(House of Representatives - November 13, 2007)

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[Pages H13841-H13846]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

                        AMERICA'S ENERGY CRISIS

  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Perlmutter). Under the Speaker's 
announced policy of January 18, 2007, the gentleman from Pennsylvania 
(Mr. Peterson) is recognized for 60 minutes.
  Mr. PETERSON of Pennsylvania. Mr. Speaker, I rise once again on this 
House floor to talk about an issue that I think is the most important 
issue that this Congress should be dealing with and that this 
administration should be dealing with.
  Six short years ago, we had $2 natural gas and $16 oil. Most of our 
lifetime we have had gas that was less than $2 per thousand and oil 
that was around $8, $9, or $10 a barrel. That is how America grew, 
cheap, affordable energy. Now, we have lots of other sources of energy, 
coal, hydro, wind, solar, renewables of all kinds, but the majority of 
our transportation fuel has always been oil. Four weeks ago, I rose to 
speak on this House floor. Oil was $82, and most of us were panicked. 
Can our economy handle $82 oil?
  Just a few months ago, I met with an Assistant Secretary of State 
whose role is to deal with energy. He shared

[[Page H13842]]

with me that he and many of his colleagues felt that $70 to $75 oil 
would really put us in recession because the economy could not absorb 
those costs. It didn't. Then, we were at $82. Two weeks ago, we were at 
$90.92. Last week we were at $94.53. And, at one point it was 98-
something. Today it is $91.92. Can America's economy continue to afford 
$90 to $100 oil? I think there are many who are very concerned.
  I know that the poorest among us, the average American who spends 
every dollar they earn every week, and sometimes with the use of a 
credit card maybe a couple dollars they didn't earn that week hoping to 
catch up later. And with the winter heating season coming on, you would 
think this body and someone would be debating energy. Four weeks ago, 
there was no energy debate on this floor; three weeks ago, there was no 
energy debate on this floor; last week, there was no energy debate on 
this floor. And there is a little rumble that there could be an energy 
debate on this floor, but most people don't think so.
  Record high heating oil prices; winter is coming. Record high diesel 
prices for our truckers who move our goods across this country; winter 
is coming. Gas prices are on the rise. We have a mortgage crisis, 
everybody is talking about it. Is the mortgage crisis equal on the 
impact on America that high energy prices will have? No. Is it 
important? Yes. No discussion about energy for America.
  We passed a House bill some time ago. They passed a Senate bill some 
time ago. No conference committee has met. We have heard rumblings that 
a few staffs have met, but no sense of urgency.
  I cannot understand for one minute why energy isn't the number one 
issue facing this Congress, available, affordable energy to maintain 
our economic base, people to heat their homes, people to drive to work, 
and to have a few dollars left for food.

                              {time}  2215

  Now, we've done a few things. The Speaker sometime a few months back 
made a declaration that we would stop heating a portion of the complex 
here with coal and we would use natural gas. And that was because of 
the concern of the carbon, the CO2, the carbon footprint.
  Now, we didn't do anything to put double pane glass in any of the 
windows in the Capitol or all the surrounding office buildings. They're 
all single pane. I'm not saying it was right or wrong to switch to 
natural gas. It costs the taxpayers another $3 to $4 million. But it 
didn't do anything to conserve energy. We could have put double pane 
glass on all the buildings in the complex and saved millions of dollars 
in energy for America.
  Oh, we also mandated with recent legislation that all bulbs in the 
Capitol complex will be the new fluorescent bulb that screws in. I have 
some of those at home. My wife doesn't like them. I don't like them in 
a place where I read a lot. They're not quite as clear, bright, and 
some of them buzz, vibrate a little.
  But the unfortunate part is we mandated them here; those are all made 
in China. No American jobs. And I have the largest incandescent light 
bulb plant left in my district in St. Mary's, Pennsylvania.
  What are others doing about energy? Well, the one that's leading the 
world in the fight for energy is China. They're building a coal 
electric plant every 5 days. They're building a nuclear plant every 
month. They're building the largest hydro-dams in the world as we 
speak. They're buying up rights to oil and gas and other forms of 
energy all over the world. In fact, they've just developed a pact with 
Cuba. Less than 50 miles off the Florida coast, with Norway and Canada 
and a number of other partners, they're going to be producing oil and 
gas right off our coast, while we prohibit offshore drilling.
  China and India, the two new giants that are our competition, are 
increasing their energy use between 15 and 20 percent annually, and 
they're out securing it. In fact, that's the real reason for the price 
  I have a chart here that shows, that I've been using for the last 6 
to 8 months and no longer does it work. It doesn't go high enough; 90's 
up in here. So I'm going to take it down because really it's no longer 
  Now, here's what's happened in just a year. In 11 months we've gone 
from $58.31 to a high of $96.65 on the day this was used in a press 
conference last week. It actually hit 90-some later that day. But no 
energy around here about doing something about energy. I find it 
  What does America want Congress to do? They want available, 
affordable energy to heat their homes, to run their vehicles, and to 
power the places they work. Companies who make steel use a lot of 
energy. Companies who make aluminum use a lot of energy. 
Petrochemicals, polymers and plastics, 45 to 55 percent of the cost of 
all of them is energy. Fertilizer that we grow our corn and our wheat 
and our crops with, 70 percent of the cost is natural gas, energy.
  And while we have these skyrocketing prices that have Americans 
afraid because this $90 oil is not $3.09 gasoline, which is the price 
at the pump where I buy, it will soon be $3.39, $3.49, $3.59. In some 
parts of the country it already is.
  This spring we had $3.09 gasoline with $63 oil. How did that happen?
  Well, oil companies don't set the price. We like to blame them, but 
they don't set the price. Wall Street sets the price. And there was a 
shortage of gasoline because Americans don't realize it, but we don't 
produce enough gasoline in America for Americans.
  Twenty percent of our gasoline now comes from Europe. Europe has an 
excess of gasoline because they switched to diesel in their cars. Many 
of their cars and trucks are diesel so they have an excess capacity of 
gasoline, so they ship it over here in ships.
  This spring they used more than usual, for some reason, and they 
didn't have enough to supply us, so we had a gasoline shortage in 
Europe and America, and the prices were extremely high. And so with $63 
oil we had $3.09 gasoline. So you don't have to be a very good 
mathematician to know that $92, $95, $96 oil doesn't equate to $3.09 
again. It'll be much higher. It's just a matter of a few days and weeks 
until that little extra gasoline that's in the marketplace from the 
summer gets utilized.
  Well, what is Congress doing?
  Let's take a look at not what should we be doing, but what are we 
doing. And we're not even meeting on this for some reason. Maybe that's 
good. Many of us stood on this House floor a few months back and 
debated this energy bill and tried to get amendments into this bill, 
but it was pretty well locked up. There were very few chances for 
amendment in the energy debate in Congress. But here's what it does. It 
locks up 9 trillion cubic feet of American natural gas. That's the Roan 
Plateau, a huge clean natural gas fill in Colorado that was set aside 
as the oil shale reserves in 1912, because of its rich energy 
  And this legislation means that 9 trillion cubic feet of natural gas 
will not be available to us. It's already went through the NEPA. That's 
the environmental assessments. It's passed all those. It's ready for 
  This provision was not in the original bill, but it was stuck in at 
the last minute, in the dark of the night. Suddenly when the bill came 
to the floor, not from committee, but somewhere down the line, in Rules 
or somewhere else, they slipped this in and removed the best potential 
onshore gas for America from being able to be produced.
  The next part here is, I was responsible in the 2005 energy act for 
taking away redundant NEPA studies. NEPA studies are an important part 
of our environmental assessment for everything we do. It's about a 
year-long process. But abuse of the NEPA studies was to the point of 
where people would lease oil and gas in America and 5, 6, 7 years later 
we're still not able to produce it because of NEPA study after NEPA 
study. They do a NEPA study for the project, then they do a NEPA study 
for the roads, then they do a NEPA study for the well layout, and then 
a NEPA study for every well. And this process is a year-long process, a 
paperwork process that wasn't about the environment. It's about 
stopping the production of energy successfully. So we took away the 
redundant waste, and they want to put them back.
  The next one's probably the worst. There's huge reserves in the West 
called western oil shale. It's even

[[Page H13843]]

greater than in Canada's tar sands. This oil shale has up to 2 trillion 
barrels. Now, we need to figure out how to produce it environmentally 
in a sound fashion. There are companies preparing to do that. But this 
legislation would say no to shale oil.
  When we have $100 oil and we're dependent on foreign unstable 
countries for 66 percent of our oil, increasing 2 percent a year, and 
if this bill passes here, it'll be 3 percent a year or 4, why would we 
lock up the shale oil in the West? It makes no sense to me.
  National reserve in Alaska. Locking up another 10 billion barrels of 
oil. Making sense? No, it doesn't make sense. Alaska's a huge place. 
The Alaskans want to produce energy. We know how to produce energy 
cleanly today. But this bill that's been proposed in both the House and 
the Senate will remove.
  It also breaches contracts, which I think will lose in the courts.
  But the one down here that really makes no sense, and it's talking 
about taxing Big Oil. Big Oil produces a small percentage of our 
energy; 60, 70, 80 percent of our energy is produced by little 
companies. I have two refineries in my district, United Refinery in 
Warren, American Refiners in Bradford. This bill will force them to pay 
higher taxes than any other business in America. That will increase the 
price of energy, and when you make American production of energy more 
costly than offshore production of energy, you're going to get more 
foreign dependent. Does that make sense? I don't think so.
  Now, we were talking earlier tonight about how many times they've 
spent that in the appropriations process. I thought it was four or 
five. Someone said three or four. But many, many bills have been funded 
with this tax.
  Now, the next one does nothing for coal to liquids or coal to gas. 
Everybody knows I'm the big proponent of offshore, and I'm going to 
talk about it a little later. But there's huge potential in America of 
using coal in the traditional way, but also using coal to make liquids, 
jet fuel, gasoline, fuel oil, and coal to make gas. And some of the new 
processes, they want to make gas out of coal and then burn the cast to 
make electricity in a clean way. But to make that work, we've got to 
fund some of those and get them online, get the bugs out, help industry 
make this a productive way to use coal in a cleaner way for the 
environment. But there's great resistance in this Congress to do 
anything with coal because we're now in the carbon debate.
  Now, I guess, the carbon argument is still out there. Many Americans 
believe CO2 is a poisonous gas and it's causing global 
warming and it's a crisis. I think the crisis is available, affordable 
energy. And as we go coal to liquid or coal to gas, we can do it in a 
manner that deals with developing the process to make coal to liquids 
and coal to gas affordable and in a way that we capture the carbon and 
then use it in another form. That should all be part of the original 
projects. But, no, we're finding coal plants not permitted all over 
this country. They're closing the door on coal. And we are the Saudi 
Arabia of coal. In my view, they're really trying to eliminate coal as 
one of our energies. And as I'll show you later, that won't work.
  And then at the bottom down here, there's a mandate that's part of 
this legislation in the House version. And it sounds good. And I wish 
it was doable. And later on some charts I'll show you why it's not, 
that electricity, 15 percent of electricity being produced by 
renewables, but not allowed to count hydro. And as I show my charts 
later, I'll come back to that.
  But it doesn't appear in the next 30 years there's any way to do that 
yet. Twenty States have passed laws and Congress is wanting to pass one 
that will severely limit what can be counted, but forcing States to 
produce companies in the whole country to produce 15 percent of 
electricity from renewables, and if they don't accomplish that then 
they're going to be fined. And who's the fine going to be paid for? By 
the electric users. We're going to pay as we pay for more expensive 
electricity. But it'll still be generated the same old way.
  Now, if it was doable, I would say let's take the carrot-stick 
approach. Let's put some inducements, some incentives for producing 
electricity with renewables.
  Here's our current use of energy. And of course, petroleum, 40 
percent; natural gas, 23 percent; coal, 23 percent. Now, natural gas 
has had the fastest growth because about 12 years ago we took away the 
prohibition of using natural gas to make electricity. We didn't used to 
allow them to do that, only in the morning and the evening when you 
have that extra surge, when we're cooking and washing and doing the 
home duties and the factories are running too. We need more electricity 
than we do any other time of the day, so we had gas peaking plants 
because you can turn them off and you can turn them on.
  Seven or 8 percent of our electricity was natural gas. Now in a short 
period of time we're up to 23 percent, and that's why we have the 
highest natural gas prices in the world, which are driving major 
industries out of this country, and I'll talk about that a little more 
  Nuclear, 8 percent. We need all 35 plants that have asked for a 
permit to expand or build a new nuclear plant to be permitted and built 
in the next 20 years or this 8 percent figure will continue to shrink, 
because as electric use goes up, everything on here has to go up or 
that percentage will go down. We know hydro's going to go down because 
we sure aren't going to build another dam. In fact, they keep taking 
dams out. Biomass is the only one that's really shown some growth.

                              {time}  2230

  Biomass is woody waste, any kind of fiber, and what's really growing 
there is that wood waste used to be a throwaway item. Sawdust was 
something you just got rid of. Now it burns in factories to heat the 
factories. I come from a heavily wooded area, the best hardwood forest 
in America. We dry most of our wood now in the dry kilns with wood 
waste. And a million Americans are heating their homes with pellet 
stoves made out of dry sawdust. And they are trying to now the expand 
of the use of them into biomass stoves where any kind of waste material 
that can burn cleanly could be made into a pellet and can be burned 
like corn stoves. There are a lot of corn stoves now, but with the 
surge of ethanol, corn has become quite expensive and is no longer as 
viable a fuel as it was but it is still being used in biomass stoves 
and in corn stoves.
  Geothermal, not really much growth. A good, efficient way to heat a 
home. It's costly in the beginning. I know people who have used 
geothermal, and when they build a new home, they go with geothermal 
because they are familiar with it. And it is a less costly way to heat 
your home, especially in milder climates, than traditional fuels.
  Then we come to the hope of the future: wind and solar. Unfortunately 
for many, people think that the renewables here can trickle. They bring 
petroleum down, coal down, nuclear down. I wish that were true. But I 
will show you now the chart of what the Energy Department says about 
the future, and that's this chart in a different way because this chart 
is about history; this chart is about history and the future. The left 
half of this chart is history. There is a line here in the middle. This 
is use in the past; this is use in the future, projected.
  Now, I don't totally agree with the Energy Department. I think 
natural gas will grow and I think coal will decrease for the reasons I 
just mentioned. The carbon issue is going to decrease coal until we 
find clean ways to use coal, and we are working on those. But there is 
great resistance for coal. I don't agree with it. And there is a lot of 
reluctance in nuclear. I don't agree with that either because we need 
it too. But I look for natural gas to grow and oil probably to just 
chug along. Now, $95, $100, $120 oil may decrease oil, but I don't know 
what we are going to replace it with because we are not doing coal to 
liquids, which could replace oil. We are not going to run our cars with 
nuclear. We are not going to run them with hydro. We could run a lot of 
them with natural gas.
  Natural gas, in my view, is the fuel, the clean, green fuel, that's 
underestimated in this country. And we cannot ever be in control of our 
oil needs. We don't have enough. But natural gas we have lots of. And 
we will talk now about how we have locked it up.
  First, I want to talk about what natural gas prices have done to 
manufacturing, manufacturing employment. As

[[Page H13844]]

gas prices have risen, manufacturing has decreased. Natural gas is the 
fuel that we use to run this country. And for the last number of years, 
we have had the highest natural gas prices in the world.
  Here is how fast they have risen. And now we are back up between $7 
and $8. During the winter, we will be back to $8 and $9. Now, that's 
from the well head; that's not the price people pay. So these figures 
are costs from out of the ground. But America's natural gas prices, 
historically we were down here under $2, and we were very competitive 
in the world. But in these years since this rise, we have not been 
competitive. And in China and India natural gas prices are half of 
ours. And South America, a buck something; Russia, less than a dollar. 
Our competition in the global marketplace have much cheaper natural gas 
prices. And that's a problem for America. Here's the reason why:
  Now, there is also a chart I have. I don't have it with me, with some 
big circles in here, and these are areas where there are lots of gas 
and oil. But they are locked up. Why? We are the only country in the 
world that has chosen to lock up our gas and oil. The only country in 
the world, offshore and onshore. Even with $95 oil and $8 and $9 gas, 
we're locking it up.
  Twenty-seven years ago, Congress, in its wisdom, prohibited the 
production of energy offshore in these areas. Canada produces, Great 
Britain produces, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Australia, New Zealand, all 
environmentally sensitive countries, they produce offshore. We talk 
about Brazil being energy independent because of ethanol. Ethanol was 
just a piece of it. They also went out offshore and produced oil and 
gas and became energy independent, and they don't have to buy this 
expensive energy from anybody. They have their own.
  America could be self-sufficient on natural gas. We could fuel a 
third of our auto fleet, all short-haul vehicles, all short-haul 
trucks, all construction vehicles if it was affordable, more affordable 
than oil and gasoline. It is cleaner burning, no SO2, no 
NOX, a third of the CO2, if that's giving you 
gray hair. But for some reason, here's what natural gas is used for. 
People just have no idea. And ladies, natural gas is the derivative of 
the skin softeners we all love. I have dry skin. I use skin softeners 
on my hands every day. I inherited that from my father. All of these 
products, natural gas is not only used to make them; it's an 
ingredient: polymers, plastics, tires, carpet. Look at these products. 
Insulation in our houses. Huge amounts of natural gas. Feedstocks, 
ethane, propane, butane to make steam, to make power. All of these are 
feedstocks. And if we go to our hydrogen society, which we are all 
hopeful in hydrogen, how do we make hydrogen? The only way we have 
portable to make it is from natural gas.
  Natural gas should be the bridge to America's renewable future. 
Natural gas is the clean fuel. And for us to lock our supply of natural 
gas in this country up makes no public policy sense. Natural gas has 
never washed up on a shore. We had an oil spill in San Francisco. It 
wasn't an oil well; it was a ship. There are ships everywhere that 
could spill oil. Every moving ship in the waterways, on a lake, a 
river, a dam, or the ocean spill oil from their engines every day. But 
we won't drill for it and we won't drill for clean natural gas that 
doesn't have oil, that isn't oil. I think we should be producing both. 
But natural gas is the vital part of our future.
  We have a bill that we now have 170-some sponsors for but have not 
been able to get it considered yet. Now, our bill is a bill that gives 
a lot of States rights. Our bill will say the first 25 miles, and I 
don't theoretically agree with it, but I have agreed with it to try to 
get it passed, the first 25 miles is closed, period. You only can see 
11 or 12, so nobody is ever going to see a gas well. The next 25 miles 
it is up to the States. They choose whether they want to produce 
energy. Their legislature decides. If they want out under the 
moratorium, they can choose to be out. The second 50 mile is 
automatically open, but, again, States have a right to pass a bill and 
have it signed by their Governor to keep it locked up. So Congress 
could open it, but they can close it back up with just a State-passed 
legislation. Then the second 100 miles, the OCS, Outer Continental 
Shelf, is from 3 miles, which is now controlled by the States, to 200 
miles. I'm giving the States total control of the first 25 and saying 
you can't drill. The second 25, you can drill if you have the wisdom 
to. And the second 50, you can drill unless you have the foolish 
attitude that you don't want to produce natural gas.

  This bill would bring in billions to producing States because of the 
royalties, $100 billion for the Treasury. Now, we have set-aside funds. 
We talk about renewable energy. This bill, the NEED Act, would put $32 
billion in the coffers for energy research, clean, green energy 
research; $32 billion for carbon capture and sequestration research to 
teach us how to burn coal and other fuels and capture the carbon. This 
isn't talk. This is real money that would put $32 billion to research 
  And we have some spoils of the past that we need to clean up. They 
have been trying for a long time to get $20 billion to clean up 
Chesapeake Bay. This bill would provide it. There is $20 billion for 
Great Lakes restoration because when we first started this country, we 
used the Great Lakes as a depository for our waste of all kinds. Wrong. 
We don't do that anymore. This would give them the money they have been 
looking for for the Great Lakes group to clean up. And $12 billion for 
Everglades restoration. I saw a complaint the other day that this 
year's bill didn't give the Everglades as much as usual. This would 
give them mandatory spending right out of the energy bill. Also, $12 
billion for the Colorado basin restoration, $12 billion for the San 
Francisco Bay cleanup, and $10 billion for LIHEAP and weatherization. 
You haven't heard any energy debates on this floor, but I'm going to 
tell you in a few weeks when people start paying high energy bills to 
heat their homes, you're going to hear a lot of LIHEAP debates on this 
bill where people are going to say $2 billion isn't enough, $3 billion 
isn't enough, $4 billion isn't enough. We need more money because 
people can't heat their homes. They can't heat their homes because 
Congress has locked up energy and caused energy prices to be 
unaffordable not only for homeowners but for the businesses that 
provide the jobs for the people. If America doesn't get a handle on 
energy prices, we won't have working people's jobs in this country. We 
won't have a petrochemical industry. We won't have a polymers and 
plastics industry. We won't do anything like making steel or aluminum 
or bending it or shaping it. It will all be done offshore where energy 
is much cheaper and labor is much cheaper and environmental standards 
don't exist. America cannot be the strong country that we grew up in if 
we don't have available, affordable energy.
  I plead with this Congress, energy needs to be the number one issue 
facing this country. Affordable, available energy so we can run this 
country, so people can live their lives in a normal fashion and have 
jobs and we can compete.
  I think America faces a challenge that it has never faced before. We 
have always been the big dog. We have always been the giant. We have 
always been able to handle competition. But we have people today that 
are building economic bases and they are building the energy support 
systems to run them. America is going to starve itself of affordable 
energy by choice because we locked up onshore, offshore major supplies 
of energy and we didn't allow the adequate trial on coal to liquids and 
coal to gas and we've had great resistance to nuclear and the undue 
hope that renewables are the answer.

                              {time}  2245

  I wish they were, but let's go back to that chart.
  The first half is history. The second half is projection. I don't 
totally agree with it. Let's say renewable estimates are wrong. Let's 
say they're 100 percent wrong, and they're going to be twice as much. 
They still won't hardly be 10 or 11 percent of the energy needed for 
this country. And our energy growth is going up percentages every year. 
If we doubled this for renewables, if we tripled it, we would be lucky 
to keep up with the energy growth. We would still need all of this. And 
we have people in this Congress thinking we don't need oil; they won't 
support gas, they won't support coal, they won't support nuclear 
because we want this.
  Yes, we want this, but how do we get this? How do we get that? When 

[[Page H13845]]

and solar are just fractions, and geothermal are just fractions. 
They're good, they're good sources, they're clean, they're green, 
they're pure.
  You know, we have a lot of groups in this country, I can just think 
of a few, Greenpeace, Sierra Club, and the PIRGs and the League of 
Conservation Voters and the Environmental Defense Fund, and more. These 
organizations are opposed to all of these. They grade legislators badly 
if you support the use of them and the production of them. They would 
all rate me badly because I know we need this to run this country. If 
we could run it on these, I would be for it, but we can't. We need to 
try to grow these, we need to try to get into a hydrogen society, we 
need to try to do every kind of renewable there is; but at the same 
time, we must produce oil, natural gas, coal and nuclear to run this 
country because that's what has run it, and it's what will run it for 
the next 30 years, according to the Energy Department.
  Let's say they're wrong. I think they're off on natural gas. I think 
the use of gas is going to explode because of the carbon debate, 
because the carbon debate is going to cause us to shut down coal, not 
permit new coal plants, not allow us to do coal-to-liquid or coal-to-
gas, which would be a clean way to use coal; but they're not even going 
to let us experiment.
  The administration is pushing cellulosic ethanol. That's good and 
fine, but I keep arguing with them, we need to be experimenting with 
clean coal technologies and liquids and gas from coals because we have 
it. Other countries have done it. We just need to know how to do it in 
a cost-effective way and then try to, if carbon is the big issue, 
secure the carbon. And if we passed the NEED Act, we would have the 
money to do it.
  Energy availability and affordability will depend on whether America 
is a competitive Nation. If this Congress doesn't wake up out of its 
slumber, if it doesn't wake up and realize that affordable and 
available energy, and I understand why they're asleep. All of our 
lifetime there has been lots of energy, and it's been cheap, cheap, 
cheap. It's not cheap anymore, it's expensive and going to get more 
  Available, affordable energy will slowly shut this country's economic 
base down. And the working people of America that don't have white 
collar jobs, that go to work and make things, as we try to get back 
into the growth of nuclear, the new plants that are being designed, the 
bases of them, the big, huge cast bases will be shipped here in a ship 
from Japan because we no longer have a casting plant big enough to make 
  Much of the high-tech parts of our nuclear plants will be built in 
Germany because we haven't built them in a long time and we've lost our 
capacity. I say down the road, how do we defend our country? How do we 
build the jets and the planes, the tanks and the equipment, the 
sophisticated equipment? We're going to be buying the parts from 
foreign countries, who may not even be our friends, built by foreign 
people who aren't even in this country and Americans will not have the 
  Energy is one of the biggest job creators. When you produce energy, a 
lot of people make a living. When you buy it from Saudi Arabia, when 
you buy it from foreign countries, when you buy it from the Mideast, 
the only Americans who get a job are those who sell it, a retail job. I 
was a retailer, and I'm not saying that in any way to cast aspersions; 
but right now here in Washington, DC you can buy gasoline made in 
Russia. Not only produce the oil in Russia, but the gasoline was made 
in Russia, came here in a ship. Not many Americans get a job from that. 
But when you buy gasoline made from an American refiner and produced 
from American oil, a lot of people have made a living.
  I hope the next time I rise on this floor there will have been some 
action from this body, there will have been some voice from the White 
House. I haven't heard much from the Secretary of Energy about the 
energy crisis. Every time I talk to any of the people in the Cabinet 
that advise the President, I talk to them about my views and they 
listen intently, but not much action; and no action from this Congress, 
zero action.
  Available, affordable energy has the ability to shut the economic 
base of this country and take us down and make us a second-rate Nation. 
And the number of poor people in America will continue to grow. 
Working-men jobs for the people who work with their hands, who have 
made this country, they're the heart and soul of this country. I was 
the son of a seventh grade-educated steelworker. He was a darn good 
dad. He taught me to be honest, work hard, always do my best, and never 
quit and give up. And those principles he taught me I have lived with 
all my life. And I thank him today and my mother for teaching me to be 
honest and upright. But they were working people. Neither of them had 
graduated from high school. They worked with their hands. They were 
  There are lots of Americans that need jobs to work with their hands, 
to make things, build things. And this country will no longer be a 
country that makes things and builds things and creates things. We're 
just becoming consumers as we export our jobs. And energy, available, 
affordable energy has exported more jobs from America than any other 
issue. I will debate that with anybody. And it will continue to export 
the good jobs we have.
  Dow Chemical, the biggest employer and manufacturer of chemicals in 
the world, used to pay $8 billion a year for natural gas in 2002. In 
2006, they paid $22 billion, and they came to Congress and begged. I 
had them at hearings, and they begged us. The President of Dow Chemical 
begged this Congress to take action on opening up energy supply for 
this country so he didn't have to go across the ponds in other 
countries to build his plants so he could compete. They make products 
for the whole world, and they can go to countries where energy is a 
third, a fourth, a fifth of what it costs here and labor is cheaper. 
And that's why they're going. They don't want to go. He said, I don't 
want to go. I'm loyal to America. And many companies are loyal. I talk 
to company CEOs that say they spend millions every year trying to cut 
energy use, but the energy costs just go up faster than their energy 
  Americans need to conserve. We all need to use less. We need to learn 
how to use less. We need to figure out how to quit wasting energy, and 
more fuel-efficient cars, more efficient homes. But folks, we need to 
have a Congress and an administration that puts energy at the front 
door of our future and says that we're going to do whatever it takes to 
compete in this global economy. We're going to provide energy for 
Americans. We're going to open up our reserves. We're going to produce 
the oil we need, the gas we need. And we're going to use coal the clean 

  And, yes, we're going to expand nuclear. And, yes, we're going to 
even maybe build some dams and do some hydro. And, yes, we're going to 
do everything we can to promote renewables, all of those. And we're 
going to try to get into hydrogen. It will be decades, but hydrogen 
society, where we can make hydrogen. If we learn to make it out of 
water, we've got it made. But then we still have to learn how to 
transport it safely and how to utilize it, how to sell it, how to 
process it and distribute it. It takes years and decades to do that. In 
the meantime, we've got to continue with what we have, and it's 
nuclear, coal, natural gas and oil, and renewables.
  We need to make energy one of the top issues in this Congress, not 
tomorrow, not the next day, but now. Not next year or two years from 
now; it may be too late. When we open up a new oil field, if we open up 
the Outer Continental Shelf, it's 10 years before you have any real 
production out there. If we start coal-to-liquid, coal-to-gas, it will 
be a decade before we would have real production. We need to be 
starting it now. We need to be figuring out how to speed up the process 
of nuclear to run this country. America needs a Congress committed to 
available, affordable energy.
  And I'm going to conclude, you know who owns the oil in the world? 
You know who the biggest oil companies are? It's not Exxon. Exxon is 
the 14th largest oil company in the world. They're pretty big. But 13, 
unstable, nondemocratic governments are bigger oil companies. And 
they've kicked out Big Oil in the recent years, taken over their 
investments, captured their monies. And they're running the oil 
production in most parts of the world. Ninety

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percent of the oil is owned by unstable governments. And any one of 
them that tips over, along with a Katrina-type storm in the gulf, can 
give us unaffordable energy overnight. We're vulnerable to a storm; 
we're vulnerable to unstable nondemocratic governments that don't even 
like us.
  How can America go to sleep? How can this Congress go to sleep at 
night knowing that we are vulnerable to those we don't even trust with 
our energy future?
  This Congress must have an energy policy soon, and it can't be the 
one I talked about first that takes energy off the table. It has to be 
one that puts energy on the table, yes, does conservation, does all of 
the things to conserve and use wiser, but produces the energy this 
country needs to compete.
  We're in a global climate, we're in a global economy today, and 
America must figure out soon that everything we do in Congress must 
enable our companies to compete in the world; and affordable energy is 
one of the first things we ought to be doing.