|2:37 PM EDT||
Shelley Berkley, D-NV 1st
Ms. BERKLEY. Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to this rule and the underlying bill because, despite Republican claims, this energy bill really does not help American families with the cost of power or the skyrocketing gas prices. This bill does, however, help the administration's special interest friends. It is riddled with billions of dollars of taxpayer giveaways to the nuclear, oil and gas industries.
I am appalled that we are doing nothing to reduce gas prices at a time when oil companies are reaping obscene profits. Current prices of oil are lingering at $50 a barrel and are expected to continue to skyrocket.
We should be focusing on reducing our dependence on foreign oil by diversifying our energy sources, not by encouraging more oil and gas production.
This bill does little to promote renewable energy, the energy of our future. Given the latest revelations about the wanton falsification of scientific studies of the proposed Yucca Mountain Repository, Congress should not funnel one more penny of taxpayer dollars into the Yucca Mountain Project.
Additional problems continued to plague the site. The courts have ruled that the EPA radiation standards will not protect the health and safety of the American people. Instead of making the United States safer, the proposed Yucca Mountain Project provides a terrorist target that could cause massive economic and civilian casualties.
In the Committee on Rules, my colleague, the gentleman from Nevada (Mr. Porter) and I offered a simple amendment that would have included Yucca Mountain in the Nuclear Site Threat Assessment Study, already a part of the energy bill. Despite the findings of the GAO and the National Academy of Sciences that there are security vulnerabilities present at reactor sites during high-level radioactive waste, there has been no threat assessment conducted at the mother of all radioactive waste
sites, Yucca Mountain.
Regardless of how any of us feels about Yucca Mountain, the Federal Government has a duty to assess the risks, not just to protect Nevada and our neighbors in the West, but for the well-being of our Nation. Unfortunately, the Committee on Rules did not put that amendment in order.
Now is the time to create an energy plan that will wean our country off of foreign oil. It is not the time to line the pockets of the special interests.
I urge my colleagues to oppose this very backward, very foolish, very good piece of legislation if you are in the energy business.