is okay if we use natural gas, but don't get it from our Outer Continental Shelf.
What do they do in this bill? They put a big ``don't get it from'' the mountain States any more. So we continue to want to use electricity, we continue to want to use natural gas, but you know what, we don't want to explore for it. That is why I am concerned about this bill.
I have great friends, and I appreciate the efficiency debate. Light cars, light bulbs, it could be a little bit of help.
But if we don't move with a renewable fuel standard, if we don't use coal in an alternative fuel standard, if we don't continue to move on ethanol, if we don't expand nuclear options and hopefully move to a hydrogen economy, we're kidding ourselves. We have to do both. To come to this floor and say that this is going to decrease our reliance on imported crude oil and this is going to make us safer is not correct.
Vote against this bill.
Mr. HALL of Texas. I just want to simply say that at a time when we import 60 percent of our oil from OPEC countries and others, we need to be encouraging domestic production of fossil fuels. We have it. We don't have anywhere else to turn.
I just think energy is such a national security issue, not a partisan political issue. We have to move beyond partisan rhetoric and pass a sensible energy legislation that would promote all sources of energy, increases our domestic capacity, reduce the cost of energy, promote technologies to make fossil fuels including coal, clean coal cleaner and more efficient.
Mr. OBERSTAR. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself the balance of my time.
The gentleman fully knows the issue at hand in Massachusetts. The entire Massachusetts delegation knows their State better than we here in this body.
As for the capacity issue, that amendment was never offered.
Our bill does keep the lights on, but with photovoltaic, energy efficient lighting, compact fluorescents. To reduce the cost, save the use of coal so that it can be directed to more important industrial purposes like producing steel, we do have an energy conservation and energy-creating program that we bring to the floor in our portion of this legislation.
I was actually out this morning myself helping the energy issue, consuming 900 calories on the seat of a bicycle, rather than consuming a gallon of gasoline in my car.
In fact, if we all did that, we could save that eight barrels of oil a year, consume 86,000 calories on the seat of a bicycle and convert from a hydrocarbon economy to the carbohydrating economy.
Mr. LANTOS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Let me first commend Speaker Pelosi for orchestrating an incredibly complex set of provisions across the full spectrum of issues and committees. It was a masterful achievement, and we are all in her debt. [Page: H9733]
Mr. Chairman, I yield myself as much time as I might consume.
Mr. Chairman, climate change presents a challenge to all of humanity. The bill before us today includes several groundbreaking international provisions to ensure America's role as the world's leader in the fight to save the planet, not as a reluctant and grudging participant.
Passing our bill will mark a historic turning point in this country's engagement with the international community on global warming. No longer will we debate and delay endlessly dealing with this crisis. No longer will we send low-level bureaucrats to crucial international climate change meetings with express marching orders to muzzle the science and to obstruct action.
I am very pleased that my friend from New Jersey, Congressman Chris Smith, joined me as the chief Republican cosponsor of the international provisions included in this bill.
Our legislation passed the Foreign Affairs Committee overwhelmingly on a bipartisan basis, and I encourage all of our Members to vote for this historic legislation.
Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
We all agree that the United States can be a leader on a number of global and environmental issues and we seek to find innovative ways to address these challenges.
This bill is not the answer. It is merely a compilation of regulation, increased funding, and the creation of additional layers of bureaucracy.
Title II of this bill, the Foreign Affairs title, sets up a new office structure at the State Department to focus on climate change, but it ignores the fact that we already have an office in the Department's Bureau of Oceans, Environment and Science that deals with these very issues. The bill is silent on how many new personnel will be needed for this new office and at what cost.
This legislation also seeks to ignore the current efforts in the existence of the senior climate negotiator and special representative by creating a new duplicative decision. Title II, section C, of this bill proposes a new, federally supported organization entitled the International Clean Energy Foundation, which would duplicate the grant-making work of the State Department, USAID, and the United Nations.
The bill authorizes $100 million over 5 years for this Foundation and essentially guarantees that the Foundation will exist forever.
In fact, following passage by the Foreign Affairs Committee of a bill which became title II of H.R. 3221, we received an estimate from the Congressional Budget Office which says that just the Foreign Affairs title of the bill would cost $772 million over the years 2008 to 2012. That is $772 million over 5 years.
A few short months ago, we had a debate in the House on the Intelligence authorization bill, which contained a provision mandating that the intelligence community use its resources to develop a National Intelligence Estimate on the issue of global warming. We thought that the majority would wait to receive an assessment of the nature and extent of the problem, as well as a range of factors contributing to the problem before having the House vote on this bill. But this was not to be.
As public servants, our overarching responsibility should be to do no harm. This legislation, I agree, runs contrary to that principle.
We all share a desire to do more to exert U.S. leadership in the environmental realm. We must be careful not to fool ourselves into believing that throwing money at the problem and adding layers of bureaucracy are truly effective ways of addressing this issue.
Mr. Chairman, I urge my colleagues to vote ``no'' on the bill, and I reserve the balance of our time.
Mr. GOODLATTE. I thank the gentlewoman for yielding. [Page: H9734]
Mr. Chairman, I rise today in strong opposition to this legislation, which will do nothing to make us energy independent. This bill sets us on a dangerous path and ensures that we cannot produce sufficient domestic energy.
I believe we should find solutions to address our energy needs. Unfortunately, this legislation will result in less domestic energy production. This bill increases America's dependence on foreign oil, a dangerous policy for our national and economic security. This is a tax and spend and mandate policy by the Democrats, imposing $15 billion in tax increases and myriad new government mandates.
They will say these taxes and mandates won't affect average Americans, only oil companies in other businesses. Nothing could be further from the truth. These taxes will impede domestic oil and gas production, discourage investment in refinery capacity, and make it more expensive for domestic energy companies to operate in America than their foreign competitors, making the price at the pump rise even higher. An increased tax doesn't just hurt energy companies, it hurts every American energy consumer.
This legislation does not even address some of our most promising domestic alternative and renewable energy supplies. There is nothing in this bill that addresses clean coal-to-liquid technologies or nuclear energy. Coal is one of our Nation's most abundant resources, yet the development of clean coal technologies is completely ignored.
Furthermore, this legislation doesn't encourage the construction of nuclear energy generation facilities. As the Congress works to promote green energy, we should encourage the production of more nuclear sites which provide energy without CO
In one of the few programs that could lead to increased energy production, I am baffled that it contains Davis-Bacon labor provisions. Renewable energy plans financed through loan guarantees would be located in rural America, but artificially inflated construction costs caused by Davis-Bacon will negate the program in most rural areas.
This legislation does not address the energy concerns of our country. It makes the situation worse. If we want to make America energy independent, this Congress must pass a bill that contains energy. This bill does not.
I urge my colleagues to reject this bill and work to find real solutions to the energy needs facing our country.
Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to my dear friend from Illinois (Mr. Manzullo). He is the ranking member of our Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific and the Global Environment, and he offered a substitute amendment in the committee to fix the foreign policy provisions in the legislation before you.
Mr. MANZULLO. Mr. Chairman, title II of the Democrats' energy dependence bill seeks to reduce global climate change by spending $1.2 billion to increase Washington bureaucracy.
Instead of debating whether or not global warming exists and, if so, to what extent, we should all unite behind an effort to combat all forms of global pollution and promote the sale of U.S. environmental exports. Then we can spend more time and effort on cleaning up the environment rather than engaging in partisan disputes.
Nevertheless, as the senior Republican on the Global Environment Subcommittee, I believe this title is fatally flawed for three main reasons:
First, it combats air pollution, even though numerous reports and study show that conflict over access to clean water and contaminated food is just as important, if not more important, an immediate threat to the national and economic security. Therefore, we should expand the scope of it.
The U.N. Development Program's Human Development Report of 2006 states that there is a growing crisis with respect to clean water. This bill does not address it. And if it is not addressed as a priority issue, it will inherently lead to greater insecurity around the world.
Secondly, title II grows the size and scope of the Federal Government, adds more bureaucracies, more programs, more money.
Title II also creates five other new programs or initiatives such as the new International Exchange Program at a cost of over $1 billion.
Third, title II states that the U.S. should negotiate new binding greenhouse gas reduction commitments from all major emitting countries based on their level of development.
In 1997, the other body voted 95-0 against such a commitment because economic dynamos such as China, India, and Brazil were not included.
Title II also ignores all that our government is doing in the area of climate change, including spending $37 billion.
Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself the remainder of my time.
My colleagues have said that the administration had neglected this issue of low-level bureaucrats. We have an Under Secretary of State, an Assistant Secretary of State, and a Special Representative at the Department of State, all engaged in global climate diplomacy. I would say that we have been quite involved.
Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.
Mr. CHABOT. Mr. Chairman, I claim the time on the minority side and yield myself such time as I may consume.
In recent years, it has become painfully clear that America is far too dependent on foreign oil. We import nearly two-thirds of the oil we consume. With gas prices in my district back in Cincinnati and throughout the country hovering around $3 a gallon, it is important for Congress to continue exploring ways that we can produce more energy domestically rather than relying on oil from the volatile Middle East or from Nigeria or Venezuela or other unstable areas in the world. In fact, according
to the Government Accountability Office, Americans paid $38 billion more for gasoline in the first 6 months of last year than they paid during the first 6 months of the previous year. That is just unacceptable.
It is critical that we adopt a diversified and balanced energy strategy to become more self-sufficient. The Energy Policy Act of 2005, passed when the current minority was actually in the majority, took significant steps in that direction.
For example, we must increase our production of traditional fuel such as oil and natural gas, and strengthen conservation and efficiency efforts.
It is also important to provide incentives for the research and development of promising new technologies such as, for example, hydrogen fuel cells.
And, renewable energy, the vast majority of which is produced in our Nation's rural communities, is serving an important role in meeting America's energy needs. Biofuels have the potential to help wean Americans off foreign oil and to provide an economic boost for farmers and rural communities.
The potential should have fostered a serious and long overdue debate about reforming our Nation's agriculture policy which, in my view, with its subsidies and tariffs is in dire need of reform. Unfortunately, the farm bill that this new majority passed just this last week will cost $286 billion over the next 5 years, with billions in subsidies, price guarantees, and direct payments going to large agra businesses that already stand to benefit from increased market opportunities for renewable fuels.
This energy bill only exacerbates the problems which will be made worse by the farm bill that was passed last week. It authorizes the creation, for example, of government-backed venture capital firms to invest in renewable and biofuels enterprises under a new program at the SBA, the Small Business Administration. Nothing prohibits the existing small business investment companies, which are backed by the Federal Government's full faith and credit, from investing in companies that are involved
in biofuels and renewable energy already.
To compound matters, this so-called energy bill before us today even authorizes the SBA to fund the development of business plans for these venture capital programs. There is nothing to demonstrate that a market failure exists in the development and construction of such facilities. As a result, I see no reason to provide further incentives through the creation of a totally new program at the Small Business Administration. We are just growing government. I would urge my colleagues to oppose this
I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Burgess).
Mr. BURGESS. I thank the gentleman for yielding. [Page: H9736]
I am on the Committee of Energy and Commerce, but because of the restrictions of time for this very important bill, I appreciate him giving me time off the Small Business Committee's timeline.
Mr. Chairman, I come to the floor of the House to actually educate Members about some stuff that is in this bill of which they may not be aware. I had an amendment in subcommittee and full committee, and the again yesterday in the Rules Committee that was not made in order. But this amendment deals with the timeline that is going to outlaw the incandescent bulb in this country by 2012. That means, for the current time, you will be using one of these for your light bulbs at home, a compact fluorescent
bulb. Perhaps a good idea. They last a long time, they consume less energy; but, Mr. Chairman, they also contain mercury, about 5 milligrams per light bulb.
What is the problem with that? The problem with that is these light bulbs can break. And if they do, what does the Environmental Protection Agency recommend? It recommends you open the window and leave the room for 5 minutes. It recommends that you double-bag your vacuum cleaner bag to pick up all the parts you can without vacuuming, and when you do vacuum put the vacuum cleaner bag in a double plastic bag and send it only to a landfill that accepts mercury. A pretty onerous burden to put upon
the taxpayers of the United States.
But the real concern that I have is that we have locations in this country where we have vulnerable populations that are difficult to move: a nursery in a hospital, a daycare center, a nursing home with nonambulatory patients. If you break a compact fluorescent bulb in one of those locations, you are in for big trouble. You have got to move 20 children who are in a nursery before 15 minutes time is up? Most nurseries that I worked in, in hospitals, don't even have a window to open. So how are
you going to comply with those EPA guidelines?
The fact of the matter is, my amendment would have had language that said: no nursery, hospital, nursing home is compelled to use a compact fluorescent bulb where the population might be vulnerable if there were the escape of mercury out into the environment.
Unfortunately, the House Speaker, the House leadership did not want that amendment made in order. We now all have these in our offices over in the Longworth Building. I know I found two. I wasn't told that they were being put in the office.
People need to know, they need to be aware that there are very specific guidelines that deal with the breaks of these bulbs, and it is important that they not be compelled to be used in nurseries or with vulnerable populations.
Mr. WAXMAN. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume in discussion of this bill.
I rise in support of the bill and to discuss title VI, the Carbon Neutral Government Act. This title would make our government the world leader in addressing global warming, and it would make government operations dramatically more energy efficient.
The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform passed this act on a bipartisan voice vote. To make a difference on global warming, we must be bold and realistic at the same time.
The Carbon Neutral Government Act strikes this balance. It sets the ambitious goals that we know are necessary to avoid dangerous global warming. Scientists say we need to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050. This legislation asks the Federal Government to lead the way by reducing emissions to meet annual targets and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.
The Act also has energy efficiency measures to help agencies achieve these goals, drive technology, and save taxpayers dollars. It requires government vehicles to be low-greenhouse-gas-emitting vehicles. It sets ambitious but achievable goals to increase the energy efficiency of Federal buildings, and it strengthens the requirement for agencies to procure energy efficient products.
With this Act, the government will use its leadership and its purchasing power to promote a more vibrant and cleaner economy.
I urge support for the legislation.
Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. TOM DAVIS of Virginia. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
H.R. 3221, a 786-page energy bill introduced by the Speaker this week, contains a major restructuring of our Nation's energy policies. I come to the floor today to talk about the specific title of the bill, title VI, which promotes energy efficiency by our Federal Government. That is the jurisdiction which our Government Reform Committee wrote.
Title VI of H.R. 3221 is known as the Carbon Neutral Government Act. It was marked up by the Oversight and Government Reform Committee as H.R. 2635 in June. After exhaustive discussions and negotiations with Chairman Waxman and his able staff, the committee approved the legislation by a voice vote. The committee put in a lot of work, and I very much appreciate the chairman's efforts to reach out and compromise with us.
The provisions in the Carbon Neutral Government title represent a bold effort to put the Federal Government in the forefront and in a leadership position with regard to mitigating the buildup of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere.
I agree with my colleagues on the other side of the aisle that the Federal Government must be proactive and take an aggressive leadership role in mitigating the harmful effects of climate change. To that end, the legislation would establish ambitious goals for the government's use of renewable fuels, energy efficient automobiles, and energy-efficient buildings, ``green'' buildings.
More specifically, this legislation would mandate that the Federal Government's greenhouse gas emissions be [Page: H9737]
reduced to zero by the year 2050. The Federal Government is the largest energy consumer in the world and is currently responsible for emitting 100 million metric tons of carbon dioxide annually. Meeting this goal of zero net emissions will be a significant step in the direction of minimizing greenhouse gas emissions and correspondingly reducing
our impact on climate change.
Moreover, I concur with Chairman Waxman and others that setting and meeting these ambitious standards will accelerate the pace of development and adoption of technologies that will be critical to addressing climate change in the U.S. and worldwide.
That being said, we still have some reservations about the specific provisions in the bill.
There is a provision in title VI of the bill with the seemingly nebulous title of ``judicial review,'' more popularly referred to as the ``citizen enforcement provision.'' This provision would allow individuals to sue Federal agencies for failing to comply with carbon reduction goals called for in the legislation. To make matters worse, the provision allows plaintiffs to collect potentially millions of dollars in damages and attorneys' fees regardless of whether they can demonstrate any actual
harm to themselves.
I appreciate the gentleman from California's working with us on this language and putting appropriate caps, and that makes the legislation amenable to myself. We have other Members who still have concerns.
Another concern I have in this legislation sets the government up to fail.
I mentioned earlier that title VI contains many laudable goals with respect to reducing carbon dioxide emissions by the Federal Government. But while eliminating all greenhouse gas emissions by the Federal Government in a few decades sounds great, in reality, this goal is going to be very difficult to achieve.
As this bill moves forward, I trust we will be able to move away from the rhetoric. We need to identify realistic goals that our Federal Government can meet and achieve and look for ways that we can achieve it.
Which raises a final concern: If you set unrealistic goals and then arm potential plaintiffs nationwide with the power to sue the government for failing to meet these goals, agencies will have little choice but to divert scarce resources away from their critical agency missions in order to ensure adequate funding to support the carbon emissions requirement.
While the majority included a provision at our request stating that agency plans on reducing greenhouse gas emissions must be ``consistent with the agency's primary mission,'' I am concerned that we need some work to ensure that agencies continue to place primary importance on their underlying responsibilities to serve the American people.
As great a threat as global warming is, the Federal Government also needs to carefully balance taxpayer dollars on reducing emissions at the expense of shortchanging other priorities such as health care, education, and national defense.
Mr. Chairman, I have limited my remarks to discuss only title VI of this legislation, the Carbon Neutral Government Act, and I again want to congratulate Chairman Waxman for working with us on this provision. I believe this legislation could go far in terms of striking the balance between making the Federal Government ``greener'' and devoting limited resources toward providing needed resources to the American public. But as we work our way through the legislative process, we want to
continue to be engaged and address some of the concerns that we have identified.
I do have more serious concerns about other provisions in the broader energy bill put forward by the majority and, unfortunately, therefore, regret that I may not be able to support the energy bill before us today, depending on the outcome of some of the amendments.
Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. ISSA. Mr. Chairman, I am shocked. I'm shocked that this bill and this process is going forward.
When we marked this bill up in the Committee on Government Reform, I was positive that it could not possibly go forward without the section on citizen enforcement being amended, reformed, or eliminated. And yet I am here today not only finding out that it is still in the bill but of the Rules Committee having had the audacity to not even allow it to be considered for amendment.
Mr. Chairman, this piece of legislation is a license for an unlimited amount of suits against the government by the extreme environmental groups. In fact, this bill pays a $75,000 bounty on top of unlimited legal fees to anyone who sues the government even if, in fact, that suit is based on this body's failure to act. Yes. Lawyers will be telling us, by suing us, that we must do more, and there will be no controls. They can sue in all 92 locations around the country. They can sue for any reason.
We will have to pay the bill. When they lose, too bad. When they win, they get paid for taking from us not only 100 percent of their legal fees but $75,000 on top of that.
This is a license for America to be held hostage by the trial lawyers. It was deliberate. It was slipped through the committee. They said it was going to be fixed. In fact, nothing has been fixed; and we have been prevented from having an amendment on the House floor. This is undemocratic, and the Democrats know it.
Mr. WAXMAN. I can appreciate that. And the Rules Committee has to decide what amendments to make in order or not, and I can see why the gentleman feels aggrieved that he didn't have a chance to offer a further amendment.
Mr. Chairman, I continue to reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. BILBRAY. Mr. Chairman, in San Diego County today, the consumers are paying over $3.50 for gasoline, and people point fingers at the oil companies when, in fact, Washington, DC, has mandated that we put in our gasoline corn-based ethanol that costs $4 a gallon. And considering that you need 1 1/2 [Page: H9738]
gallons of ethanol to equal the mileage you get with gasoline, that equals $6 a gallon that is mandated by the Congress of the United States for a product
that not only is driving up the price of gasoline but is polluting our air, as identified by the Air Resources Board of California.
Now, if you are a constituent that is making money off of corn-based oil, that's fine. But do not allow anyone who claims to be an environmentalist and claims to be a consumer in California to support the corn-based ethanol proposal here.
I do not agree with Mr. McCain of Arizona very often, but, as quoted by Mr. McCain all the way back in 2003, he stated that the corn-based ethanol mandate that Congress is perpetuating on the United States is highway robbery perpetuated on the American people by Congress.
Please let's eliminate the corn-based mandate, save the environment, and save the consumers.
Mr. WAXMAN. Mr. Chairman, I want to concur with the statement from my colleague, Mr. Bilbray, on his concerns because I share those concerns. It is not before our part of the legislation, but I do share many of the concerns he has raised from a California perspective by the mandate of ethanol.
Mr. Chairman, I have no further requests for time on the Oversight and Government Reform sections of this bill, and I yield back the balance of my time.