Amendment Text: H.Amdt.951 — 112th Congress (2011-2012)

There is one version of the amendment.

Shown Here:
Amendment as Offered (02/16/2012)

This Amendment appears on page H830-831 in the following article from the Congressional Record.



[Pages H820-H834]
       PROTECTING INVESTMENT IN OIL SHALE THE NEXT GENERATION OF 
            ENVIRONMENTAL, ENERGY, AND RESOURCE SECURITY ACT

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to House Resolution 547 and rule 
XVIII, the Chair declares the House in the Committee of the Whole House 
on the state of the Union for the further consideration of the bill, 
H.R. 3408.

                              {time}  1517


                     In the Committee of the Whole

  Accordingly, the House resolved itself into the Committee of the 
Whole House on the state of the Union for the further consideration of 
the bill (H.R. 3408) to set clear rules for the development of United 
States oil shale resources, to promote shale technology research and 
development, and for other purposes, with Mr. Woodall (Acting Chair) in 
the chair.
  The Clerk read the title of the bill.
  The Acting CHAIR. When the Committee of the Whole rose on Wednesday, 
February 15, 2012, amendment No. 12 printed in part A of House Report 
112 398, offered by the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Deutch), had been 
disposed of.


         Amendment No. 13 Offered by Mr. Thompson of California

  The Acting CHAIR. It is now in order to consider amendment No. 13 
printed in part A of House Report 112 398.
  Mr. THOMPSON of California. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the 
desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
  The text of the amendment is as follows:

       Page 954, after line 19, insert the following:

     SEC. __. LIMITATION ON LEASING OFF THE COAST OF NORTHERN 
                   CALIFORNIA.

       Section 8(a) of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (43 
     U.S.C. 1337) is amended by adding at the end the following:
       ``(9) No oil and gas lease may be issued under this Act for 
     any area of the outer Continental Shelf for which the State 
     of California is an affected State under section 2(f)(1) and 
     that is located west of Marin, Sonoma, Mendocino, Humboldt, 
     or Del Norte County, California.''.

  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 547, the gentleman 
from California (Mr. Thompson) and a Member opposed each will control 5 
minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from California.
  Mr. THOMPSON of California. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as 
I may consume.
  I represent a coastal community and we take seriously threats to our 
Nation's coastline. The Thompson-Woolsey amendment would clarify that 
H.R. 3408 would not open drilling along the northern California coast.
  Proponents of H.R. 3408 claim that northern California does not meet 
the minimum production potential to be eligible for offshore drilling; 
however, I do not simply want to take the House majority's word for it. 
In a Congress that has seen an unprecedented push to weaken safety 
standards for our environment, I don't want to leave the door open for 
alternative interpretations. The people of the north coast of 
California want to make sure that their environmentally unique and 
critical coast is protected, period.
  Because this amendment is a clarification of the legislation's 
intent, there is no cost associated with it. It's important to me and 
to my constituents that H.R. 3408 makes clear that drilling will not 
occur in the northern California planning area along the coast of 
Mendocino, Humboldt, Del Norte, Sonoma, and Marin Counties. The coastal 
area of my district is one of the most productive ecosystems in the 
world and supports salmon, Dungeness crab, rockfish, sole, and urchin 
populations.

                              {time}  1520

  It also boasts an important and successful tourism industry which 
represents millions of dollars to the local economies and to the 
working families of our area. If an oil spill were to occur in this 
area, the environmental and economic cost would be staggering. Response 
and cleanup efforts would be hazardous and minimally effective given 
the rocky shores and rough waters. Drilling for oil or gas off 
California's north coast would cause serious harm to a unique and 
productive ecosystem, abundant marine life, and tourism businesses. 
This amendment will simply clarify that this bill does not require 
drilling off the north coast of California.
  I urge a ``yes'' vote on the amendment, and I yield 2 minutes to Ms. 
Woolsey.
  Ms. WOOLSEY. I thank my friend and neighbor for yielding.
  I don't know how many of my colleagues have visited the California 
north coast that Mr. Thompson and I represent. If you haven't, I don't 
know what you're waiting for. The waters off our shore are quite simply 
the most abundant and exquisitely beautiful on the face of the Earth. 
Our commercial fishing industry depends on this thriving marine 
ecosystem; these waters are invaluable to the research of university 
scientists; and more than 16,000 tourism jobs in Sonoma County alone 
depend on these open, beautiful waters. If the majority were truly 
interested in helping job creators, they would not be supporting a 
drill-everywhere approach.
  Actually, oil and gas resources available off our coasts don't come 
close to justifying opening this area in the first place to any 
drilling; and even in parts of the country where there is oil, I 
believe the costs to our natural environment are much too great when we 
start punching holes in the ocean floor. We have learned nothing, it 
would appear, from the Deepwater Horizon disaster if we don't pass this 
amendment.
  We can and we must address our energy security challenges with a 
stronger commitment to green technologies and to clean and renewable 
energy sources. And we can start by saying no to drilling in northern 
California. I strongly urge my colleagues to support the Thompson-
Woolsey amendment.
  Mr. THOMPSON of California. I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. HASTINGS of Washington. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the 
amendment.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. HASTINGS of Washington. I yield myself as much time as I may 
consume.
  Mr. Chairman, I rise to oppose this amendment. Last year, during our 
offshore debate, an identical amendment was offered, and it failed in 
the House by a bipartisan vote. In fact, 263 of our colleagues voted 
``no'' on this amendment. Right now, under existing law, the Northern 
California Planning Area is available for leasing. It's been available 
since 2008 when gasoline prices hit $4 per gallon and the President and 
the Congress at that time lifted the offshore drilling moratoria.
  I'll remind the House that in 2008 when gas prices were rising and 
the Democrats controlled the House, nothing was done regarding these 
$4-a-gallon gasoline prices until after the session ended and the 
President ended his moratoria and the Congress entered that moratoria. 
So going into 2009, there essentially was no moratoria that existed.
  This legislation, then, aims to open up our Federal resources and 
increase energy production despite President Obama's failure to do just 
the opposite. This amendment would simply block additional areas from 
energy production in the future. The Outer Continental Shelf and the 
resources it contains are under the jurisdiction of the Federal 
Government. It belongs to all of the people of the United States.
  The State of California--and I need to remind colleagues of this--the 
State of California's top import is petroleum from overseas. This 
amendment would block the domestic production potentially of petroleum 
off their coast--production that could be used to help California 
consumers and provide California people with jobs.
  This amendment would do just the opposite of what the underlying bill 
intends to do, so I urge my colleagues to vote ``no'' on the amendment.

[[Page H821]]

  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. THOMPSON of California. I don't see how this is going to do 
anything to affect oil production or jobs if your own Web site says 
that there's little oil there and we wouldn't be drilling there. So you 
can't have it both ways. Either there's little oil there and we're not 
going to drill there, or you have something else up your sleeve.
  I want to point out that this area is an area that's historically 
prone to earthquakes, which would make any kind of drilling there 
extremely dangerous, and that it's one of four major upwellings in the 
entire world's oceans. This is a critical area to our marine life and 
the businesses that thrive because of it. And my friend from Washington 
is 100 percent right on one thing that he said, and that is that this 
coastline belongs to all the people of the United States of America; 
and for that reason alone, we ought to break our pick to make sure that 
we do everything to protect it, to protect the fisheries jobs, the 
tourism jobs and that beautiful area, so that not only the people today 
can enjoy it, but for future generations to enjoy, as well.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. HASTINGS of Washington. I yield myself the balance of my time.
  I just want to tell my friend that going into 2009, there were no 
moratoria. And the reason there were no moratoria on the Pacific or the 
Atlantic coasts was because the American people demanded that we seek 
areas where there is potential resources of energy.
  Why did they demand that of Congress? Because gas prices hit $4 a 
gallon and potentially were going higher. We are now in that same 
situation again. And this underlying legislation, as I mentioned, 
because the gentleman rightfully said there may not be resources off 
northern California because this legislation directs the Department of 
the Interior to offer leases where there are known resources, now, 
there may be some resources, maybe new technology will find it. We need 
to keep that option open.
  But I think this amendment will start the precedent of blocking off 
areas when the American people want to have more American energy, more 
American energy jobs; and this underlying legislation will do precisely 
that. And I think this amendment will harm that prospect.
  Mr. THOMPSON of California. Will the gentleman yield?
  Mr. HASTINGS of Washington. I will yield to the gentleman.
  Mr. THOMPSON of California. Do you believe that we should be drilling 
off the coast of northern California in an area that's one of four 
major upwellings in the world's oceans, in an area that is prone to 
earthquakes, in an area that everyone knowledgeable about this 
particular issue claims that there's not enough resources to drill for?
  Mr. HASTINGS of Washington. Reclaiming my time, I believe that we 
should open all areas where there are potential resources. I would just 
remind my good friend from California that you could make the same 
argument in Alaska, and yet we drill off the coast in Alaska. You can 
make the same case that there are fault lines in southern California, 
and the gentleman knows very, very well that there are huge potential 
resources in southern California.
  So the answer to the gentleman's question is, yes. I believe that we 
should keep these resources open for potential, and that's what the 
underlying bill does.
  But I will yield to the gentleman if he wants to comment.
  Mr. THOMPSON of California. Thank you. I just want to point out that 
my amendment doesn't affect southern California. It only affects the 
area in the counties that I mentioned--Del Norte, Humboldt, Mendocino, 
Sonoma and Marin--an area that has been designated by the scientists 
and the people in the oil business that there is not enough oil there 
to bother with and an area that I pointed out before that is very, very 
important.
  Mr. HASTINGS of Washington. Reclaiming my time, I know that's what 
the gentleman says. I'm arguing against the precedent, like the 
precedent yesterday, where there's an attempt to block offshore 
drilling from essentially northern Maryland north, and that was 
defeated by the House. So what I'm afraid of in the long term is the 
precedent, and I believe we should keep these options open.
  So with that, Mr. Chairman, I urge rejection of the amendment, and I 
yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from California (Mr. Thompson).
  The question was taken; and the Acting Chair announced that the noes 
appeared to have it.
  Mr. THOMPSON of California. 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 California 
will be postponed.

                              {time}  1530


                  Amendment No. 14 Offered by Mr. Holt

  The Acting CHAIR. It is now in order to consider amendment No. 14 
printed in part A of House Report 112 398.
  Mr. HOLT. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
  The text of the amendment is as follows:

       Page 954, after line 19, insert the following:

     SEC. 17603. LAND AND WATER CONSERVATION FUND LOCKBOX.

       Nothing in this subtitle reduces the amount of revenues 
     received by the United States under oil and gas leases of 
     areas of the Outer Continental Shelf that is available for 
     deposit into the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 547, the gentleman 
from New Jersey (Mr. Holt) and a Member opposed each will control 5 
minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Holt).
  Mr. HOLT. Mr. Chairman, this amendment comes from both sides of the 
aisle. I'm joined by Mr. Murphy, Mr. Bass, Mr. Gerlach, Mr. Dingell, 
Mr. Kind, and I see Mr. Dold of Illinois here.
  Almost five decades ago, the Land and Water Conservation Fund was 
created on a sound and fair principle: oil companies who drill on 
public lands and who therefore are taking a resource that belongs to 
all citizens of the United States should, in return, out of fairness, 
give Americans the protection of land so that as they take this 
resource and refine it and sell it, they preserve these resources--
parks, recreation, direct preservation of cultural and land resources.
  The bill before us today aims to increase the amount of oil and gas 
production in Federal waters as a means to raise revenue for 
transportation funding. These oil fields belong to all Americans. Just 
as the revenues generated from offshore oil drilling must be shared 
with all Americans, a portion of these revenues should be used towards 
conservation and preservation of public lands that belong to all of us. 
That has been the principle now for four decades, almost five decades, 
of the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
  The LWCF enjoys strong bipartisan and popular support. The program 
has protected land in every State and has supported more than 41,000 
State and local parks and other open-space parcels.
  The Trust for Public Land recently conducted an analysis of the 
return on the investment from LWCF funds. In an 11-year, 12-year 
period, going up until about 1 year ago, for the $537 million invested 
in conserving 131,000 acres, $2 billion was generated in economic goods 
and services. In other words, for every dollar invested in LWCF funds, 
$4 was returned in economic value. These are not taxpayer dollars that 
are invested. This is revenue that comes from the oil companies.
  Our amendment would stipulate, simply, that nothing in the bill would 
reduce the amount of revenue from oil and gas receipts available for 
deposit into the LWCF.
  I urge adoption of this amendment.
  Mr. Chairman, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. 
Dold).
  Mr. DOLD. Mr. Chairman, I certainly appreciate my friend and 
colleague from New Jersey yielding me some time.
  Today I rise in strong support of this bipartisan amendment.
  Since 1964, the Land and Water Conservation Fund has been our 
Nation's primary program for Federal land conservation. Using a portion 
of the leases

[[Page H822]]

collected from energy production on the Outer Continental Shelf, this 
fund provides matching grants to State and local governments for the 
acquisition of land and ensures public land and water conservation 
projects can move forward.
  In my home State of Illinois, the economic benefits of preserved 
public lands are indeed undeniable. Sportsmen, wildlife watchers, 
outdoorsmen, and others combine to spend over $2 billion annually on 
outdoor recreation in Illinois.
  Mr. Chairman, our amendment today is simple. We believe that this 
Congress should continue its commitment to conservation programs by 
ensuring that the underlying transportation bill will not reduce the 
amount of revenue available for the Land and Water Conservation Fund 
that has supported over 41,000 State and local projects over its 46-
year history.
  Mr. HOLT. I continue to reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. HASTINGS of Washington. Mr. Chairman, I rise to claim the time in 
opposition to the amendment.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. HASTINGS of Washington. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as 
I may consume.
  Mr. Chairman, this amendment really is not needed because you can 
look with a magnifying glass through this whole bill and you will see 
absolutely no mention whatsoever of the Land and Water Conservation 
Fund. There's nothing in here that impacts that.
  I know the gentleman, my good friend from New Jersey, has a real 
passion for this particular fund--sometimes we don't agree on that, 
but, nevertheless, he has a real passion for it--but there is nothing 
in here at all that even talks about the Land and Water Conservation 
Fund.
  I understand the gentleman wanted to make a statement--I appreciate 
that--and his desire would be to withdraw the amendment. So with that, 
I'll reserve my time pending his action.
  Mr. HOLT. Mr. Chairman, although the Land and Water Conservation Fund 
is authorized to receive $900 million annually from oil and gas leasing 
revenues, Congress must appropriate those funds after they have been 
deposited from the revenues.
  Taxpayers aren't footing the bill for this program. Oil and gas 
companies fund the LWCF. The amount they pay is less than 1 percent of 
the massive profits these companies take each year. It's a small token 
of what we can do to preserve these other resources as the oil and gas 
resources are used. Preserving open space is more than a narrow 
environmental issue. It really is a quality of life issue.
  As my friend, the chairman, has assured us, there is nothing in the 
underlying bill that would reduce the amount of revenue available for 
the Land and Water Conservation Fund. So with that assurance that the 
legislation here today will in no way harm the Land and Water 
Conservation Fund, I ask unanimous consent to withdraw this amendment.
  The Acting CHAIR. Without objection, the amendment is withdrawn.
  There was no objection.


                Amendment No. 15 Offered by Ms. Hanabusa

  The Acting CHAIR. It is now in order to consider amendment No. 15 
printed in part A of House Report 112 398.
  Ms. HANABUSA. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
  The text of the amendment is as follows:

       Page 954, after line 19, add the following new section:

     SEC. 17603. SAFETY REQUIREMENTS.

       The Secretary of the Interior shall require that drilling 
     operations conducted under each lease issued under this 
     subtitle (including the amendments made by this subtitle) 
     meet requirements for--
       (1) third-party certification of safety systems related to 
     well control, such as blowout preventers;
       (2) performance of blowout preventers, including 
     quantitative risk assessment standards, subsea testing, and 
     secondary activation methods;
       (3) independent third-party certification of well casing 
     and cementing programs and procedures;
       (4) mandatory safety and environmental management systems 
     by operators on the outer Continental Shelf (as that term is 
     used in the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act); and
       (5) procedures and technologies to be used during drilling 
     operations to minimize the risk of ignition and explosion of 
     hydrocarbons.

  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 547, the gentlewoman 
from Hawaii (Ms. Hanabusa) and a Member opposed each will control 5 
minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from Hawaii.
  Ms. HANABUSA. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may 
consume.
  Mr. Chair, April 20, 2010, September 19, 2010, those dates may not 
mean much to a lot of people, but I will tell you, I was not a Member 
of this body at that time, but I remember when the BP oil spill 
started, April 20, 2010, and when we all cheered when it was supposed 
to be capped on September 19, 2010, almost 5 months of watching it 
daily, even in Hawaii, of the oil and the attempts and cheering and 
then being disappointed when they couldn't take care of this oil spill 
that was devastating, clearly, the coast.
  Now, there was an independent BP spill commission that was appointed, 
and their conclusions were published. They said that it was 
preventable. They said that corners were cut, bad decisions were made, 
and stronger safety standards could have prevented the disaster. It 
also pointed out that the United States has a fatality rate in terms of 
offshore drilling that is four times that in Europe. They also found 
that the problems were systemic to this industry.
  The amendment that I have before you is a simple one and a very 
commonsense amendment. It simply states that the Secretary of the 
Interior shall require, when he does leasing, that each lease must meet 
the requirements for a third-party certification of safety systems 
related to well control, such as blowout preventers. It must meet 
requirements for performance of blowout preventers, including the 
qualitative risk, as well as subsea testing. It also must meet 
requirements for an independent third-party certification of well 
casing and cementing programs and procedures. It must meet requirements 
for mandatory safety and environmental management system of the 
operators in the Outer Continental Shelf.

                              {time}  1540

  And it must meet requirements of procedures and technologies to be 
used during drilling operations to minimize the risk of igniting an 
explosion of hydrocarbons. Anyone who remembers the BP oil spill, 
watching it on television, as I did, every day, watching the news, all 
of these points are so relevant to what have occurred.
  So, Mr. Chair, I ask that my colleagues vote along with me to pass 
this very commonsense amendment as we remember what happened in those 5 
months, April 2010 to September 2010. We have the opportunity of being 
the safest offshore oil industry in the world, and this amendment would 
help us get there. That's what we owe the people. We owe those people 
who suffered through this, and we owe the rest of this Nation a sense 
of being secure and knowing that when we are drilling that we are 
drilling safely, and we will not see those fatalities again.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. HASTINGS of Washington. Mr. Chairman, I rise to claim the time in 
opposition.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. HASTINGS of Washington. I yield myself as much time as I may 
consume.
  Mr. Chairman, I rise to oppose this amendment. We have seen 
amendments of this nature multiple times throughout the debates, both 
in the committee that I have the privilege to chair, the Natural 
Resources Committee, and here on the House floor. And every single time 
amendments of this nature have failed, often with bipartisan votes.
  The amendment would write into law the imposition of strict safety 
requirements as part of the lease terms. This amendment would override 
the judgment of two agencies that have the authority to set and enforce 
safety regulations. Those agencies are the Bureau of Ocean Energy 
Management and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement. I 
might add, these agencies within this administration have, on multiple 
occasions, testified that offshore drilling operations are being

[[Page H823]]

done safely. This is post-BP, I might add.
  It seems like the effort is to continue to try to divert attention 
away from the real issue of increasing American energy production, 
increasing American jobs, lowering energy costs, and improving our 
national security. How? By lessening our dependence on foreign oil.
  Our good friends on the other side, they simply do not want to face 
the fact that this bill says that we can move forward with responsible 
oil and natural gas exploration and production here in America while, 
at the same time, ensuring that increased safety measures are 
undertaken. These are not mutually exclusive goals.
  Republicans want to make U.S. offshore drilling the safest in the 
world so that we can produce more American energy, thus creating more 
American jobs and thus strengthening our national security.
  As I mentioned, Mr. Chairman, amendments of this nature have 
repeatedly failed in the House. I hope it will do so again, and I urge 
opposition to this amendment.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Ms. HANABUSA. Mr. Chair, I yield myself the balance of my time.
  Mr. Chair, it becomes quite troubling when we hear that, from the 
Republican side, the other side of the aisle, that the Obama 
administration is doing okay, or they're taking the representations of 
the Obama administration, when we know continually that that's not the 
case. So, if anything, this should send up a red flag for everyone to 
wonder, what is it that's really causing this concession to an agency?
  The facts are the facts. We had the BP oil spill. It took five 
months. There's nothing that's been proposed in concrete as to how to 
prevent that from happening. That's why we're the Congress of the 
United States. That's why we're asked to pass laws, because it is only 
with the passage of laws that we can say, you know, you've got to do 
this. And if they are doing it, and if they can guarantee that, and 
they can say that these leases are, in fact, in compliance, it's up to 
them.
  All that we're doing in the statute is giving a format and a 
framework to say, hey, make sure that these points are met in these 
leases. They're the ones who are going to determine whether it's met or 
not.
  That's why I think we owe it to the people who died, we owe it to the 
people who suffered the economic losses, we owe it to everyone in this 
Nation to make sure that we do not suffer a BP oil spill again.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. HASTINGS of Washington. I yield myself the balance of the time, 
Mr. Chairman.
  I just want to point out to my good friend from Hawaii, after the BP 
spill we had a committee hearing down in Louisiana, and part of that 
was to ascertain the economic impacts in that part of the country, but 
also to work with or seek from the industry what would happen if there 
were, heaven forbid, another spill like this. The industry has 
responded by building a consortium, funding a consortium, I should say, 
in order to respond to a spill like this.
  There were two of them that were testifying at the hearing that day. 
I said, In the event--and hopefully it doesn't happen--if there were an 
event like BP again, how quickly could you respond to something like 
that? Because that's what the issue is. You want to make sure that 
people respond if there is, in fact, another spill. And in both cases, 
both of them said they could respond immediately and probably cap it, 
something like this, in less than 3 weeks. That was over a year ago. I 
suspect now that that technology is even greater than that.
  But my point is that we have the regulations. We have to have 
American energy and the ensuing jobs that that has created, and I'm 
afraid that adopting this amendment would hinder that. So I would urge 
my colleagues to reject this amendment.
  With that, I yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentlewoman from Hawaii (Ms. Hanabusa).
  The question was taken; and the Acting Chair announced that the ayes 
appeared to have it.
  Mr. HASTINGS of Washington. 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 gentlewoman from Hawaii 
will be postponed.


         Amendment No. 16 Offered by Mr. Hastings of Washington

  The Acting CHAIR. It is now in order to consider amendment No. 16 
printed in part A of House Report 112 398.
  Mr. HASTINGS of Washington. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the 
desk made in order under the rule.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
  The text of the amendment is as follows:

       At the end of title XVII add the following:

Subtitle D--Streamlining Federal Review To Facilitate Renewable Energy 
                                Projects

     SEC. 17801. SHORT TITLE.

       This subtitle may be cited as the ``Cutting Federal Red 
     Tape to Facilitate Renewable Energy Act''.

     SEC. 17802. ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW FOR RENEWABLE ENERGY 
                   PROJECTS.

       (a) Compliance With NEPA for Renewable Energy Projects.--In 
     complying with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 
     (41 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) with respect to any action 
     authorizing or facilitating a proposed renewable energy 
     project, at the election of the applicant a Federal agency 
     shall--
       (1) consider only the proposed action and the no action 
     alternative;
       (2) analyze only the proposed action and the no action 
     alternative; and
       (3) identify and analyze potential mitigation measures only 
     for the proposed action and the no action alternative.
       (b) Public Comment.--In complying with the National 
     Environmental Policy Act of 1969 with respect to a proposed 
     renewable energy project, a Federal agency shall only 
     consider public comments that specifically address the 
     proposed action or the no action alternative (or both) and 
     are filed within 30 days after publication of a draft 
     environmental assessment or draft environmental impact 
     statement.
       (c) Definitions.--For purposes of this section:
       (1) Federal waters.--The term ``Federal waters'' means 
     waters seaward of the coastal zone (as that term is defined 
     in section 304 of the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 (16 
     U.S.C. 1453)), to the limits of the exclusive economic zone 
     or the Outer Continental Shelf, whichever is farther.
       (2) Outer continental shelf.--The term ``Outer Continental 
     Shelf'' has the meaning the term ``outer Continental Shelf'' 
     has in the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (43 U.S.C. 1331 
     et seq.).
       (3) Renewable energy project.--The term ``renewable energy 
     project'' means a project on Federal lands or in Federal 
     waters, including a project on the Outer Continental Shelf, 
     using wind, solar power, geothermal power, biomass, or marine 
     and hydrokinetic energy to generate energy, that is 
     constructed encouraging the use of equipment and materials 
     manufactured in the United States.

  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 547, the gentleman 
from Washington (Mr. Hastings) and a Member opposed each will control 5 
minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Washington.
  Mr. HASTINGS of Washington. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself as much time 
as I may consume.
  Mr. Chairman, this amendment passed the House Natural Resources 
Committee last year in the form of stand-alone legislation on a 
bipartisan vote. My amendment would accelerate the development of 
clean, renewable energy projects on Federal lands by streamlining and 
simplifying government regulations while ensuring thorough 
environmental reviews.
  House Republicans are committed to utilizing America's abundant and 
diverse energy resources to implement the all-of-the-above American-
made energy strategy that we put forth last year. This includes 
utilizing our public lands for renewable energy projects. These 
projects have the potential to create thousands of American jobs, to 
generate economic benefits, and contribute to our energy security.
  Unfortunately, renewable energy projects on Federal lands frequently 
get caught up in bureaucratic red tape. Regulatory roadblocks and 
burdensome lawsuits continue to plague and delay these projects, 
sometimes by many years.
  This amendment will facilitate the development of clean, renewable 
energy on Federal lands by providing a clear, simple process for 
completing important environmental reviews.
  The amendment would require an environmental review to be conducted

[[Page H824]]

only for the specific location where the renewable energy project would 
be located, rather than requiring thousands of pages of environmental 
review for numerous different locations. This would significantly 
reduce the number of years it takes to develop clean, renewable energy 
projects.
  So I want to stress that this amendment includes no subsidies, only 
the streamlining of government regulations. America has been blessed 
with an abundance of energy resources of all kinds. We all know that. 
And we should be actively looking to use these resources to create jobs 
and to improve American energy security.
  So I urge my colleagues to support the renewable energy development 
regulatory relief plan I have, and support this amendment.
  I reserve the balance of my time.

                              {time}  1550

  Mr. HOLT. I rise to claim time in opposition to this amendment.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. HOLT. Mr. Chairman, you may think that the gentleman from 
Washington has suddenly decided that he's going to accelerate renewable 
energy deployment in the United States; but the fact is, no, he has not 
gotten religion. This is not intended to accelerate renewable energy. 
It is to remove protections for the environment.
  The amendment really is highly problematic. It has very little upside 
and significant downside, both in terms of protecting the environment 
and in producing renewable energy. The measure fundamentally changes 
public lands policy in a way that could be extremely harmful.
  Completely gutting bedrock environmental review processes is not 
something that should be done lightly. It shouldn't be done with a 10-
minute debate on an amendment on a completely separate bill. This $250 
billion transportation bill is not the appropriate place to debate a 
fundamental shift of public lands policy. We spent nearly a day 
debating this in committee, and it deserves a debate at least that 
thorough here on the floor.
  Right now, a renewable energy project that's proposed for Federal 
lands can get a green light, a yellow light, or a red light from the 
permitting agency. What the gentleman from Washington would do with his 
amendment is get rid of the yellow light.
  By only allowing consideration of the proposed action and not 
allowing any no-action alternative, you know what that means, Mr. 
Chairman? Well, it means--and it should be obvious--it means that 
projects that could be viable will get a red light. The permitting 
agency requiring more data, requiring care, requiring additional 
conditions will have to say yes or no. They're going to say no. Let me 
state that again. Projects that can otherwise get built if their plans 
were tweaked would now, under this amendment, be killed. That means 
fewer megawatts of renewable energy production on public lands.
  No, the gentleman has not suddenly gotten religion about renewable 
energy.
  We've heard from the Bureau of Land Management, we've heard it from 
the Renewable Energy Industry, the American Wind Association, the Solar 
Energy Industry Association, the Geothermal Industry Association. They 
have not endorsed this proposal.
  The way to ensure that our public land managers are able to 
expeditiously permit renewable energy projects is not to handcuff them, 
like this amendment would do, but to make sure that they have the 
resources to do the job. Now, the Republicans last year did the 
opposite by trying to take $1 billion out of the Interior Department's 
budget.
  In addition to keeping the land management agencies from doing their 
job, this amendment would also reduce the ability of the public to 
participate in the process. If the public is not given meaningful 
opportunity, say through environmental hearings, you know what they're 
going to turn to? They're going to turn to the courts. So this 
amendment would actually lead to more lawsuits, more delays, less 
renewable energy on public lands.
  This is not endorsed by any renewable energy industry group. That 
should give you reason to pause.
  The representatives of the renewable energy industry have testified 
that this language could have a perverse effect of forcing agencies to 
reject projects, of sending projects into court, of preventing the 
actions we should be taking to develop renewable energies.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. HASTINGS of Washington. Mr. Chairman, I'm pleased to yield 2 
minutes to the gentleman from Colorado (Mr. Lamborn).
  Mr. LAMBORN. Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of the amendment of the 
committee chairman.
  This amendment promotes the Republican all-of-the-above approach to 
energy policy in this country and will just streamline the NEPA process 
to ensure the efficient production of energy on public lands.
  Right now we don't have a balance. We need to strike a balance. Yes, 
there are good environmental laws in place that are well-intended and 
that need to be followed to protect our air and water, but sometimes 
the threat of litigation or the burdensome application of regulations 
is used to simply slow down the production of energy, even renewable 
energy projects on public lands.
  So this amendment will allow renewable energy developers to commit 
their limited resources to a single project and have some certainty 
that the project will actually take place. They will make the 
investment necessary, put in the dollars that are required to bring 
forth wind, solar, geothermal, even tidal types of renewable energy 
projects that right now will otherwise be held up by burdensome 
regulations.
  These projects have the potential to provide many thousands of 
American jobs and generate millions of dollars of benefits because 
right now we're not getting these projects built on public lands. We 
need some streamlining of the burdensome regulations.
  The administration claims to have placed a priority on renewable 
energy development; and yet roadblocks keep popping up, litigation 
keeps coming forward, and we don't have anything really happening on 
public lands. We have to get the ball rolling. That's what this 
amendment does.
  I'm sorry that my colleague from New Jersey doesn't see it that way, 
but this is intended to bring forth and actually see the realization 
for once of some of these renewable energy projects. So I would ask for 
support of this amendment.
  Mr. HOLT. May I ask the amount, please, of remaining time.
  The Acting CHAIR. Both sides have 1 minute remaining.
  Mr. HOLT. I yield myself the balance of my time.
  I hope I made it clear that this amendment would slow things down, 
would throw things into court, would result in rejected projects.
  If the Republicans really want to help renewable energy, you don't 
need to gut environmental safeguards. Ensure Federal financing tools 
are available, establishing policies that create a market demand for 
renewable power in the regulated electricity industry, establish 
policies that create market demand for renewable power, and support 
smart-from-the-start policies.
  If you really want to help renewable energy, don't raise taxes on the 
wind industry. Extend the production tax credit. That would save, well, 
let's say 30,000 to 40,000 jobs. Yes, the production tax credit. That 
would be the way to help the renewable industry, not to gut 
environmental protections.
  Please, I ask my colleagues, don't support this amendment.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. HASTINGS of Washington. I yield myself the balance of my time.
  Mr. Chairman, this is a good amendment because part of the process of 
creating American energy jobs is to reduce regulation.
  I was struck when my good friend from New Jersey said that this 
amendment would lead to more litigation. For goodness sakes, when we 
heard testimony on this issue in front of our committee, the Cape Wind 
Project off Massachusetts testified something to the effect, and I 
don't have the exact testimony in front of me, but they are the poster 
child of litigation. Why? Because that litigation covered a very, very 
broad area.
  This specifies where, if somebody has a problem with it, the 
regulations would deal with the specific area. This really clarifies 
the whole process more than anything else. So I urge adoption of the 
amendment.

[[Page H825]]

  I yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from Washington (Mr. Hastings).
  The question was taken; and the Acting Chair announced that the ayes 
appeared to have it.
  Mr. HOLT. 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 Washington 
will be postponed.


                 Amendment No. 17 Offered by Mr. Markey

  The Acting CHAIR. It is now in order to consider amendment No. 17 
printed in part A of House Report 112 398.
  Mr. MARKEY. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
  The text of the amendment is as follows:

       At the end of title XVII add the following:

                  Subtitle D--Miscellaneous Provisions

     SEC. 17801. PROHIBITION ON EXPORT OF GAS.

       Each oil and gas lease issued under this title (including 
     the amendments made by this title) shall prohibit the export 
     of gas produced under the lease.

  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 547, the gentleman 
from Massachusetts (Mr. Markey) and a Member opposed each will control 
5 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Massachusetts.

                              {time}  1600

  Mr. MARKEY. Mr. Chairman, this amendment is very simple. It prohibits 
the export of the natural gas produced from the leases that are going 
to be given to oil and gas companies under this bill.
  The bottom line is, what the Republicans want to do is open up 
drilling for natural gas off of the beaches of Florida, off of the 
beaches of California, off of the beaches of Virginia, off of the 
beaches of New Jersey and Massachusetts. Then all they say is, Oh, we 
have to do this; it's for our national security. But right now, over at 
the Department of Energy, there are eight applications seeking to 
export 18 percent of our natural gas overseas--to China, to Europe, to 
Latin America.
  Why is that? Well, it's very simple.
  The price of natural gas in the United States is six times lower than 
in Asia. These companies want to make a big profit, not here in 
America, but by selling our natural gas--drilled for off of our 
beaches--to other countries. In Europe, it is four times more expensive 
for natural gas. That's where they want to sell it.
  Now, why would we support that?
  It's only if there is an oil and gas company agenda because, unlike 
natural gas, oil has a price which is set on the international 
marketplace. So, if it's $100 a barrel in China, it's $100 a barrel in 
the United States. Not so, ladies and gentlemen, with natural gas. 
Natural gas is our greatest asset. It's what's fueling our economic 
recovery. Manufacturing new jobs have been the highest in the last 5 
years. It's very low-priced natural gas which is fueling this 
revolution in creating new jobs because the price of energy is so low 
in America for natural gas.
  What is the plan of the oil and gas companies?
  It's to send this natural gas around the rest of the world.
  What would the impact be?
  It would increase prices for the American steel industry; increase 
prices for the chemical industry; increase prices for the plastics 
industry; increase prices for the utility industries, which generate 
electricity for American homes and businesses; and it would ultimately 
increase prices for consumers in our country.
  This amendment, the Markey amendment, is aimed straight at the Strait 
of Hormuz, and it's saying to them, We've got the natural gas here in 
America. We're going to drill for it, but we're keeping it here because 
it's six times lower in price than it is in Asia and in Europe, and 
that's what we're going to keep here for our American citizens. We're 
not going to play this game of international markets so that the oil 
and gas industry can raise the price of natural gas up to the price of 
oil. They get rich, and ExxonMobil is reporting $137 billion in profits 
even as we give them, through the Republicans, $40 billion worth of tax 
breaks.
  When do American consumers get a break? When do American 
manufacturers get a break? When do the plastics, the chemical, the 
steel industries get a break in low energy prices? Is it all a one-way 
street for ExxonMobil and these big multinationals?
  The Markey amendment says that we drill for natural gas off the 
beaches of this country. That natural gas stays here in this country. 
It is not exported.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. HASTINGS of Washington. I rise in opposition to the gentleman's 
amendment.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. HASTINGS of Washington. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as 
I may consume.
  This amendment was offered in committee markup, and it failed on a 
bipartisan vote simply because it was a bad idea. This amendment, Mr. 
Chairman, has one goal--to stop the development of natural gas on 
Alaska's North Slope. This amendment is completely unnecessary and 
irrelevant.
  Currently, there is no way to export natural gas out of ANWR. There 
are no liquefying gas facilities on the shore. There is also not a 
single natural gas pipeline out of ANWR to transport natural gas 
anywhere in the United States. In fact, there are limited ways to 
export Alaska natural gas.
  One of the preferred methods, of course, would be to build a pipeline 
to cross the U.S.-Canada border and then back into the United States; 
but under the gentleman's amendment, this wouldn't be possible. I might 
add, we all know how the gentleman feels about pipelines in general.
  Another method would be to convert gas to LNG and ship it to the 
United States. I know the gentleman is well aware of this process 
because his home State gets about 40 percent of its natural gas from 
countries like Yemen, Egypt, or Trinidad. However, should Alaska choose 
to convert to LNG and try to ship it to California, this amendment 
would stop them from considering that because the import terminal in 
southern California is in Mexico, where they get their natural gas from 
Gazprom, which is in Russia.
  The transportation of natural gas across Alaska is a tremendous 
challenge. As with any major pipeline in construction, the investment 
will be in the billions of dollars, but it would certainly employ tens 
of thousands of people. It is something that should and can happen. 
However, without a market for the natural gas, it is unlikely that this 
pipeline will ever be built. As mentioned, this amendment then would 
stop gas from reaching the U.S. markets both by pipeline and by ship.
  On this side of the aisle, we hope that a pipeline like this can be 
built for all of the reasons that we have said in the past. We want the 
gas to come to America. Our hope is that this gas will displace the 
natural gas shipments from Russia coming into southern California and 
possibly even the Yemeni shipments to Boston. This is our hope, and 
that would be a challenge if this amendment were to be adopted.
  This amendment goes against the main objective of the bill--American 
jobs, American energy and American energy security. So I urge my 
colleagues to vote ``no'' on the amendment.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. MARKEY. May I ask how much time is remaining on either side?
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Massachusetts has 1 minute 
remaining. The gentleman from Washington has 2\1/2\ minutes remaining.
  Mr. MARKEY. At this point, I continue to reserve the balance of my 
time.
  Mr. HASTINGS of Washington. At this time, I am very pleased to yield 
30 seconds to the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Brady).
  Mr. BRADY of Texas. Mr. Chairman, America is at its best when we're 
not hypocritical and when we don't shoot ourselves in the foot. This 
Markey amendment does both.
  We insist that China play by the rules. In fact, they've been 
hoarding their raw materials and holding them back from export to 
America, which harms American companies. We just won an important 
ruling around the world that says China has to stop that. Yet here we 
are on the House floor, trying to do the exact same thing to our export 
of natural gas, and we're

[[Page H826]]

going to be called on it just like we called it out on China.
  Secondly, besides being hypocritical, this is going to kill American 
jobs. We need not just to buy American; we need to sell American around 
the world: our cars, our ag products, our electronics, computers, and, 
yes, our natural gas. That's how we grow America's economy.
  I urge defeat.
  Mr. MARKEY. I would inquire as to who has the right to close and if 
the majority is down to its last speaker.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Washington has the right to 
close.
  Mr. HASTINGS of Washington. Mr. Chairman, I advise my friend from 
Massachusetts that I have requests from two other Members, so there are 
three including me.
  Mr. MARKEY. Mr. Chair, through you, I would prefer to wait until the 
final speaker for the majority is about to take the podium.
  I continue to reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. HASTINGS of Washington. I am very pleased, Mr. Chairman, to yield 
30 seconds to the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Farenthold).
  Mr. FARENTHOLD. I also rise in opposition to this amendment. As the 
chairman has pointed out, there is no market in Alaska, and we know how 
the other side feels about building pipelines through Canada.
  Right now, we've got an historic low price of gas, which is great for 
America, but it's also great for the rest of the world. This is our 
opportunity to use our excess capacity. We're producing more than we 
can consume, hence the low price. We're flaring it through areas of 
Texas. This is an opportunity to lower our balance of trade and to make 
some money. Then, as the price goes up, the government gets more in 
royalties.
  I would also like to point out, if we applied this same logic to 
other commodities--well, let's not export our food so our food prices 
go down. Let's not export our cars so our car prices go down.
  Mr. HASTINGS of Washington. Mr. Chairman, I am very pleased to yield 
30 seconds to the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Olson).

                              {time}  1610

  Mr. OLSON. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the Markey 
amendment. The gentleman from Massachusetts has displayed a clear lack 
of understanding of our great Nation's history with his amendment to 
restrict American exports of natural gas.
  Exports have made America a world power. Our country grew stronger 
economically by providing the products the world demands. No one would 
get upset if Ford or GM were making enough cars so that they could 
supply domestic markets and also ship cars overseas. Nobody is 
proposing to restrict the export of Massachusetts lobsters.
  I urge my colleagues to vote ``no'' on the Markey amendment.
  Mr. MARKEY. I yield myself the balance of my time.
  The Republican slogan 2 years ago was, ``Drill here, drill now, pay 
less.'' Today the slogan is, ``Drill here, sell to China, pay more in 
the United States.''
  If all these terminals get built, the Energy Department says the 
price is going to go up by 54 percent for American consumers. Let me 
tell you what Boone Pickens says. Boone Pickens said something that is 
very, very clear about exporting natural gas. He said:
  ``If we do it, we're truly going to go down as America's dumbest 
generation. It's bad public policy to export natural gas.'' American 
energy for American jobs.
  Oil and natural gas are not lobsters. They are not toothbrushes. They 
are our key to the strategic protection of our national security. This 
is a signal to OPEC that we mean business. We're going to drill for the 
natural gas. We're going to keep it here. And we're going to tell them 
we don't need their oil any more than we need their sand.
  Vote for the Markey amendment. Keep the natural gas, which we drill 
for off of the beaches in this country, in our country, and tell them 
they can keep their sand. We'll keep our natural gas right here in 
America. Vote ``aye'' for the Markey amendment.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. HASTINGS of Washington. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself the balance 
of my time.
  My friend from Massachusetts makes a great point with great, great 
passion. I thought that the gentleman was arguing in support of the 
underlying bill. And the reason I say that is because the underlying 
bill opens up areas on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts for drilling for 
oil and gas.
  The gentleman said yesterday that he is very much in favor of natural 
gas. There is natural gas off the north shore of the Atlantic. Shipping 
costs would be very, very little. I'm somewhat confused. But I don't 
think that the gentleman's amendment will accomplish what he says. But 
his rhetoric--I can tell you, Mr. Chairman--will accomplish what the 
underlying bill says, and that will make us less dependent on foreign 
sources of energy and create American energy jobs.
  With that, I urge rejection of the Markey amendment, and I yield back 
the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. Markey).
  The question was taken; and the Acting Chair announced that the noes 
appeared to have it.
  Mr. MARKEY. 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 
Massachusetts will be postponed.


                 Amendment No. 18 Offered by Mr. Markey

  The Acting CHAIR. It is now in order to consider amendment No. 18 
printed in part A of House Report 112 398.
  Mr. MARKEY. I have an amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
  The text of the amendment is as follows:

       At the end of title XVII add the following:

                  Subtitle D--Miscellaneous Provisions

     SEC. 17801. ELIGIBILITY FOR NEW LEASES AND THE TRANSFER OF 
                   LEASES.

       (a) Issuance of New Leases.--
       (1) In general.--Beginning in fiscal year 2013, the 
     Secretary of the Interior shall not accept bids on any new 
     leases offered pursuant to this title (including the 
     amendments made by this title) from a person described in 
     paragraph (2) unless the person has renegotiated each covered 
     lease with respect to which the person is a lessee, to modify 
     the payment responsibilities of the person to require the 
     payment of royalties if the price of oil and natural gas is 
     greater than or equal to the price thresholds described in 
     clauses (v) through (vii) of section 8(a)(3)(C) of the Outer 
     Continental Shelf Lands Act (43 U.S.C. 1337(a)(3)(C)).
       (2) Persons described.--A person referred to in paragraph 
     (1) is a person that--
       (A) is a lessee that--
       (i) holds a covered lease on the date on which the 
     Secretary considers the issuance of the new lease; or
       (ii) was issued a covered lease before the date of 
     enactment of this Act, but transferred the covered lease to 
     another person or entity (including a subsidiary or affiliate 
     of the lessee) after the date of enactment of this Act; or
       (B) any other person that has any direct or indirect 
     interest in, or that derives any benefit from, a covered 
     lease.
       (3) Multiple lessees.--
       (A) In general.--For purposes of paragraph (1), if there 
     are multiple lessees that own a share of a covered lease, the 
     Secretary may implement separate agreements with any lessee 
     with a share of the covered lease that modifies the payment 
     responsibilities with respect to the share of the lessee to 
     include price thresholds that are equal to or less than the 
     price thresholds described in clauses (v) through (vii) of 
     section 8(a)(3)(C) of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act 
     (43 U.S.C. 1337(a)(3)(C)).
       (B) Treatment of share as covered lease.--Beginning on the 
     effective date of an agreement under subparagraph (A), any 
     share subject to the agreement shall not constitute a covered 
     lease with respect to any lessees that entered into the 
     agreement.
       (b) Transfers.--A lessee or any other person who has any 
     direct or indirect interest in, or who derives a benefit 
     from, a covered lease shall not be eligible to obtain by sale 
     or other transfer (including through a swap, spinoff, 
     servicing, or other agreement) any new lease offered pursuant 
     to this title (including the amendments made by this title) 
     or the economic benefit of any such new lease, unless the 
     lessee or other person has--
       (1) renegotiated each covered lease with respect to which 
     the lessee or person is a lessee, to modify the payment 
     responsibilities of the lessee or person to include price 
     thresholds that are equal to or less than the price 
     thresholds described in clauses (v) through (vii) of section 
     8(a)(3)(C) of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (43 
     U.S.C. 1337(a)(3)(C)); or
       (2) entered into an agreement with the Secretary to modify 
     the terms of all covered leases of the lessee or other person 
     to include

[[Page H827]]

     limitations on royalty relief based on market prices that are 
     equal to or less than the price thresholds described in 
     clauses (v) through (vii) of section 8(a)(3)(C) of the Outer 
     Continental Shelf Lands Act (43 U.S.C. 1337(a)(3)(C)).
       (c) Definitions.--In this section--
       (1) Covered lease.--The term ``covered lease'' means a 
     lease for oil or gas production in the Gulf of Mexico that 
     is--
       (A) in existence on the date of enactment of this Act;
       (B) issued by the Department of the Interior under section 
     304 of the Outer Continental Shelf Deep Water Royalty Relief 
     Act (43 U.S.C. 1337 note; Public Law 104 58); and
       (C) not subject to limitations on royalty relief based on 
     market price that are equal to or less than the price 
     thresholds described in clauses (v) through (vii) of section 
     8(a)(3)(C) of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (43 
     U.S.C. 1337(a)(3)(C)).
       (2) Lessee.--The term ``lessee'' includes any person or 
     other entity that controls, is controlled by, or is in or 
     under common control with, a lessee.
       (3) New lease.--The term ``new lease'' means a lease issued 
     in a lease sale under this title or the amendments made by 
     this title.

  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 547, the gentleman 
from Massachusetts (Mr. Markey) and a Member opposed each will control 
5 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Massachusetts.
  Mr. MARKEY. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself 3 minutes.
  Last year, ExxonMobil made $41 billion in profits. Together, the top 
five oil companies made a combined $137 billion in profits. You would 
think that every time these large oil companies extract oil from public 
lands offshore in the Gulf of Mexico that they would be required to pay 
the American people a fee, a royalty to do so, since the lands are 
owned by the people of the United States. Well, you would be wrong. As 
a result of an oil company court challenge to a 1995 law, oil companies 
are not paying any royalties to the American people on leases issued 
between 1996 and 2000 on public lands of our country.
  The Republicans want to drill into the pensions of Federal workers to 
fund our highways. They want to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife 
Refuge, America's Serengeti, and off our beaches in California and 
Florida and New Jersey to fund this transportation bill. But if we are 
looking for revenue to fund our road projects, we should just start by 
ending this free ride Big Oil is getting on public land.
  In recent years, the amount of free oil these companies have been 
pumping has gone through the roof as more of these free drilling leases 
have gone into production. In fact, right now more than 25 percent of 
all oil produced offshore on Federal lands is produced royalty free, 
tax free. They don't have to pay any taxes whatsoever. Let me say that 
again. These companies get a complete windfall profit by paying no 
taxes for drilling off of the coastline of the United States, owned by 
the American people. What kind of plan can that be to make sure that we 
have sufficient funding in order to pay for Medicare, pay for kids 
going to college, pay for the research to find a cure for cancer? Of 
all the companies that should be kicking in their fair share of the 
dues to run this country, it should be the companies who made $137 
billion last year and are getting away scot-free and not paying taxes 
for drilling off of the coastlines of our country on public lands.
  At this point, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. HASTINGS of Washington. Mr. Chairman, I claim time in opposition.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. HASTINGS of Washington. Mr. Chairman, this amendment is virtually 
identical once again to amendments that have failed on the House floor 
by a bipartisan vote, and I'm speaking specifically of last year.
  Let me give a little bit of a history. In 1995, a Democrat Senator 
and the Clinton White House negotiated the Deep Water Relief Act. The 
intent was to promote interest in deepwater leases. According to the 
1995 law, the royalty relief is on the volume of oil and gas produced 
on a lease. While other royalty-relief provisions are dependent upon 
economic hardship, these are solely dependent on volume produced.
  While the gentleman's amendment aims to fix the problem by including 
price thresholds, this issue has been repeatedly settled in courts of 
law and the courts have determined that including price thresholds to 
this law would be a violation of the contract law. The U.S. Supreme 
Court found that the Department did not have the authority to include 
price thresholds on lease agreements issued under the 1995 law. In 
fact, the Department of Interior has lost this issue in the district 
court, the appellate court, and the Supreme Court. Simply stated, 
including price thresholds on these leases would be illegal. If this 
amendment passed, the issue would almost certainly be challenged in 
court, where the Department would again use taxpayer dollars to lose 
again. Ultimately, this amendment seeks to force U.S. companies to 
break a contract negotiated under government law or else be denied the 
opportunity to do business in the United States.
  The ranking member aims to back companies into a corner and force 
them to break an unbreakable contract. I think this is a bad amendment. 
The House has rejected it in the past, and I would urge the House and 
my colleagues to again reject it this time.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. MARKEY. May I inquire once again as to how much time is remaining 
on either side?
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Massachusetts has 2\3/4\ minutes 
remaining. The gentleman from Washington has 3 minutes remaining.
  Mr. MARKEY. I yield myself a minute and three-quarters.
  The amendment that I'm offering would give these oil companies a 
strong incentive to renegotiate their leases and to pay their fair 
share of royalty taxes. My amendment would offer these oil companies a 
choice. They can choose to either continue to produce royalty tax-free 
in the Gulf of Mexico on public lands but not be able to receive any 
new leases on public lands, or they can agree to pay their fair share 
and be able to bid on new areas. They can't have it both ways. With oil 
prices at $100 a barrel, this free drilling is absolutely unacceptable.
  The Congressional Research Service has repeatedly found that this 
amendment would not be an abrogation of contract or constitute a 
taking. In 2010, the Congressional Research Service wrote of my 
amendment:

       To reiterate, the amendment imposes no legal compulsion. 
     Just as in Ruckelshaus, Congress simply would be posing an 
     election.

                              {time}  1620

  This amendment does not require these companies to renegotiate their 
leases to pay their fair share; it just gives them an incentive to do 
so. And this amendment would not force companies to give up their 
leases; it would just impose a condition in issuing future leases.
  As CRS has stated, as a general matter, the United States has broad 
discretion in setting the qualifications of those with whom it 
contracts. These companies would be perfectly free to choose to 
continue producing this free windfall oil even if prices climbed well 
past $100 a barrel and gas prices go past $4 a gallon--they can do 
that. They can hang on to these windfall leases if they want. But if 
they do, they will not get any new leases from the American people on 
the public lands of our country.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. HASTINGS of Washington. Mr. Chairman, I am pleased to yield 1 
minute to the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Brady).
  Mr. BRADY of Texas. Mr. Chairman, this amendment has been defeated so 
many times on the House floor, it's like one of those bad ``American 
Idol'' tryouts. And there is good reason for it. It is as Chairman 
Hastings said. In the 1990s, we wanted to encourage more American-made 
energy, not importing it from the Middle East. So we encouraged 
companies to explore in deepwater. They did.
  American companies invested hundreds of millions of dollars in leases 
paid to the American Government in new investment, in new equipment, 
and it worked. They found oil and gas. They pumped it, and they paid 
billions of dollars in revenue in royalties to us based on how much 
they pumped. The more they pumped, the more they paid to the American 
taxpayer.
  This outraged our Democrat friends. They've tried to break those 
American contracts, force the government to go back on its word. Four 
times the

[[Page H828]]

courts have said, including the Supreme Court, No, the American 
Government's word means something.
  Today, they want to break that word on the House floor, extort our 
American companies into breaking those contracts.
  We're going to say no. The American Government's contract and the 
words mean something, and we're going to create the jobs that come from 
American-made energy.
  The Acting CHAIR. The time of the gentleman has expired.
  Mr. HASTINGS of Washington. I yield the gentleman an additional 1 
minute.
  Mr. BRADY of Texas. Mr. Chairman, I just want to reiterate the point 
we've been making. The goal of this amendment is not simply to break 
America's contract, it's really to stop American companies from 
investing here in America, and creating jobs from clean natural gas, 
from oil, from traditional energy that fuels so much of America's 
economy, to make sure that we are reliant on our energy, not on the 
Middle East or Venezuela.
  And so the goal of this amendment, the reason it has been killed so 
many times, is it works against America's energy interests. It works 
against American energy jobs, and it breaks the rule of law. America is 
not a banana republic. Our contracts mean something, and we're going to 
uphold them.
  Mr. MARKEY. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself the balance of my time.
  These oil giants are the most profitable companies in the history of 
the world. Yet the Republicans are going to give them $40 billion in 
tax breaks over the next 10 years. And rather than reclaiming them for 
our soldiers or for Medicare recipients, they say no, you can't touch 
that.
  And so I turn to them and I say: What about all of the royalty tax-
free drilling they're doing? Twenty-five percent of all oil drilled for 
off of the coastlines of our country on public lands, no taxes. No 
royalties. No contribution to America. They're not paying their fair 
share of the dues.
  And the gentleman from Texas just said the more they drill, the more 
they pay. Absolutely not true. The more they drill, the bigger their 
profits. They don't have to pay a nickel in royalty taxes. They get off 
scot-free. Everyone else gets tipped upside down by the tax man on 
April 15 to pick up what they're not willing to pay. It's time for them 
to pay their fair share of the dues.
  That's what the Markey amendment says. Either start renegotiating 
those leases or you're not drilling any longer on the public lands of 
the United States of America. Vote ``aye.''
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. HASTINGS of Washington. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself the balance 
of my time.
  Mr. Chairman, there is a very important principle here, and that is a 
contract is a contract. You abide by what you negotiate under the 
existing law. And this existing law has worked its way through the 
courts all of the way to the Supreme Court. And in every case, the 1995 
law in these leases was upheld. Why would we want to jeopardize and 
send the wrong message to those who would want to take the risk and 
make the investments under this law? It would send a very, very wrong 
signal, in my view.
  Once again, this amendment has been defeated on this floor a number 
of times. I urge my colleagues to vote ``no'' one more time to defeat 
this amendment.
  With that, I yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. Markey).
  The question was taken; and the Acting Chair announced that the ayes 
appeared to have it.
  Mr. HASTINGS of Washington. 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 
Massachusetts will be postponed.


                Amendment No. 19 Offered by Mr. Labrador

  The Acting CHAIR. It is now in order to consider amendment No. 19 
printed in part A of House Report 112 398.
  Mr. LABRADOR. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
  The text of the amendment is as follows:

       At the end of title XVII add the following:

  Subtitle D--Promotion of Timely Exploration for Geothermal Resources

     SEC. 17801. SHORT TITLE.

       This subtitle may be cited as the ``Exploring for 
     Geothermal Energy on Federal Lands Act''.

     SEC. 17802. GEOTHERMAL EXPLORATION NOTICE AND EXCLUSION.

       (a) Definition of Geothermal Exploration Test Project.--In 
     this section the term ``geothermal exploration test project'' 
     means the drilling of a well to test or explore for 
     geothermal resources on lands leased by the Department of the 
     Interior for the development and production of geothermal 
     resources, that--
       (1) is carried out by the holder of the lease;
       (2) causes--
       (A) less than 5 acres of soil or vegetation disruption at 
     the location of each geothermal exploration well; and
       (B) not more than an additional 5 acres of soil or 
     vegetation disruption during access or egress to the test 
     site;
       (3) is developed--
       (A) no deeper than 2,500 feet;
       (B) less than 8 inches in diameter;
       (C) in a manner that does not require off-road motorized 
     access other than to and from the well site along an 
     identified off-road route for which notice is provided to the 
     Secretary of the Interior under subsection (c);
       (D) without construction of new roads other than upgrading 
     of existing drainage crossings for safety purposes; and
       (E) with the use of rubber-tired digging or drilling 
     equipment vehicles;
       (4) is completed in less than 45 days, including the 
     removal of any surface infrastructure from the site; and
       (5) requires the restoration of the project site within 3 
     years to approximately the condition that existed at the time 
     the project began, unless the site is subsequently used as 
     part of energy development on the lease.
       (b) NEPA Exclusion.--Section 102(2)(C) of the National 
     Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4332(2)(C)) shall 
     not apply with respect to a project that the Secretary of the 
     Interior determines under subsection (c) is a geothermal 
     exploration test project.
       (c) Notice of Intent; Review and Determination.--
       (1) Requirement to provide notice.--A leaseholder intending 
     to carry out a geothermal exploration test project shall 
     provide notice to the Secretary of the Interior not later 
     than 30 days prior to the start of drilling under the 
     project.
       (2) Review of project.--The Secretary shall by not later 
     than 10 days after receipt of a notice of intent under 
     paragraph (1) from a leaseholder--
       (A) review the project described in the notice and 
     determine whether it is a geothermal exploration test project 
     under subsection (a); and
       (B) notify the leaseholder--
       (i) that under subsection (b) of this section, section 
     102(2)(C) of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 
     (42 U.S.C. 4332(2)(C)) does not apply to the project; or
       (ii) that section 102(2)(C) of the National Environmental 
     Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4332(2)(C)) applies to the 
     project, including clear and detailed findings on any 
     deficiencies in the project that preclude the application of 
     subsection (b) of this section to the project.
       (3) Opportunity to remedy.--If the Secretary provides 
     notice under paragraph (2)(B)(ii) that section 102(2)(C) of 
     the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 
     4332(2)(C)) applies to the project, the Secretary shall 
     provide the leaseholder an opportunity to remedy the 
     deficiencies described in the notice prior to the date the 
     leaseholder intended to start of drilling under the project.

  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 547, the gentleman 
from Idaho (Mr. Labrador) and a Member opposed each will control 5 
minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Idaho.
  Mr. LABRADOR. Mr. Chairman, for far too long, the Federal Government 
has imposed regulatory burdens that have impeded economic growth and 
limited our access to domestic energy. This legislation, which passed 
out of the Natural Resources Committee on a bipartisan basis, 
establishes a commonsense, streamlined policy for the development of 
clean geothermal energy resources that will create jobs and provide 
low-cost energy to American families.
  In Idaho, we have an abundance of geothermal energy potential that is 
unavailable due to Federal bureaucratic impediments. Idaho has a unique 
history of developing geothermal energy. I served for 4 years in the 
Idaho legislature, where our 100-year-old statehouse is entirely heated 
by geothermal energy, as are many of our downtown Boise office 
buildings, old and new. The annual operating costs

[[Page H829]]

for generating this abundant heat are essentially zero.
  Current law requires each geothermal exploration hole to go through 
an individual environmental review and approval process, discouraging 
energy companies from investing in projects and curtailing our access 
to geothermal energy. Each individual environmental review process can 
take between 10 months to 2 years to complete.
  Now, more than ever, we should encourage private enterprise by 
removing the regulatory burdens that stall our economic growth. My 
amendment does just that.
  What the legislation does: number one, it improves regulations that 
hamper geothermal exploration and allows projects to be done without 
the construction of new roads and without the use of off-road motorized 
vehicles to ensure minimal environmental damage.
  Number two, it protects the environment by requiring the removal of 
any surface infrastructure to minimize surface impact.
  Number three, it sets firm deadlines for permitting to occur, 
providing the geothermal companies the certainty they need to make 
appropriate business decisions. This is important.
  What my amendment does not do: it does not subsidize geothermal 
energy. It merely eliminates a regulatory hurdle that is unique to the 
geothermal development process, allowing increased deployment without a 
tax credit or other cost to the taxpayers.
  It also does not allow geothermal development to occur in any of our 
pristine areas that are currently off limits to exploration. The bill 
simply removes bureaucratic layers that companies must endure after 
they obtain a lease.
  I urge my colleagues to support this bipartisan amendment.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. GARAMENDI. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the amendment.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from California is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mr. GARAMENDI. Thank you.
  We're all for geothermal. There's nobody on this side that's opposed 
to geothermal. We think it is a really good resource. In fact, in my 
own history way back in California, the first geothermal wells were 
drilled when I was on the Resources Committee in the State. We did it 
well. We required an upfront review of the potential wells, and we 
continued to do that in California. And it turns out that this 
particular law would waive the NEPA requirements, simply a categorical 
exemption for geothermal test wells. It's not necessary, and not wise.

                              {time}  1630

  Already the Bureau of Land Management rapidly approves thermal test 
wells with a very quick environmental review to determine if there's 
any potential problem in that particular area from that particular 
well. In fact, about 72 applications had been made, and 47 had been 
done very quickly. Why were the others not done? There was a potential 
problem. Perhaps they were near somebody else's resource, perhaps they 
were in an area that was environmentally sensitive, perhaps they were 
in an area where you could draw down a naturally occurring hot spring 
or a geyser.
  So there are reasons for the review, and there is no reason for a 
categorical exemption unless, of course, you want to somehow, bit by 
bit, terminate NEPA, which seems the strategy of the Republicans here, 
just nibble away enough so that NEPA has no meaning.
  I would draw the attention to the majority here that the natural gas 
industry obtained an exemption for natural gas fracking from the EPA 
regulations. The result, at least in Pennsylvania and in New York, was 
extraordinary trouble for the natural gas industry.
  So let's not rush forward here. There's a process in place that 
provides for an exemption, a very quick process to determine if that 
particular well is appropriate and allowed to go forward. Where there's 
trouble, don't do it.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. LABRADOR. Mr. Chairman, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from 
Colorado (Mr. Lamborn).
  Mr. LAMBORN. I thank my colleague from Idaho.
  I rise in strong support of this amendment. It would streamline the 
geothermal exploration process to expedite the development of 
geothermal energy on Federal lands. Being from Colorado, I know well 
the potential for geothermal energy development. In fact, just last 
year, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, NREL, teamed up with 
IKEA to build the first IKEA store in the United States that is 
partially powered by geothermal energy.
  As our Nation heads down the path of energy security, we should be 
facilitating the development of renewable energy on Federal land. This 
is a good amendment that could potentially shave years off the process 
of geothermal energy exploration and contribute to our increasing 
domestic energy portfolio in the United States.
  I urge your support of the Labrador amendment.
  Mr. GARAMENDI. May I ask the remaining time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from California has 3 minutes 
remaining.
  Mr. GARAMENDI. It sounds good, doesn't it? Until the well happens to 
destroy the neighbor's well or until the well happens to destroy one of 
the many hot springs or geysers that exist in public parks, national 
parks. It sounds good until you begin to understand the implications of 
what happens when there is no environmental review.
  Oh, yeah, it sounds good. But I will guarantee you this, that if this 
exemption goes forward, it will only be a matter of time before there 
is a major controversy over the exploration of a well and the effect on 
surrounding resources. If that's what the majority wants, then go 
ahead. The result will be a huge blow-up such as we now see with 
fracking.
  We don't need that. What we need to do is rapidly expand our 
geothermal production in America, and there are many different 
resources available to us. I would just remind my friend from Colorado 
that the kind of geothermal he's talking about is not the deep well, 
hot geothermal, but rather a geothermal that uses the ambient 
temperature of the soil several feet deep into the ground. That's a 
different kind of geothermal situation.
  What we're talking about here is tapping a hot portion of the Earth 
and extracting from that the energy that's possible. Do it with care, 
because there is the potential for very serious problems if you do it 
incorrectly. Take a look.
  And, by the way, to our knowledge, the geothermal industry is not 
interested in this exemption. There may be some company out there; but 
in testimony before the committee, it was clear that the geothermal 
industry said, We don't need this; things are moving along the way we 
want them to move along.
  Understand that there is competition between geothermal companies. 
One person may be on this side of the geothermal resource, another on 
the other side, a third entity comes in and tries to extract the oil, 
the energy in a test well, and, voila, now we've got conflict. Without 
a review, those things will happen. There is no need for a categoric 
exemption.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. LABRADOR. Mr. Chairman, may I inquire how much time remains.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman has 1\1/2\ minutes remaining.
  Mr. LABRADOR. I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from Washington (Mr. 
Hastings).
  Mr. HASTINGS of Washington. Mr. Chairman, I want to congratulate my 
friend and colleague from Idaho for this amendment. And let me correct 
just one statement that was made just a moment ago. The geothermal 
industry testified in our committee in favor of this bill. But there 
seems to be a pattern here when we talk about activity on Federal land, 
which, of course, is under the jurisdiction of the committee that I 
have the privilege to chair. And if I hear it once, I hear it dozens of 
times, and we hear it virtually in all the testimony when we hear of 
issues that come before our committee, and that is the red tape that 
you have to go through to utilize our public lands for multiple-purpose 
use.
  Let me just say this, Mr. Chairman. Our public lands were designed, 
unless Congress sets aside specifically, for multiple use. That means 
commercial

[[Page H830]]

activity and that means recreational activity, a wide variety of 
activities. But when we have these other laws that inhibit that use, 
then I think it works against what the American people are trying to 
accomplish.
  This is a very simple process that says, goodness, if you have a 
lease in an area, why do you have to have so much redundancy to do the 
same thing over and over again? I think this amendment is a good 
amendment. As I mentioned, it passed out of committee on a bipartisan 
vote, and I urge adoption.
  Mr. GARAMENDI. I suppose it's time to just finish up this debate, so 
I yield myself the balance of my time.
  A quick quote from Paul Thomsen of Ormat Technologies in committee 
representing the geothermal industry at the legislative hearing June 
23, 2011:

       If we can get to an implementation that is consistent with 
     what the current policy currently is, we would be very happy 
     with that and I don't think this necessarily requires a total 
     exemption from NEPA.

  Let it be that. We'll go on. They don't need an exemption. And it was 
just stated that if you've got an area, a resource area, what 
difference does it make if somebody drills within that area. I can tell 
you what difference it makes. In California, regarding the geysers--a 
huge resource, one of the very first in the United States--it makes a 
great deal of difference where somebody else drills in your 
neighborhood, because that drilling can dry up your resource.
  It is exceedingly important to understand the geology and understand 
the environmental risks associated with exploratory and then the 
development. No need for an exemption unless, of course, you want to, 
once again, nibble away at NEPA until it's not worth having at all, 
which apparently is the strategy we're seeing from this committee and 
these numerous amendments.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. LABRADOR. Mr. Chairman, in conclusion, let's correct two 
statements that were just made. Number one, the Chamber of Commerce and 
the geothermal industry testified in our committee that they're for 
this, and I have letters from them saying that they're for this 
amendment. And, number two, the bogeyman that they keep using is geyser 
holes and other things. The EIS for geothermal leasing in the western 
United States expressly states that the BLM is prohibited from issuing 
leases on the following lands: lands contained within a unit of the 
National Park System or that are otherwise administered by the National 
Park System. They continue to use Yellowstone and all these other 
bogeymen, and we know that is not true because we cannot do any leasing 
or any geothermal activity in any of those lands.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from Idaho (Mr. Labrador).
  The question was taken; and the Acting Chair announced that the ayes 
appeared to have it.
  Mr. GARAMENDI. Mr. Chair, 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 Idaho will 
be postponed.

                              {time}  1640


                Amendment No. 20 Offered by Mr. Scalise

  The Acting CHAIR. It is now in order to consider amendment No. 20 
printed in part A of House Report 112 398.
  Mr. SCALISE. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
  The text of the amendment is as follows:

       At the end of the bill, add the following (and conform the 
     table of contents accordingly):

                        TITLE XVIII--RESTORE ACT

     SECTION 18001. SHORT TITLE.

       This title may be cited as the ``Resources and Ecosystems 
     Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies 
     of the Gulf Coast States Act of 2012''.

     SEC. 18002. FINDINGS.

       Congress finds that--
       (1) as a result of decades of oil and gas development in 
     the Gulf of Mexico, producing and nonproducing States in the 
     Gulf Coast region have borne substantial risks of 
     environmental damage and economic harm, all of which 
     culminated with the explosion on, and sinking of, the mobile 
     offshore drilling unit Deepwater Horizon;
       (2) the discharge of oil in the Gulf of Mexico that began 
     following the explosion on, and sinking of, the mobile 
     offshore drilling unit Deepwater Horizon has caused 
     substantial environmental destruction and economic harm to 
     the people and communities of the Gulf Coast region;
       (3)(A) in the report entitled ``America's Gulf Coast--A 
     Long Term Recovery Plan after the Deepwater Horizon Oil 
     Spill'', the Secretary of the Navy stated, ``Together, the 
     Gulf's tourism and commercial and recreational fishing 
     industries contribute tens of billions of dollars to the 
     [United States] economy. More than 90 percent of the 
     [N]ation's offshore crude oil and natural gas is produced in 
     the Gulf, and the [F]ederal treasury receives roughly $4.5 
     billion dollars every year from offshore leases and 
     royalties. And it is in the Gulf of Mexico that nearly one 
     third of seafood production in the continental [United 
     States] is harvested. America needs a healthy and resilient 
     Gulf Coast, one that can support the diverse economies, 
     communities, and cultures of the region.'';
       (B) to address the needs of the Gulf Coast region, the 
     Secretary of the Navy stated, ``It is recommended that the 
     President urge Congress to pass legislation that would 
     dedicate a significant amount of any civil penalties 
     recovered under the [Federal Water Pollution Control Act] 
     from parties responsible for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill 
     to those directly impacted by that spill.''; and
       (C) to mitigate local challenges and help restore the 
     resiliency of communities adversely affected by the spill, 
     the Secretary of the Navy stated that the legislation 
     described in subparagraph (B) should ``[b]uild economic 
     development strategies around community needs, and take 
     particular efforts to address the needs of disadvantaged, 
     underserved, and resource constrained communities'';
       (4) in a final report to the President, the National 
     Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore 
     Drilling--
       (A) stated, ``Estimates of the cost of Gulf restoration, 
     including but not limited to the Mississippi Delta, vary 
     widely, but according to testimony before the Commission, 
     full restoration of the Gulf will require $15 billion to $20 
     billion: a minimum of $500 million annually for 30 years.''; 
     and
       (B) like the Secretary of the Navy, recommended that, to 
     meet the needs described in subparagraph (A), a substantial 
     portion of applicable penalties under the Federal Water 
     Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.) be dedicated 
     to long-term restoration of the Gulf of Mexico;
       (5) taking into account the risks borne by Gulf Coast 
     States for decades of oil and gas development and the 
     environmental degradation suffered by the Gulf Coast region, 
     the amounts received by the United States as payment of 
     administrative, civil, or criminal penalties in connection 
     with the explosion on, and sinking of, the mobile offshore 
     drilling unit Deepwater Horizon should be expended--
       (A) to restore the natural resources, ecosystems, 
     fisheries, marine and wildlife habitats, beaches, barrier 
     islands, dunes, coastal wetlands, and economy of the Gulf 
     Coast; and
       (B) to address the associated economic harm suffered by the 
     people and communities of the region;
       (6) the projects and programs authorized by this title and 
     the amendments made by this title should be carried out 
     pursuant to contracts awarded in a manner that provides a 
     preference to individuals and entities that reside in, are 
     headquartered in, or are principally engaged in business in a 
     Gulf Coast State; and
       (7) Federal, State, and local officials should seek--
       (A) to leverage the financial resources made available 
     under this title; and
       (B) to the maximum extent practicable, to ensure that 
     projects funded pursuant to this title complement efforts 
     planned or in operation to revitalize the natural resources 
     and economic health of the Gulf Coast region.

     SEC. 18003. GULF COAST RESTORATION TRUST FUND.

       (a) Establishment.--There is established in the Treasury of 
     the United States a trust fund to be known as the ``Gulf 
     Coast Restoration Trust Fund'' (referred to in this section 
     as the ``Trust Fund''), consisting of such amounts as are 
     deposited in the Trust Fund under this section or any other 
     provision of law.
       (b) Transfers.--The Secretary of the Treasury shall deposit 
     in the Trust Fund an amount equal to 80 percent of all 
     administrative and civil penalties paid by responsible 
     parties after the date of enactment of this title in 
     connection with the explosion on, and sinking of, the mobile 
     offshore drilling unit Deepwater Horizon pursuant to a court 
     order, negotiated settlement, or other instrument in 
     accordance with section 311 of the Federal Water Pollution 
     Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1321).
       (c) Expenditures.--Amounts in the Trust Fund, including 
     interest earned on advances to the Trust Fund and proceeds 
     from investment under subsection (d), shall be available, 
     pursuant to a future Act of Congress enacted after the date 
     of enactment of this Act--
       (1) for expenditure to restore the Gulf Coast region from 
     the Deepwater Horizon oil spill for undertaking projects and 
     programs in the Gulf Coast region that would restore

[[Page H831]]

     and protect the natural resources, ecosystems, fisheries, 
     marine and wildlife habitats, beaches, coastal wetlands, and 
     economy of the Gulf Coast region; and
       (2) solely to Gulf Coast States and coastal political 
     subdivisions to restore the ecosystems and economy of the 
     Gulf Coast region.
       (d) Investment.--Amounts in the Trust Fund shall be 
     invested in accordance with section 9702 of title 31, United 
     States Code, and any interest on, and proceeds from, any such 
     investment shall be available for expenditure in accordance 
     with this section.
       (e) Definitions.--In this section:
       (1) Coastal political subdivision.--The term ``coastal 
     political subdivision'' means any local political 
     jurisdiction that is immediately below the State level of 
     government, including a county, parish, or borough, with a 
     coastline that is contiguous with any portion of the United 
     States Gulf of Mexico.
       (2) Deepwater Horizon oil spill.--The term ``Deepwater 
     Horizon oil spill'' means the blowout and explosion of the 
     mobile offshore drilling unit Deepwater Horizon that occurred 
     on April 20, 2010, and resulting hydrocarbon releases into 
     the environment.
       (3) Gulf coast region.--The term ``Gulf Coast region'' 
     means--
       (A) in the Gulf Coast States, the coastal zones (as that 
     term is defined in section 304 of the Coastal Zone Management 
     Act of 1972 (16 U.S.C. 1453)) that border the Gulf of Mexico;
       (B) any adjacent land, water, and watersheds, that are 
     within 25 miles of those coastal zones of the Gulf Coast 
     States; and
       (C) all Federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico.
       (4) Gulf coast state.--The term ``Gulf Coast State'' means 
     any of the States of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, 
     Mississippi, and Texas.

  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 547, the gentleman 
from Louisiana (Mr. Scalise) and a Member opposed each will control 5 
minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Louisiana.
  Mr. SCALISE. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  As we approach the 2-year anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon 
disaster, my amendment sets up the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund 
and requires that 80 percent of the Clean Water Act fines will be 
directed to the fund for the purposes of restoring the ecosystems and 
economies that were directly impacted by the oil spill.
  This amendment shares strong bipartisan support and is the first step 
in ensuring that the Gulf Coast States have the ability to recover from 
the largest environmental disaster in our country's history.
  Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Ms. CASTOR of Florida. Mr. Chairman, I claim the time in opposition 
to the amendment.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentlewoman is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Ms. CASTOR of Florida. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself 3 minutes.
  In the aftermath of the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster, a consensus 
was reached that 80 percent of the Clean Water Act fines and penalties 
that BP is required to pay because of the damage go to the gulf coast. 
President Obama has proposed this, a bipartisan group of lawmakers--
lawmakers on both sides of the aisle--agreed to this, a national 
commission recommended it, another national task force recommended it, 
businesses, environmentalists, we've all reached consensus that 80 
percent of the fines and penalties that BP will be required to pay for 
violating the Clean Water Act go to Gulf of Mexico recovery and 
research. But, see, Congress must pass a law to do this.
  Everyone has urged the Congress to act on this, but the Congress has 
not done so, unfortunately. As the cochair of the bipartisan Gulf Coast 
Caucus, I asked my colleagues not to let the effort languish any 
longer. The House should act expeditiously to do so and devote 80 
percent of the Deepwater Horizon fines and penalties to the Gulf of 
Mexico.
  Unfortunately, the Scalise amendment could be interpreted as an 
endorsement of a particular piece of legislation, the RESTORE Act. And 
while the RESTORE Act does devote 80 percent of the fines and penalties 
to the gulf coast, it is flawed in its current form and does not 
achieve meaningful recovery for the Gulf of Mexico. So while I urge my 
colleagues, reluctantly, to defeat this amendment, the time is now for 
the Congress to pass an 80 percent bill and focus on the economic and 
environmental recovery of the Gulf of Mexico.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. SCALISE. Mr. Chairman, I would remind my colleague from Florida 
that this legislation actually is the only instrument available that is 
germane to this legislation, that does direct 80 percent of those BP 
fines to the Gulf Coast States, as the President's commission and many 
others have called for who support our legislation, the RESTORE Act, by 
the way.
  With that, I yield 45 seconds to the gentleman from Florida (Mr. 
Miller).
  Mr. MILLER of Florida. I thank the gentleman from Louisiana for the 
time and for all he has done to bring this forward. I also want to 
thank all my colleagues from the gulf coast who fought so hard to make 
sure that this legislation came to the floor.
  I would say that, given the time that I have, this amendment is 
vital. It's important to not only the State of Florida but the entire 
gulf coast area because it will return a great portion of the fines 
that will ultimately be paid for the oil spill back to the gulf coast.
  The amendment is the first step in a very long process to make sure 
that BP and the other responsible parties are held responsible, and 
would start to restore the gulf coast from the damages that were 
suffered as a result of the worst oil spill in the history of the 
world. So I urge all my colleagues to support this amendment.
  Ms. CASTOR of Florida. Mr. Chairman, at this time I'm pleased to 
yield 2 minutes to our colleague from Louisiana (Mr. Richmond).
  Mr. RICHMOND. I thank the gentlewoman from Florida.
  I rise today in support of the amendment from my colleague from 
Louisiana (Mr. Scalise).
  I'd like to just remind the Chair that it was a little less than 2 
years ago that the Deepwater Horizon occurred and we lost 11 Americans. 
We lost the lives of 11 Americans, and over 200 million gallons of oil 
were spilled into the Gulf of Mexico.
  Also, when you look at the damage that occurred, you have to remember 
that the year of the spill our shrimp supply was down 37 percent, crab 
was down 39 percent. Every day, when a waitress or a waiter or a 
bartender went to work, they made less money, business owners were 
making less money to make ends meet, all because of the Deepwater 
Horizon oil spill.
  So what we want to make sure with this amendment is that those who 
suffered actually recoup the benefit of it so that they can protect 
their coast and make sure that they protect their citizens from future 
hurricanes--not only their citizens, but protect a big investment of 
this country.
  When we talk about our ports, when we talk about the oil and gas 
industry, I would just remind my colleagues that when Katrina happened, 
gas prices went up 48 cents around the country. That's because 
Louisiana was suffering, and we could not produce the oil and gas we 
normally produce.
  So this bill allows us to protect the coast, protect America's energy 
investment, and also make sure that we can save the lives of Louisiana 
citizens.
  The last thing that I will add is that we should not let the 200 
million gallons of oil and the 11 lives that were lost open up an 
opportunity for a windfall for the American treasury. We should make 
sure that these funds go exactly where they should go so that we can 
help the gulf coast, which is so vital to this country's energy 
independence and the seafood that we all enjoy.
  So I would again just say, Mr. Chairman, that I rise in support of 
the amendment. It's not perfect, it's not the end all, but this is the 
best way right now to make sure that the sentiment is established that 
80 percent of the fines should go to those coastal communities so that 
they can help their own recovery.
  Mr. SCALISE. Mr. Chairman, I yield 45 seconds to the distinguished 
gentleman from Alabama (Mr. Bonner).
  Mr. BONNER. I thank the gentleman for yielding.
  I'm pleased to join my colleagues today in support of this amendment.
  Let's be clear: Today's amendment, even if adopted, is not the end of 
our efforts to make the gulf coast whole after the tragic BP Deepwater 
Horizon oil spill almost 2 years ago. But make no mistake: This 
amendment is critically important as a step toward that end.
  The creation of the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund is absolutely 
essential if we're going to ensure that

[[Page H832]]

the penalties paid by BP and the other responsible parties are set 
aside for future expenditure to remediate the long-term environmental 
and economic damage done to each of the five Gulf Coast States.
  Mr. Chairman, the Federal Government should not benefit from the 
tragedy that occurred in our backyard. And I can't say enough, thanks 
to Chairman Hastings and his leadership for giving us this opportunity 
with this amendment for this broader effort.
  I urge adoption of the amendment.
  Ms. CASTOR of Florida. I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. SCALISE. At this point, Mr. Chairman, I would like to yield 45 
seconds to the gentleman from Mississippi (Mr. Palazzo).
  Mr. PALAZZO. I thank my colleague from Louisiana for yielding.
  Mr. Chairman, nearly 2 years ago, the Deepwater Horizon explosion 
took the lives of 11 Americans--and four of those were Mississippians--
and caused an oil spill of epic proportions. For 86 days, millions of 
barrels of oil gushed into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, washed up 
on our beaches, and threatened the ecosystems and the economic 
stability of an entire region of the country.
  The road to recovery for the gulf coast has been a long one, and it's 
not over. With this amendment, we take a huge step forward in making 
things right for those most devastated by this spill. These fines are 
not taxpayer funds. The Federal Government, as my colleague from 
Alabama said, should not profit from the gulf coast's pain and 
suffering.
  At a time when Congress agrees on so little, this effort has broad 
bipartisan support in both Houses of Congress, and external, too--
conservation and sportsmen. Many agree that restoring and replenishing 
the gulf coast is more than a responsible decision; it is the right 
thing to do.
  Ms. CASTOR of Florida. Mr. Chairman, I continue to reserve the 
balance of my time.
  Mr. SCALISE. Mr. Chairman, at this time I would like to yield 45 
seconds to the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Southerland).
  Mr. SOUTHERLAND. I'd like to thank the gentleman from Louisiana for 
yielding. I also would like to commend him on his leadership regarding 
the work that we have performed on this bipartisan effort to really 
restore the Gulf of Mexico.
  The five States that were affected most, their Representatives here--
many who have already spoken today--have worked extremely hard to make 
sure that the Federal Government never profits from the pain and 
suffering of those who call the Gulf of Mexico and the gulf coast their 
home.
  This has been a wonderful experience to work across the aisle with 
many who understand how critical it is that we take care of the 
hardworking men and women along the gulf coast. I just urge approval 
and passage of this amendment.

                              {time}  1650

  Ms. CASTOR of Florida. I continue to reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. SCALISE. Can I inquire the balance of the time, Mr. Chairman.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman has 1\3/4\ minutes remaining.
  Mr. SCALISE. I yield 45 seconds to the gentleman from Texas (Mr. 
Olson).
  Mr. OLSON. Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of the amendment 
introduced by my friend and colleague on the Energy and Commerce 
Committee, the gentleman from Louisiana.
  In April of 2011, the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded, killing 11 
workers and starting the worst oil spill in U.S. history.
  While the whole Nation suffered, the five Gulf States were 
particularly hard hit. Each of our five States suffered differing 
damages. A moratorium was ordered that sent U.S. jobs overseas with the 
rigs that went overseas. Tourism on some of our most pristine beaches 
was lost; the shrimping and fishing industries were unable to bring 
their catches home.
  While the RESTORE Act will not replace the lives lost, it will ensure 
that the five States most impacted by the spill get their fair share of 
the compensation for our damages.
  I urge my colleagues to support this amendment and come back to the 
gulf.
  Ms. CASTOR of Florida. I continue to reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. SCALISE. I am prepared to close, Mr. Chairman, so I would reserve 
and allow the gentlelady from Florida to close.
  Ms. CASTOR of Florida. Mr. Chairman, I am very pleased to see so much 
bipartisan support for legislation to devote 80 percent of the fines 
and penalties under the Clean Water Act from the BP Deepwater Horizon 
disaster to the Gulf of Mexico. And I reluctantly have to oppose this 
amendment because the amendment is entitled RESTORE, and that is one of 
the pieces of legislation that, on the one hand, does devote 80 percent 
but, on the other, is completely flawed; and so for that reason, I'm 
going to have to urge everyone to vote ``no.''
  But let's not lose momentum here. Let's redouble our efforts in this 
Congress as soon as possible to pass legislation that does devote 80 
percent of the fines and penalties to the Gulf of Mexico.
  The problems with the RESTORE Act are many. It does not focus on 
gulf-wide research and recovery. It does not devote the kind of 
resources to long-term monitoring in the Gulf of Mexico that many other 
areas in America enjoy. It potentially will duplicate the natural 
resource damage-assessment billions flowing to the impacted areas.
  For those reasons, I urge a ``no'' vote.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. SCALISE. Mr. Chairman, I want to thank the chairman of the 
Natural Resources Committee, Mr. Hastings, for his support and help on 
this.
  Despite the gentlelady from Florida's comments, the RESTORE Act 
actually has a broad range of support, not only from over 30 Members of 
Congress from both sides of the aisle, but also from numerous outside 
groups, both on the environmental side and on the business side.
  I will include in the Record all of these letters from various 
business and environmental groups in support of the RESTORE Act.
  This amendment is a crucial first step towards ensuring that 80 
percent of the BP Clean Water Act fines will be dedicated to help Gulf 
Coast States, and especially our fragile ecosystems along coastal 
Louisiana, to fully recover from the Deepwater Horizon disaster.
  Just the other day, parish president Billy Nungesser from Plaquemines 
Parish brought me these pictures that were taken just 2\1/2\ weeks ago 
from south Plaquemines' inner marsh where you can still see clearly 
dead turtles and oil in the marsh. We're going to be dealing with these 
impacts for years to come, Mr. Chairman, and we've seen from other 
disasters that the proper way to do this is by setting aside those 
funds to make sure that BP, the responsible parties, not the Federal 
Government, pay to restore that damage.

                                            The Associated General


                                       Contractors of America,

                                  Arlington, VA, October 17, 2011.
     Re H.R. 3096, the Gulf Coast Restoration Act.

     The Hon. Steve Scalise,
     House of Representatives,
     Washington, DC.
       Dear Representative Scalise: The Associated General 
     Contractors of America (AGC) would like to thank you for 
     supporting the recovery of the Gulf Coast region by 
     introducing H.R. 3096, the Gulf Coast Restoration Act. This 
     legislation will ensure that the penalties the federal 
     government is owed are distributed in the best interest of 
     the coastal communities.
       Under current law, the penalties acquired from BP and other 
     responsible parties would go into the U.S. Treasury and the 
     needed Gulf Coast restoration would receive no direct relief 
     from these penalties. This legislation would ensure the vast 
     majority of all civil penalties paid by BP or any other 
     responsible party in connection with the Deepwater Horizon 
     spill would be divided among the five Gulf Coast states most 
     impacted by the spill.
       AGC is encouraged this legislation would promote the long-
     term ecological and economic recovery of the Gulf Coast 
     region through the funding of infrastructure projects, 
     including coastal flood protection, directly affected by 
     coastal wetland losses, beach erosion, or the impacts of the 
     Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
       Once again, thank you for your efforts to address the 
     environmental and economic impacts of the Deepwater Horizon 
     oil spill, by providing recovery hinds to ensure the 
     restoration of the natural resources in the Gulf Coast 
     region.
           Sincerely,

                                       Marco A. Giamberardino,

                                      Senior Director, Federal and
                                      Heavy Construction Division.

[[Page H833]]

     
                                  ____
                                         Partners for Stennis,

                              Bay St. Louis, MS, October 26, 2011.
     Re Support for S. 1400 and H.R. 3096, the RESTORE Act.

     Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid,
     522 Hart Senate Office Bldg, Washington, DC.
     Speaker John Boehner,
      H 232, U.S. Capitol, Washington, DC.
     Majority Leader Eric Cantor,
     H 329, U.S. Capitol, Washington, DC.
     Chairman Doc Hastings,
     Committee on Natural Resources, Washington, DC.
     Chairman John Mica,
     Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Washington, 
         DC.
     Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell,
     317 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington, DC.
     Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi,
     H 204, U.S. Capitol, Washington, DC.
     Minority Whip Steny Hoyer,
     1705 Longworth House Office Building, Washington, DC.
     Ranking Member Ed Markey,
     Committee on Natural Resources, Washington, DC.
     Ranking Member Nick Rahall,
     Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Washington, 
         DC.
       Dear Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senate Minority 
     Leader Mitch McConnell, Speaker John Boehner, Minority Leader 
     Nancy Pelosi, Majority Leader Eric Cantor,  Minority Whip 
     Steny Hoyer, Chairman Doc Hastings, Ranking Member Ed Markey, 
      Chairman John Mica, and Ranking Member Nick Rahall: The 
     undersigned organization enthusiastically support S. 1400 and 
     H.R. 3096, also known as the RESTORE Act, authored by Senator 
     Mary Landrieu, Senator Thad Cochran, Senator Kay Bailey 
     Hutchison, Senator Bill Nelson, Senator Marco Rubio, Senator 
     Jeff Sessions, Senator Richard Shelby, Senator David Vitter, 
     Senator Roger Wicker, Congressman Steve Scalise, Congressman 
     Jo Bonner, Congressman Jeff Miller, Congressman Steve 
     Southerland, Congressman Steven Palazzo, Congressman Pete 
     Olson and other Gulf Coast members. While we recognize that 
     the bills have minor differences, the concept of dedicating 
     at least 80% of BP penalties paid under the Clean Water Act 
     to Gulf Coast states to invest in the long-term health of the 
     coastal ecosystem and its economies provides targeted 
     environmental and economic recovery to the region affected 
     most by the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.
       The penalties that will be assessed exist because of damage 
     inflicted on the Gulf Coast states by the responsible 
     parties. When these penalties and the Oil Spill Liability 
     Trust Fund were created years ago, a spill the magnitude of 
     the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill could not have been 
     anticipated. It only makes sense that the majority of the 
     fines that will be assessed should be directed to the Gulf 
     Coast to help these states recover as they deal with the 
     long-term impacts of the oil spill.
       It is not an exaggeration to say that our region's future--
     economic and otherwise--depends on the restoration of our 
     ecosystems. But even more importantly, the Gulf Coast 
     provides this nation with economic and energy security. 
     Between hosting some of the highest producing ports, a large 
     majority of the oil and gas production in America, and many 
     of the nation's fisheries and top tourism destinations, the 
     Gulf Coast and its sustainability is clearly crucial to the 
     strength of the nation's economy. The Gross Domestic Product 
     (GDP) of the five states of the Gulf Coast region was almost 
     $2.4 trillion in 2009, representing 30% of the nation's GDP. 
     The Gulf Coast states, if considered an individual country, 
     would rank 7th in global GDP. Failure to restore the Gulf 
     Coast puts our national economy at risk, and with the region 
     still recovering from the effects of the oil spill, we urge 
     you to move the RESTORE Act forward as quickly as possible.
       In fact, NASA's Stennis Space Center on the Mississippi 
     Gulf Coast is a federal city uniquely suited to host coastal 
     restoration and recovery efforts. Many of the key federal 
     players involved in response to the Deepwater Horizon oil 
     spill are located at Stennis including the Naval 
     Oceanographic Office, NOAA, EPA Gulf of Mexico Program, USGS 
     along with several state universities. The synergy realized 
     from the multiagency arrangement coupled with the resident 
     technical expertise and geographic location, make Stennis 
     Space Center the best choice to serve as the Headquarters to 
     insure a healthy and resilient Gulf of Mexico.
       We believe that enacting the RESTORE Act is vital to the 
     environmental and economic recovery of a region still dealing 
     with the devastating impact of this disaster. We urge Members 
     in the House and Senate to join our support of the RESTORE 
     Act and look forward to working with you to move this 
     legislation forward.
           Sincerely,
                                                 Tish H. Williams,
     Executive Director Partners for Stennis.
                                  ____

                                         U.S. Chamber of Commerce,


                             Congressional and Public Affairs,

                                Washington, DC, February 15, 2012.
       To the Members of the House of Representatives: The U.S. 
     Chamber of Commerce strongly supports the transportation 
     infrastructure reauthorization legislation that the House has 
     begun to consider. This package of bills, H.R. 7, H.R. 3408 
     and H.R. 3813, would reinvest in domestic transportation 
     infrastructure, and would help enhance U.S. energy policy by 
     expanding domestic energy production; long term revenues from 
     increased exploration would help ensure long term 
     transportation funding. The Chamber urges you to strongly 
     support this legislation, and urges you to oppose any 
     amendments that would weaken it.
       H.R. 7 is a responsible infrastructure investment bill that 
     would extensively reform transportation programs, would make 
     states more accountable for how federal funds are spent, 
     would speed project delivery to reduce overall costs, would 
     provide greater opportunities for private sector investment, 
     and does not contain earmarks. Specifically, the bill would 
     provide for:
       Modernization and maintenance of highway, transit and 
     intermodal assets identified as being in the national 
     interest;
       Continuing a federal role in ensuring a comprehensive, 
     results-oriented approach to safety;
       Focusing on freight to ensure adequate capacity, reduce 
     congestion and increase throughput at key choke points;
       Supporting congestion mitigation and improved mobility in 
     urban areas;
       Supporting rural connectivity to major economic and 
     population centers;
       Speeding project delivery;
       Consolidating and simplifying the federal program 
     structure;
       Increasing accountability for investment of public funds 
     and expanding performance management;
       Supporting research and development toward application of 
     improved technologies; and
       Enhancing opportunities for the private sector to partner 
     with the public sector on infrastructure projects.
       Although the Chamber believes that the necessary revenues 
     for transportation infrastructure projects should come from a 
     user-fee based source structured to ensure that the 
     purchasing power of revenue sources keeps pace with inflation 
     and is sustainable and predictable, the Chamber recognizes 
     that such an approach lacks consensus in this Congress.
       Therefore, the Chamber believes it would be appropriate for 
     Congress to employ general fund resources, including spending 
     reductions, rescissions of authority and other savings 
     measures, to move forward with a multi-year bill and the much 
     needed policy and funding certainty to the states, locals and 
     the private sector provided in this legislation.
       The Chamber remains very concerned with provisions of the 
     bill that would make changes to how transit programs are 
     funded. Unfortunately, such provisions of the bill would 
     create uncertainty and put current and future public 
     transportation investments in jeopardy. We look forward to 
     working with the House, Senate and Administration as the 
     legislative process continues to ensure that transit is 
     provided sustainable and dedicated long term funding levels.
       The energy components of the legislation would create long-
     term jobs and help expand long-term domestic energy security 
     and energy production. These provisions fully restore access 
     to America's offshore oil and gas resources, a move that 
     could provide hundreds of thousands of additional new jobs, 
     hundreds of billions of dollars in cumulative additional 
     revenue for the government, and several million additional 
     barrels oil equivalent per day. The legislation would 
     establish clear rules for the production of domestic oil 
     shale and would remove regulatory barriers that are 
     preventing development of one of America's greatest strategic 
     and economic assets. Furthermore, by opening less than three 
     percent of the North Slope of Alaska to environmentally 
     responsible oil and gas exploration, this legislation would 
     help prolong the life of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System by 
     ensuring that oil continues to flow through the pipeline 
     while creating important jobs in Alaska and throughout the 
     country. In all, the enerv provisions of the legislation 
     would create jobs while adding more stability to energy 
     supplies, a true ``win-win'' scenario for American consumers.
       The Chamber strongly supports efforts by Congress to undo 
     President Obama's rejection of the vital Keystone XL project. 
     This legislation would be an important step towards approval 
     of the proposed 1,600 mile Keystone XL pipeline, which would 
     deliver more than 700,000 barrels of oil per day from 
     Alberta, Canada, through Cushing, Oklahoma, to Gulf Coast 
     refineries. The $7 billion project is expected to create a 
     more than 20,000 jobs during the manufacturing and 
     construction phases of the project. The pipeline would also 
     reduce need for foreign oil imports from less stable regions 
     of the world. In addition, Keystone XL would provide much 
     need supply distribution infrastructure for American domestic 
     energy producers in the Upper Northwest/Bakken region and in 
     the Southwest.
       The Chamber strongly opposes any amendment that would bar 
     exports of petroleum that would pass through the Keystone XL 
     pipeline, or any product refined from such crude. First, such 
     an amendment is unnecessary. Virtually all of the crude that 
     would travel through the Keystone XL pipeline would be 
     refined at American refineries by American workers. Congress 
     should support--not hamper--these American energy workers. 
     Second, such a law would violate commitments the United 
     States has undertaken as a member of the World Trade 
     Organization (WTO). In fact, the United States recently 
     challenged China's export restraints

[[Page H834]]

     on certain raw materials at the WTO, and the United States 
     won a clear victory in the case. Restricting the re-export of 
     crude or refined product from Keystone XL would violate the 
     same WTO rules.
       The U.S. has just begun reversing a two-decade-long decline 
     in energy independence by increasing the proportion of demand 
     met by utilizing all domestic energy sources. America needs a 
     comprehensive energy policy that takes advantage of all 
     domestic energy resources. The Chamber applauds the House for 
     considering legislation that expands production and 
     transmission of oil and natural gas in this infrastructure 
     legislation. At the same time, we encourage the House to also 
     focus on legislation that expands the development of all 
     other domestic energy sources, including coal and renewables.
       The Chamber strongly opposes any amendment to the 
     transportation and energy portions of this legislation that 
     would seek to impose ``Buy America'' like provisions. Such 
     provisions would have the unintended consequence of delaying 
     the implementation of job-creating projects and greatly 
     diminish competition and efficiency in the contracting 
     process. The direct result would be delayed projects, fewer 
     projects funded, and fewer Americans put back to work. The 
     United States already imposes significant ``Buy America'' 
     requirements at the federal level that restrict access to 
     procurement markets for countries that have not opened their 
     procurement markets to our exporters, in accordance with the 
     multilateral Government Procurement Agreement. There is no 
     need to expand ``Buy America'' provisions--doing so would be 
     highly counterproductive, particularly for industry sectors 
     hard hit by the recession.
       Additionally, the Chamber supports an amendment offered by 
     Rep. Scalise, which is based on the bipartisan RESTORE Act. 
     This amendment would provide much needed funding to economic 
     and ecosystem restoration efforts in the Gulf Coast solely 
     through the dedication of Clean Water Act penalties collected 
     from the parties responsible for the Deepwater Horizon oil 
     spill.
       The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world's largest business 
     federation representing the interests of more than three 
     million members and organizations of every size, sector, and 
     region, strongly supports H.R. 7, H.R. 3408 and H.R. 3813. 
     The Chamber will consider including votes on, or in relation 
     to, this legislation in our annual How They Voted scorecard.
           Sincerely,
     R. Bruce Josten.
                                  ____

     To: Member of Congress.
     From: Environmental Defense Fund, National Audubon Society, 
         National Wildlife Federation, The Nature Conservancy, 
         Oxfam America, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, 
         Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation.
     Date: February 16, 2012.
     Re Urgent information regarding Gulf Coast Restoration.

       Dear Member of Congress: A very important vote is scheduled 
     this afternoon that could begin critical restoration needed 
     on the Gulf Coast. Reps. Scalise (R-La.) Richmond (D-La.), 
     Bonner (R-Ala.), Miller (R-Fla.), Palazzo (R-Miss.), Olson 
     (R-TX) and Southerland (R-Fla.) will introduce an amendment 
     that sets aside Deepwater Horizon penalty money that is 
     necessary for restoring the Gulf Coast's fragile and damaged 
     ecosystems. We urge you to vote YES on this amendment.
       Gulf Coast ecologies are unique and support a wide range of 
     valuable economic activities. After decades of damage--
     coupled with the impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill--
     restoration in the Gulf is essential. The Scalise amendment 
     would dedicate penalty money from the oil spill to a trust 
     fund, subject to further legislation directing the 
     expenditure of these funds. Separating and securing the money 
     is an important first step.
       Subsequent legislation will need to establish an effective 
     governance structure which will dedicate significant funds 
     specifically for restoration, protect vulnerable communities 
     and place appropriate limits on the use of funds beyond 
     ecological restoration. Further, restoration funds will be 
     subjected to appropriate operational and spending roles for 
     federal, state, and local partners.
       We look forward to working to ensure that the implementing 
     legislation achieves these goals. In the meantime, please 
     establish the trust fund that will allow the Gulf Coast to 
     begin critical restoration. Vote YES on the Scalise 
     amendment.
           Sincerely,
     Environmental Defense Fund.
     National Audubon Society.
     National Wildlife Federation.
     The Nature Conservancy.
     Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation.
     Oxfam America.
     Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana.
                                  ____

                                      The American Shore and Beach


                                     Preservation Association,

                             Caswell Beach, NC, February 16, 2012.
     Hon. John A. Boehner,
     Speaker, House of Representatives,
     Washington, DC.
     Hon. Nancy Pelosi,
     Minority Leader, House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
       Dear Speaker Boehner and Minority Leader Pelosi: The 
     American Shore and Beach Preservation Association (ASBPA) is 
     composed of elected officials from coastal communities 
     throughout the nation, as well as a large contingent of 
     coastal engineers, researchers, scientists, and regulators. 
     Together, we are committed to promoting the health of our 
     country's coastal resources, which play a critical role in 
     perpetuating a robust economy, job creation, and 
     environmental well-being. On behalf of our members, I ask 
     that you support the timely passage of the RESTORE the Gulf 
     Coast States Act (H.R. 3096).
       By allocating eighty percent of the Clean Water Act 
     penalties to the five Gulf Coast States, the RESTORE Act 
     creates an essential framework to manage and finance the 
     economic and ecological recovery for years to come. Many 
     communities and businesses are still struggling nearly two 
     years after the spill began and experts fear that the total 
     damage from the spill will not be known for at least a 
     decade. Like the rest of our nation's coastline, the Gulf 
     Coast is comprised of vibrant and productive communities, as 
     well as sensitive ecosystems that have been severely damaged. 
     We believe that this bill balances both the ecological and 
     economic interests of comprehensive restoration.
       ASBPA recognizes that the RESTORE Act does not affect 
     collected tax dollars because the Act will only use fines 
     paid by BP and other responsible parties. We do not think 
     that the federal government should profit off of the 
     suffering of the Gulf Coast region, especially when many 
     communities and businesses are not yet back on their feet. A 
     recent study by Duke University shows that the funds from the 
     RESTORE Act will benefit at least 140 firms with 400 
     employees in thirty-seven states.
       Recent news reports indicate that BP and the federal 
     government are likely to settle litigation addressing the 
     2010 Gulf oil spill. If Congress does not immediately take 
     decisive action before any potential settlement occurs, the 
     economic opportunities created by RESTORE Act could be lost 
     entirely. We urge you to take immediate steps to pass the 
     RESTORE Act, so that the BP oil spill penalties can go where 
     they belong: to ecosystem and economic recovery for the 
     States and communities harmed by the worst environmental 
     disaster in U.S. history.
           Sincerely,
                                                    Harry Simmons,
                                                        President.

  I urge support of this amendment, and I yield back the balance of my 
time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from Louisiana (Mr. Scalise).
  The amendment was agreed to.
  Mr. HASTINGS of Washington. 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. 
Denham) having assumed the chair, Mr. Woodall, Acting Chair 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. 3408) to 
set clear rules for the development of United States oil shale 
resources, to promote shale technology research and development, and 
for other purposes, had come to no resolution thereon.

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