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May 23, 2007
Reps. Don Young & Stevan Pearce's Statements From
Today's Hearing On Democratic Bill To Reduce
U.S. Energy Security & Raise The Cost Of Gasoline & Electricity
"H.R. 2337 is called the 'Energy Policy Reform and Revitalization Act of 2007'. The only thing I see being 'revitalized' by this bill is the economy of Iran and Venezuela, because we're going to have to buy more of our energy from these countries and we will export more of our jobs to China." - Rep. Stevan Pearce
Washington, D.C. - The following are statements from U.S. Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) and U.S. Rep. Stevan Pearce (R-NM) from today's hearing on new Democratic legislation that would dramatically decrease America's national energy security efforts and raise the cost of gasoline and electricity ("The Energy Policy Reform and Revitalization Act of 2007" - H.R. 2337).
Young is the Ranking Member on the full Natural Resources Committee and Pearce is the Ranking Member on the Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee.
Rep. Don Young's Statement
"Mr. Chairman, I'm disappointed in your bill. If this bill became law it would make energy more expensive and less available, and lead to more foreign imports - just the opposite of what we should be doing." - Rep. Don Young
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee, I welcome the witnesses here today, and I want to thank you for holding this hearing.
Energy is the oxygen of modern life, and reasonably priced energy has given our nation a standard of living second to none. Freedom of movement, upward mobility and opportunity exist in this nation in large part because the use of energy to amplify human strength makes all things possible.
Nothing provides more benefits for the modern quality of life than access to energy, and it is incredibly important to our future as a world power that we take advantage of our ample energy resources to ensure that future.
That's why, in all honesty, Mr. Chairman, I'm disappointed in your bill. If this bill became law it would make energy more expensive and less available, and lead to more foreign imports - just the opposite of what we should be doing.
Democratic Bill Makes Oil & Natural Gas More Expensive
& Reduces Future Of Wind Energy Projects
So far as I can tell, this bill:
· Makes oil and natural gas harder and more expensive to produce domestically,
· Increases the costs of all energy by making energy corridors tougher to build,
· Makes wind energy projects harder to build and adds more uncertainty to the projects,
· Stops our nation's largest potential liquid transportation fuel source - our two trillion barrel oil shale resource - dead in its tracks,
· Federalizes the traditionally state-managed fish and wildlife resources under the guise of "global climate change",
· And importantly, does absolutely nothing for our nation's other huge resource, coal.
In sum, it makes energy harder to produce, more expensive, and less available. The only logical consequences are that Americans will pay more and get more foreign energy at a time when everyone in this town is complaining about how much Americans pay for too much foreign energy.
Maybe that's why the President of the Defenders of Wildlife - a group that has opposed all attempts to produce more energy to meet the demands of our nation - called this bill "a stunning piece of legislation." When the Defenders of Wildlife supports an energy bill, it ain't an energy bill.
I want to urge all of my colleagues to take a very good look at this bill. I think some of you will wonder why it makes wind energy projects more difficult, when so may have called for more wind energy to diversify our energy supplies.
I urge those of you from California to think very hard about the impact of less natural gas to fuel your electrical plants. California uses natural gas for over 50 percent of its electricity generation and electrical prices are going up 29 percent this summer to pay for natural gas.
If you have a manufacturing plant in your District - and most of us do - I urge you to talk to someone about what their number one problem is right now. I'll bet they'll tell you its energy costs.
Should We Have Less Energy At Higher Prices,
Or More Energy At Lower Prices?
In fact, I urge everyone to go back home next week and ask voters what they think of energy: Should we have less of it at a higher price, or more of it at a lower cost?
I know a lot of people in my State of Alaska who are really hurting from the increased price of energy. Diesel fuel for fishing boats is now close to $5 in some places, and so is heating oil in rural Alaska where there is no alternative. And this is in Alaska, which has enough energy to run this country for a century or more.
I can't believe many people except on college campuses - and most of them graduate and get real jobs - in Pennsylvania or California or West Virginia think that we should pay more for our energy.
But that's what this bill would do, sadly. Energy would become more expensive for Americans, and the least among us who would be hurt the most. For a nation as rich as we are to purposely starve our citizens for energy is sinful.
I hope that as a result of this hearing, Mr. Chairman, we can get together and work together on a bill that increases domestic production of all forms of energy, including coal and oil and gas and wind power and alternatives. If we worked together, we could produce a bill that reduces foreign oil imports and increases energy security.
We need more energy, not less. We need more affordable energy, not more expensive energy. Thank you Mr. Chairman.
Rep. Stevan Pearce's Statement
H.R. 2337 is called the "Energy Policy Reform and Revitalization Act of 2007." The only thing I see being "revitalized" by this bill is the economy of Iran and Venezuela, because we're going to have to buy more of our energy from these countries and we will export more of our jobs to China.
Congress is often accused of being reactive rather then proactive, but this bill isn't responsive to any signal except the ones from trial lawyers wanting more cases and the extreme environmentalist movement that cares more about how many birds and bats die from a wind farm instead of how much many Americans pay for electricity. I plead with the Chairman to pay attention to what's going on around you before you try to move this bill.
Two weeks ago, Dow Chemical announced that it was going to build a 22 billion dollar chemical facility in Saudi Arabia because natural gas supplies in this country are so tight and energy prices are too high. When was the last time a 22 billion dollar project got built in America? H.R. 2337 responds by saying, "Keep sending your jobs overseas and businesses overseas, we don't want them here."
Last week, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) projected electricity prices 25-30 percent higher throughout most of the country this summer. The root cause is natural gas supplies and prices. H.R. 2337 says to our constituents, "Sweat it out in the dark because we're not going to save you."
One of the best ironies comes today. The majority party will push a vote on price gouging legislation on the House Floor with one hand, pretending to protect consumers, and with the other hand, ensure suffering for consumers all over the country by holding a legislative hearing on H.R. 2337, a bill guaranteed to raise gas prices for all Americans. You are lying to your constituents if you vote yes on price gouging, but support this bill.
When supporters of H.R. 2337 say that the dominant use of our federal lands and waters is for oil and gas production, don't be fooled, that's a lie.
Of the nation's 700 million acres of subsurface mineral estate, six percent are currently under lease for oil and gas development and 1.8 percent has actual active leases.
Less than three percent of our Outer Continental Shelf is being leased for oil and gas production.
When supporters of H.R. 2337 say that this Administration has a "rush to lease" policy as part of some partisan bickering, don't be fooled, that's also a lie. The Clinton Administration leased 75 percent more acreage than this Administration.
When supporters of H.R. 2337 say that we need to save our energy resources because this country's doesn't have the resources of Iran and Venezuela, don't be fooled, that too is untrue. The U.S. reserve of solid, liquid and gas fuels is 42 times the rest of the world's proven oil reserves. We have energy; however, lawmakers lock it up and H.R. 2337 throws away the key. That Dow Chemical plant should have been built here. Those jobs should have come here.
At a time when we have had hearing after hearing on the effects of global warming and the need to advance alternative energies, we have a bill before us that guts Biomass development, paralyzes wind energy and burdens solar energy with additional costs. H.R. 2337 will not bring us more alternative energy, instead it will give us less.
When H.R. 2337 puts fee after fee on domestic oil and gas businesses, don't be fooled that they're just taxing businesses. We don't tax businesses, businesses collect taxes - consumers pay taxes.
I welcome all of our witnesses today and I look forward to your testimony. I especially want to welcome the witnesses on the second panel, The Honorable John Engler representing the National Association of Manufacturers and Mr. Jim Martin representing America's seniors who living on fixed incomes face the greatest threat from rising energy costs. I look forward to your testimony.
For more information, access the Committee on Natural Resources' Minority website at:
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Director of Communications
U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources
1329 Longworth HOB
Washington, D.C. 20515
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