(House of Representatives - June 25, 2013)

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[Pages H4015-H4021]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

                              {time}  2000
                           AFFORDABLE ENERGY

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under the Speaker's announced policy of 
January 3, 2013, the gentlewoman from Alabama (Mrs. Roby) is recognized 
for 60 minutes as the designee of the majority leader.
  Mrs. ROBY. Mr. Speaker, it's a privilege to be here on the floor 
tonight with my colleagues to discuss a very important issue, and 
that's affordable energy.
  Mr. Speaker, like we did a few weeks ago, I just want to invite all 
of our constituents that might be paying attention right now, that they 
can contact us at #affordable energy.
  We are trying something new, Mr. Speaker, as a way to continue 
communication with those that we represent back home in an effort to 
answer very important questions about some of the things that we've 
read in the news recently today.
  Today, this subject couldn't be any more important. That's because 
today President Obama launched his latest assault in the war on coal. 
Those aren't my words. That's what President Obama's own climate 
adviser told The New York Times just hours before his speech today. And 
let me quote him:

       The one thing the President really needs to do now is to 
     begin the process of shutting down the conventional coal 
     plants. Politically, the White House is hesitant to say they 
     are having a war on coal. On the other hand, a war on coal is 
     exactly what is needed.

  A war on coal? A war on coal ultimately amounts to a war on American 
energy and a war on American families. And the regulations that 
President Obama announced today are unprecedented executive actions 
aimed at punishing industries critical to domestic energy production, 
particularly the coal industry. These regulations would not pass the 
United States Congress, not the Republican House and not even the 
Democratic Senate.
  President Obama is trying to accomplish through executive regulations 
that which he cannot accomplish legislatively or electorally.
  He also again passed the buck on approving the Keystone pipeline. 
This is a project that would create up to 20,000 jobs and increase 
domestic energy production, but a project that has been delayed because 
of regulatory approval for almost 4 years.
  Mr. Speaker, what strikes me the most about President Obama's 
aggressive unilateral actions is how out of touch he and his 
administration are with the American people. That's why we're here 
  I remind my constituents all the time that I'm Riley's wife and a mom 
to my two kids, Margaret and George. I'm putting gas in the car. I'm 
picking up carpool. I'm going to the grocery store. I see directly in 
my everyday life how these inflammatory statements and just in-your-
face remarks to the American people that are going to be directly 
affected by this President's policies--I see it as milk prices 
increase, as gas prices go up, as domestic energy prices continue to 
skyrocket, and this is just unacceptable.
  I'm joined by my colleagues tonight. The gentleman from Colorado I 
know serves on the Energy and Commerce Committee and can certainly 
weigh in on these matters. But again, Mr. Speaker, I would like to 
remind our constituents that it's #AffordableEnergy. And as we move 
through this leadership hour, we want to hear from you, our 

[[Page H4016]]

back home, about the issues that are important to you when it comes to 
energy production in the United States of America.
  Mr. GARDNER. I thank the gentlelady from Alabama for her leadership 
tonight on this very important issue about the energy future of the 
United States.
  Mr. Speaker, she is right. The conversation that we are having isn't 
something that is just occurring tonight on the House floor. It's not a 
conversation that's just occurring inside the beltway of Washington, 
D.C. It's a conversation about energy that's happening in California, 
in Virginia, in my home State of Colorado. It's about a strong future 
for this country. It's about our children finding the kinds of jobs and 
opportunity that we know they deserve, a kind of country that is 
growing stronger each and every day with better jobs and a stronger and 
growing workplace.
  Tonight I hope that people, Mr. Speaker, around the country will send 
thoughts to #AffordableEnergy. Mr. Speaker, if they wish to join in 
that conversation, they'll be able to participate, and we can all see 
around the country what's happening with that conversation in their own 
homes, at their own dinner table tonight at #AffordableEnergy and what 
it is that they're seeing, whether their utility rates are increasing, 
whether they have a job in one of the shale plays booming around the 
country, or perhaps they're trying to find work. And energy presents an 
incredible opportunity for them to do just that.
  Often times in Washington, D.C., you see this fight break down 
between the House or the Senate or Republicans and Democrats 
unnecessarily so. We ought to be focused on what's right for this 
country, not what's right for a political party, not what's right for 
this group or that group or favoring this special interest. It ought to 
be about what's good for the American people, the jobs that they're 
trying to keep and hold on to, the college that they're trying to pay 
for for their kids, to build a brighter future for their family.
  The conversation is one that we know isn't just about left or right. 
That's not what energy is. Energy is about how we can produce it here 
in the United States, what we can do in our own backyards to create a 
more vibrant future. All of us have our own energy experience, whether 
that's as kids when we were told by our parents to make sure you turn 
the light off before you leave the house, go up and turn the light off 
in your bedroom before you go to school, or whether it's today trying 
to run a business, trying to make sure we're using efficient computers 
to lower the cost of our utility bill year after year.
  Mrs. ROBY. I reached out specifically earlier today, Mr. Speaker, to 
my constituents on Facebook, and I've got a few examples of that. As 
you say, everybody has their own energy story.
  Howard from Dale County, Alabama, pointed out that he's already 
struggling to make ends meet as is, especially with ObamaCare and an 
increase in payroll taxes. Now the President wants to raise his 
electric bill.
  Suzanne from Montgomery, Alabama, said that the President just 
doesn't get it. She watched the President's speech today, and she 
doesn't understand why he won't focus on improving the economy instead 
of hurting it. She said the President doesn't have a clue how his 
policies actually affect the middle class.
  Spike, a young man from south Alabama, correctly pointed out that 
regulations have a trickle-down effect that are felt by hardworking 
Americans. These new regulations on energy sources will be felt by 
young Americans just like him.
  Kevin from Dothan, Alabama, works for the military and has recently 
been furloughed due to the President's sequester, and he worries about 
how rising energy costs would affect him, especially since he's already 
having to deal with less take-home pay.
  Mr. Speaker, I appreciate my constituent's thoughts, and that's why 
we're here tonight.
  Mr. HUDSON. Mr. Speaker, I'm Richard Hudson from North Carolina, and 
I represent a district that's been hit very hard with job losses. 
People out there are really struggling.
  I go home every weekend and I travel my district and I talk to real 
people every day who are struggling to get by. I talk to folks who have 
lost their jobs either in the textile industry or in the furniture 
industry. I talk to folks who are just trying to keep their companies 
afloat. I talked to a homebuilder the other day who is just trying to 
keep enough work so he doesn't have to lay off any more of his crew so 
he can keep a skilled labor force there, so when the economy does pick 
back up, he'll have the folks that he needs to get the job done.
  People are really hurting out there, and there are some signs that 
the economy is getting better. But, Mr. Speaker, in my district, we're 
just not feeling it yet. In fact, I was in Richmond County, North 
Carolina, yesterday, and the folks there tell me that home foreclosures 
have increased this year over last year. We aren't out of this yet.
  On top of this economy, where folks are struggling and just trying to 
stay afloat, trying to keep food on the table for their families and 
paying the bills, the President comes out today 4 years to the day from 
when he introduced his disastrous cap-and-trade ideas and has this new 
scheme that's going to add cost to our energy, that's going to destroy 
jobs in this country, and it's just unconscionable.
  The people in my district are wondering the same thing they are in 
other places around the country: why doesn't the President understand 
what's going on here. So, Mr. Speaker, I'm going to continue to fight 
for an energy policy that makes sense.
  We've got energy off the shore of North Carolina that we ought to be 
going after. We've got huge reserves of oil and natural gas. We've also 
got a potential for fracking in North Carolina. I want to get North 
Carolina in the energy business. I want to create those energy jobs in 
North Carolina like we see in western Pennsylvania and North Dakota and 
other places. Now is the time. Now is the time to start getting 
American energy sources, getting Americans in the energy game, not 
taxing and regulating our energy industry out of business, which is not 
only destroying the jobs but is increasing the cost of energy. When the 
cost of energy goes up, Mr. Speaker, everything gets more expensive, 
whether it's food or the cost of transportation of goods. It's hitting 
us really hard.
  Mr. GARDNER. I think that you bring up an excellent point about this 
issue of regulations, about how the President has spent all of this 
time developing incredibly onerous regulations that will increase the 
cost of electric generation. It will increase the cost to produce the 
electricity that each and every one of us use every day at home and at 
our workplace.

                              {time}  2010

  And yet, it has taken years for him to develop this. And 
concentrating on this, this big announcement today, which will hurt 
American jobs. It will, indeed, impact negatively the middle class of 
this country. And yet, there's a project out there, like the Keystone 
XL pipeline, that he could approve today. After mountains of paperwork 
have been completed, environmental impact studies completed, people 
could be put to work today on the Keystone pipeline. Instead of 
focusing on putting them out of work, instead of focusing on 
regulations that will hurt our ability to grow the economy, like the 
President announced today, his plans to disarm our energy plans in this 
country, the fact is we could have a Keystone XL pipeline putting 
people back to work.
  People that I talk to back in my district strongly support the 
Keystone pipeline. There are people in Colorado that I've heard from 
who don't support it. And one of the questions they lead with is: You 
know, Representative Gardner, it's not really going to create jobs here 
in Colorado. Well, you know what? We know, thanks to research that's 
been done, done by a university, the impact of the Alberta oil sands 
development on U.S. State economies, in Colorado alone, the job 
increase, thanks to the Alberta oil sands development--and the Keystone 
XL pipeline is a major part of this--that we would receive about 11,200 
new jobs as a result of further development of the Alberta oil sands in 
Colorado alone. That's 11,000-some jobs that we could benefit from 
because of the construction of the Keystone pipeline and further 
development of the Alberta oil sands.

[[Page H4017]]

  In North Carolina alone, my colleague from North Carolina, 18,400 
jobs could come from further development of the Alberta oil sands, the 
Keystone pipeline being a critical part of that.
  And so today, the President announces a plan to make it more 
difficult to generate electricity, to increase the cost of coal-power 
generation. His top science adviser has said we need a war on coal. 
This is the President of the United States saying we need a war on 
coal--his administration saying that--and yet today we have an 
opportunity to say ``yes'' to a pipeline to create jobs in this 
  So instead of putting people out of work, why don't we put people 
into work by approving things like the Keystone pipeline.
  Mrs. ROBY. I have with me kind of a checklist here about this 
administration and President Obama's energy record: obviously, delaying 
the job-creating Keystone pipeline you've already mentioned; stopping 
job-creating natural gas exports; regulating oil and gas production on 
Federal lands; investing in green energy failures.
  Mr. Speaker, you can learn more about this at So we 
continue to focus on this here tonight with all of my colleagues who 
have joined us.
  A recent report from CBO came out which sought to find out just how 
higher energy costs would affect the economy, and the report said 
raising the cost of using fossil fuels would tend to increase the cost 
of producing goods and services, especially those requiring electricity 
and transportation. We have already mentioned that tonight.
  I talked about being a mom and driving carpool and buying milk at the 
grocery store--it is very evident what is going on based on these 
policies. Higher production costs lead to higher prices for our goods 
and services. Areas in the country where electricity is produced from 
coal, places like Alabama and other States represented here, would tend 
to experience larger increases in electricity prices than other areas 
of the country would. Specific to Alabama, 36 percent of electricity is 
produced from coal, the largest of any fuel source. And as for jobs in 
Alabama, it is the sixth nationally for total electricity generation. 
All of us have stories here tonight that are just right along these 
  We have an opportunity here as Members of the House of 
Representatives to, whether it is through oversight on Energy and 
Commerce and other committees of jurisdiction, to rein in this. That's 
our responsibility to our constituents. That's what this conversation 
here tonight is about.
  And, Mr. Speaker, I just want to tell you again that 
#AffordableEnergy, if you want to know more or make a comment, Mr. 
Speaker, about what we are doing tonight, #AffordableEnergy. And any of 
my colleagues who want to chime in, please do.
  Mr. HUDSON. I would love to address this war on coal a little bit 
more. I just think it's outrageous that the President of the United 
States' advisors say that the President wants a war on coal. You know, 
we ought to have a war on gas prices. We ought to have a war on energy 
prices. We ought to have a war on joblessness. I mean, these are the 
things that we should be concerned about and angry about and upset 
  You look at the fact that the United States has more coal than any 
country in the world, and we've got technology to use that coal for 
energy production in a clean way. Clean coal technology, liquefied 
coal, there are plenty of ways we can use that energy, Mr. Speaker, 
here in America, putting Americans to work to reduce our energy costs. 
That's what we ought to be focusing on. Let's get Americans to work 
making American energy. Let's bring American energy costs down, and 
let's stop the war on jobs, which is what we are seeing from this 
  Mr. GRIFFITH of Virginia. I would ask the gentleman if he doesn't 
agree with me that we would be much better off as a Nation if we 
focused on a way to have affordable energy, clean coal technology, and 
not just have a war on coal, and thus create those jobs that you were 
speaking of. Would you not agree with that?
  Mr. HUDSON. Absolutely.
  Mr. GRIFFITH of Virginia. I would say it is interesting that the 
President has taken this action to have a war on coal when his 
Department of Energy has been investing in some clean coal technology, 
maybe not as much as some of us would like, but some clean coal 
technology which right now appears to be on the cusp of actually 
yielding benefits. They are working right now in Alabama on a plant to 
test out a chemical looping formula. That chemical looping formula 
would produce coal ash and pure carbon dioxide. There's no carbon 
capture, it's just right there. There's no SOX, there's no 
NOX, there's no mercury, and there are a lot of jobs. While 
it is a little more expensive than conventional plants using coal to 
produce energy, if this technology works, which the administration has 
already invested in, we could have both clean coal, affordable energy, 
jobs, and still protect the environment.

  One of the problems that I have, Mr. Speaker, is that so often people 
say you can't have one and have the other. I believe the United States 
should be the leader in making sure that we develop and have available 
not only for companies in the United States but the entire world clean 
coal technology, because if we don't look at this as a global problem, 
if we just say we're going to shut coal down in the United States, what 
we do is we send our jobs to places like India and China and Russia and 
Kazakhstan, and the list goes on and on. And they don't have the 
regulations that we even had in the year 2000 on the burning of coal. 
And all that stuff goes into the atmosphere. And guess where it goes? 
According to a NASA study, it takes 10 days to get from the middle of 
the Gobi Desert to the eastern shore of my beloved Commonwealth of 
  So ladies and gentlemen, when we talk about this, it's not a matter 
of choosing the environment versus coal; it's a matter of choosing 
America first and making sure that we make America's coal affordable, 
usable, and clean. And we can do it.
  Mr. GRIFFIN of Arkansas. You know, when I look at this issue of 
energy, what strikes me is the President talking about jobs sounds 
good, but he doesn't like this sort of job or that sort of job. For 
example, he talks about wanting to create jobs, but he doesn't want the 
Keystone pipeline kind of jobs, he doesn't want the kind of jobs that 
come from coal. He doesn't want the kind of jobs that come from 
fracking, this technology that we have developed in the United States 
that is helping us lead the world. So he wants to talk about jobs, he 
has this idea that there are somehow these jobs out there, but not the 
ones that are right under his nose.

                              {time}  2020

  I am holding in my hand a Washington Post article from earlier this 
year, and the headline is, ``European Industry Flocks to U.S. to Take 
Advantage of Cheaper Gas.''
  Wait a minute. I've heard the President talk a lot about jobs. I've 
heard him talk a lot about wanting more manufacturing jobs. Natural gas 
that is being developed here in this country, cheap natural gas, clean-
burning natural gas, abundant natural gas, that is what is helping this 
  Despite all the regulatory obstacles that this President has put in 
front of this economy, despite record debt, despite all of the problems 
that we in this body want to address, the economy is still doing some 
incredible things because the private sector is leading, and natural 
gas is a big part of that.
  I've got another article here from The Wall Street Journal, from 
October of last year. The headline is ``Cheap U.S. Gas is Europe's 
loss.'' Manufacturing in Europe moving to the United States because of 
innovation in the area of natural gas.
  Now, the interesting thing is I know the President is in a political 
bind because workers want jobs and environmentalists want to kill a lot 
of these projects, so he's torn between the two. How about you just go 
with the jobs?
  Working Americans need jobs, Mr. President. And it seems to me, those 
are the folks that you ought to put first.
  And I would note that there's a lot of talk by the environmentalists 
about killing coal and having a war on coal. Do they not realize that 
if you kill coal use in a country that regulates it very closely and 
that has developed clean coal, that coal's still going to be used?
  But who's it going to be used by?

[[Page H4018]]

  It's going to be used by China, where they don't have the clean air 
rules that we do, and so they're going to make even more pollution. 
Instead of turning to clean coal and the coal technology that we have 
here, he's sending it overseas.
  Mrs. ROBY. I just want to chime in for a second. I think that it 
cannot be said enough in this Chamber tonight that his war on coal is a 
war on American energy and American jobs; and that what you will see if 
this unilateral decision happens, you're going to see an outsourcing of 
manufacturing to places like China that are unregulated, when all any 
of us in this room hear every time we travel our districts is: How come 
we can't bring the manufacturing jobs back to the United States of 
  And it's these type of threats coming from this administration that 
are chasing jobs offshore left and right, and this is not what our 
economy can withstand right now.
  Mr. GRIFFIN of Arkansas. This is another reason that folks may want 
to go elsewhere to create jobs. We've got the gift of abundant, cheap 
energy. Let's not mess it up.
  And let's be clear. This is not just a war on coal. This is a war on 
working people. This is a war on the family who is sitting at their 
table trying to figure out how they're going to pay their power bill, 
how they're going to heat or cool their home, how they're going to put 
food on their table.
  And you know what?
  Energy costs. We all know this. When it goes up, it's passed down 
through the cost of product.
  I will tell you that Arkansas, where I'm from, a big percentage of 
our energy is based on coal
  Mr. GARDNER. And I don't think that there can be any doubt that 
that's the President's intention under his plan that he announced 
today. The talk, the conversation, the focus tonight is about 
affordable energy. And there are people sending tweets around the 
country right now with the hashtag to affordable energy, hashtag 
affordable energy, about that very subject tonight.
  But if you listen to the pattern of statements the President has made 
over the past several years, from the time he was a candidate to his 
administration today, as a candidate, President, then-Senator Obama 
said: Under my plan, energy rates will necessarily skyrocket.
  He said years ago that his energy plan was for energy rates to 
skyrocket. Just a few years later, when he nominated Secretary Chu to 
be Department of Energy Secretary, the Secretary of the Department of 
Energy said he'd like to see gas prices around $8, European level 
prices of gasoline, doubling what they are today. They're already too 
high, nearly $4 in Colorado. That's too high.
  Mrs. ROBY. I don't understand. All of us have heard this President, 
this administration, say, repeatedly: I support an all-of-the-above 
approach to energy production.
  And then you try to promulgate a rule like what came out today and 
unilaterally announce a war on coal, a war on American families, a war 
on jobs in the United States of America, and what reasonable individual 
would put that with an all-of-the-above approach to energy production 
so that we can become independent in the United States of America?
  It makes no sense. We should hold this administration accountable for 
this. We, in Congress, have a job to make sure our constituents back 
home understand this doesn't make sense. It doesn't make sense for 
jobs. It doesn't make sense for families. And we absolutely have to 
hold him to this.
  Mr. GRIFFITH of Virginia. Let me say briefly that one of the 
interesting things I note is that when we were talking about this at 
the Energy and Commerce Committee, Lisa Jackson was in there and we 
talked about regulating greenhouse gases and how that was going to make 
the cost of energy go up and people wouldn't be able to heat their 
homes in my district, and she said we have programs for that. But in 
the President's budget request this year, he cut the LIHEAP program, 
which is the assistance to folks who are having trouble making their 
heat bills and paying those bills.
  So while on the one hand the administration is going to make our 
electric bills go through the roof, on the other hand they want us to 
cut the assistance program that would help the poorest of the poor. 
That doesn't make any sense. I don't understand it, because they're 
really going to hurt American families.

  Mrs. ROBY. Mr. Gardner, will you share the testimony, because I've 
watched it, and it's really powerful. You were questioning, in the 
Energy and Commerce Committee, about whether there's ever--and you can 
tell the story better than I can because I've just watched the clip--
any connection between the number of jobs that would be affected by the 
regulations that come down from the EPA.
  Mr. GARDNER. One of the most stunning things, of course, in the 
administration is their focus on regulations and a complete lack of 
focus on that regulation's effect on jobs.
  We had an assistant administrator of the EPA come and talk to the 
Energy and Commerce Committee about whether or not a regulation on 
energy production was good. And I asked a very simple question, and the 
question was whether or not there was a jobs analysis that was 
performed when they issued the regulation; did they look at whether or 
not jobs would be impacted by this regulation.
  And after 5 minutes of what can only be described as an Abbott and 
Costello ``Who's on First?'' kind of conversation, the answer was 
clearly no, that this administration did not take into account the 
impact energy regulations would have on job creation.
  And so, as we have a conversation with the country about an all-
American energy plan, we have got to realize that not only does it 
impact the coal-fired power plant or the nuclear plant or the wind farm 
down the road, but it impacts our families' ability to afford a 
brighter future.
  Mrs. ROBY. In the President's speech today, he basically made the 
case that more regulations and restraints on the energy sector, to your 
point, would be good for our economy and create jobs.
  Regulations creating jobs?
  I know none of us in here believe that, and I know we've never heard 
from one constituent who owns a business that regulations, more 
regulations, create jobs.
  And furthermore, this is the same President that tried to sell us 
Solyndra. And we're going to take this, we're going to take him at his 
word? It's really unbelievable.
  Mr. YODER. Well, if I might add to the gentlelady's point, the 
gentlelady from Alabama, this administration has continually pushed the 
notion that the gentlelady's describing, that regulations do create 
jobs. Their argument is that when they regulate our industries, when 
they regulate our local companies, when they regulate the local small 
businesses in our communities, that those businesses have to then hire 
people to respond to the regulations. Therefore, presto, this 
administration has created jobs.
  Mrs. ROBY. But aren't those businesses supposed to be--I mean, they 
want to create product to then sell to the American people, not hire 
people to follow regulations.
  Mr. YODER. So to the gentlelady's point, what this administration has 
done is created a country that has focused their job creation on 
bureaucracy and regulation and red tape, and so they're forcing debt on 
our kids and grandkids to pay for bureaucrats to come out into our 
communities to force our small businesses to hire people to respond to 
the bureaucrats. I mean, what a maddening system. In a country where we 
are supposed to be the inspiration around the world, the land of hope 
and opportunity, and they are taking us towards becoming the land of 
regulation, the land of unemployment, the land of mandates and taxes.
  And all this together, it's no wonder that our unemployment rate is 
still almost 8 percent, or 7.6 percent. It's the longest the 
unemployment rate's been this high since the Great Depression for this 
long. And for this administration to say that this is somehow a job-
creation agenda, regulating our local businesses, regulating our energy 
costs and driving up the cost of energy.
  And ultimately, the sad point is, and the gentleman from Arkansas 
spoke to this a little bit ago, is that this is not just a war on a 
business. This is not just a war on an energy producer. This

[[Page H4019]]

is not just a war on a coal company. This is a war on the American 

                              {time}  2030

  They are the victims in this. It is not the small business owner 
that's the victim. It is the American people. It's the people 
struggling to pay their bills. It's the person on the fixed income. 
It's the single mom. It's the senior. It's someone whose energy costs 
are that big a proportion of their monthly budget that this really 
hurts them in the pocketbook. It's that family that's trying to make 
that life work. They are the folks that ultimately get hurt in the 
  So we have to stand up for the victims in this country, that silent 
majority that is being hurt by these anti-energy policies. And at the 
end of the day, that's why I join my colleagues to support an all-of-
the-above energy approach to put people back to work, to lower the cost 
of energy in this country, and to make us more secure by making us less 
dependent on foreign sources of energy.
  Mr. GRIFFIN of Arkansas. I've got some good news for my colleagues 
here tonight.
  Mr. YODER. We need it.
  Mr. GRIFFIN of Arkansas. I would like to lay this out and give the 
President the opportunity to digest what I'm about to say and change 
his mind on the Keystone pipeline. We know that he's been torn between 
workers on one side and environmental extremists on the other. And he's 
been looking and grasping for any excuse not to approve the affordable 
energy and the jobs that come with the Keystone pipeline. And there's a 
lot of these same, similar arguments, whether you're talking about coal 
or the Keystone pipeline or the natural gas that we're getting out of 
the ground that has really revolutionized this country and provided so 
many jobs for so many workers.
  But one of the reasons that opponents of the Keystone pipeline have 
said that they're opposed to the Keystone pipeline is that the tar 
sands that's being taken out of the ground in Canada at its core, its 
bitumen, which is a little bit different kind of crude, a lot of them 
have said, Well, we're opposed to the Keystone pipeline because it's 
different than other pipelines. This crude is different. This crude is 
more corrosive. This crude is dangerous. This crude should not be going 
through pipelines across this country because it is somehow more 
  Well, I've got great news for the President tonight if he's watching 
this. The great news is in January of 2012, we put in a requirement in 
the legislation. I want to be real clear about this because this is 
breaking news. It broke today. It hasn't gotten a lot of attention, but 
it's critical. We put in our bill that became law that the Obama 
administration needed to do a study through the Department of 
Transportation to determine whether this bitumen really was different 
than other crude, whether it was really more dangerous to pass through 
a pipeline across the country, whether it was really something we 
needed to be extra worried about. Because all the environmentalists, 
all the different folks who opposed the Keystone pipeline preach about 
bitumen and how dangerous it is.
  Mr. GRIFFITH of Virginia. I can't wait. What did the study say?
  Mr. GRIFFIN of Arkansas. Here's the study, my friend. And this is 
just great news. It's from the National Research Council and not some 
third-party political group working for the Obama administration, the 
Secretary of Transportation, pursuant to this Congress's request that 
they study it. I have got the executive summary right here. And this 
just came out today. Here's what they concluded. And this is big news 
because this is one of the reasons the President is against the 
Keystone pipeline.
  It says:

       The committee does not find any causes of pipeline failure 
     unique to the transportation of diluted bitumen. Furthermore, 
     the committee does not find evidence of chemical or physical 
     properties of diluted bitumen that are outside the range of 
     other crude oils or any other aspect of its transportation by 
     transmission pipeline that would make diluted bitumen more 
     likely than other crude oils to cause releases.

  Mr. GRIFFITH of Virginia. Are you saying it's just as safe as the oil 
that goes through pipelines in hundreds of thousands of miles already 
across the United States of America?
  Mr. GRIFFIN of Arkansas. I wish I could have said it that clearly. 
But the bottom line is, this isn't Tim Griffin saying it. This is the 
Obama administration's own study that we mandated they conduct. And 
I'll tell you, if you look at the argument against the Keystone 
pipeline that the environmental extremists have been putting out there, 
this is numero uno, number one, at the top. They've been basing almost 
their whole deal on this. And the Obama administration says, Sorry, not 
backed up by the facts.
  Mrs. ROBY. So we need to say, What's the holdup? What's the holdup, 
Mr. President?
  Mr. Speaker, again, I cannot emphasize this enough. And the whole 
point of this hour tonight is to say, based on that information and 
this new war on America families and American jobs, what is the holdup? 
What is the deal? This is 20,000 jobs. And we're just continually 
seeing the President, who's for the all-of-the-above energy approach, 
at every corner attack domestic energy production. I just don't 
  Mr. GARDNER. In Colorado, the district that I represent, we really do 
have it all. We have a coal mine, and we have wind energy. Not only the 
wind farms, but we have wind energy manufacturing. We have one of the 
Nation's most promising oil and gas plays right now in the Niobrara in 
Weld County. In western Colorado, we have thousands of jobs that are 
being created and thousands more that could be created if the 
government would get out of the way and approve the permits that 
they're holding back on. In fact, the Bureau of Land Management, if 
they were just to approve a handful of permits waiting right now, it 
could create over a hundred thousand jobs that this country could put 
to work right now if these permits were approved.
  And so we hear the President talk about an all-of-the-above energy 
policy and then see his actions go in a complete opposite direction.

  Mr. GRIFFIN of Arkansas. I would almost rather the President just be 
straight up and say, I only like some kinds of jobs. And I don't like 
any of those kind.
  Mrs. ROBY. And I only like some kinds of energy.
  Mr. GRIFFIN of Arkansas. Just be straight up with us, President. Just 
say, I've got a war on coal. I've got a war on the Keystone pipeline. 
I've got a war on natural gas and removing it out of the ground, 
slowing down permits. I like a certain kind of energy, and I'm going to 
try to fund it through the government. Just be straight up.
  Mrs. ROBY. And let me just say this real quick, as a reminder: Mr. 
Speaker, tonight's conversation is at #affordable energy. So I just 
wanted to remind you, Mr. Speaker, that that's where we're having this 
conversation tonight, alongside countless others. I just wanted to 
throw that in there as this conversation continues.
  Mr. GRIFFIN of Arkansas. Well, I would also point out, again, going 
to the environmental responsibility that we have--you as a mother; I'm 
a father of two, a 3-year-old and a 5-year-old--we all want clean air 
and clean water for them.
  I would point out that Duke University last month, working with the 
University of Arkansas and working with the Obama administration's own 
U.S. Geological Survey, tested about 130 wells in Arkansas, something 
like that, and concluded that well water was not polluted by the 
natural gas extraction that's going on there. Just more factual 
evidence that we can have the jobs; and if we extract the energy 
responsibly, we can take care of the environment at the same time.
  Mr. GARDNER. One of those promising things about American energy 
development is not just the fact that it's creating thousands of jobs, 
but it's the side benefits of the revenue produced and what that 
revenue goes to. In fact, in Weld County, Colorado, in my district, 
it's probably the only county in the country that has zero bonded 
indebtedness because of the natural gas and oil production. They don't 
have any debt. If they need a road, they pay for it. They pay for it 
with the money that they've received out of severance tax payments from 
oil and gas development.
  Two companies paid their 2011 property taxes a couple of months ago. 
They paid $150 million to one single

[[Page H4020]]

county. Forty percent of that revenue of $150 million goes to the 
school districts, goes to the community colleges. So not only are we 
able to develop affordable energy for the American people, not only are 
we able to put people to work but we're also doing better things for 
our schools and our community colleges because that revenue then turns 
around and goes to the core community institutions that make our 
country strong.
  Mr. GRIFFITH of Virginia. Let me follow up on that, if I might, real 
quick. In one of my counties, when you take away the money that comes 
from Richmond and take away the money that comes from Washington for 
education, 70 percent of the tax dollars in that particular county are 
derived from the coal and natural gas severance tax. You eliminate 
coal, they don't know how they're going to be able to fund their 
schools. So we're not just talking about big business. We're talking 
about the schools and the classrooms and the students.

                              {time}  2040

  Mrs. ROBY. So it's a war on education as well.
  Mr. GRIFFITH of Virginia. Well, it's a war on everything that we hold 
dear when you get right down to it. Because the truth of the matter is, 
when you're the number one nation in the world, everybody else wants to 
be where you are. Right now we're the number one nation in the world, 
but this administration wants to throw away what has helped us get 
there, and that is an affordable, reliable energy plan.
  And we can't just throw it all out and expect to still have the 
standard of living that we have. That means we won't have the money for 
education, we won't have the money for roads, we won't have the money 
for so many things that people think of today as just automatically 
being there. But the money has to come from somewhere, and it just 
can't come out of thin air. I'm sorry, Mr. President, money doesn't 
grow on trees.
  Mrs. ROBY. So when it comes back to our responsibility as a Congress, 
this week we're going to debate and hopefully vote on the Offshore 
Energy and Jobs Act. This is legislation that will increase production 
of home-grown energy, and it will drive down costs and it will increase 
American jobs.
  What it does is it expands U.S. offshore energy production in order 
to create over 1 million new American jobs, lower energy prices, grow 
our economy, strengthen national security, and strengthen our 
communities by lowering our dependence on foreign oil. And the bill 
removes government barriers that block production of our own resources 
right here in the United States.
  You know, currently, the Obama administration keeps 85 percent of our 
offshore areas off-limits to energy production--85 percent. So H.R. 
2231--again, we will be debating and hopefully voting on later this 
week--will open new offshore areas for that energy production and 
require the Obama administration--and again, Mr. President, who's for 
an all-of-the-above approach--require him to submit a new lease plan by 
2015 for developing our offshore energy resources.
  Mr. YODER. And to the gentlelady's point, what a great opportunity 
for Members in both political parties to work together to do something 
that can help create jobs for the American people.
  You've talked about the over 1 million jobs that could be created 
this week if folks on both sides of the aisle will just work together 
for some bipartisan, commonsense legislation that creates affordable 
energy job opportunities and puts Americans to work.
  I'm sure this legislation will pass this week, but it's an 
opportunity for folks to vote for something that will actually make a 
difference. I challenge folks in both parties to stand up and support 
this legislation. Now, the real hope will be whether the Senate will 
actually take it up.
  You know, we've passed dozens upon dozens of bills that create jobs, 
that help put the American people back to work, yet we still have 
almost an 8 percent unemployment rate in this country. I'll tell you 
what: I am fed up with Washington getting in the way of progress. At 
every turn the solutions out of Washington are greater taxes, greater 
mandates, greater burdens on the American people.
  What we're talking about here is creating prosperity and opportunity 
for the American people to go back to work, to put food on the table 
for their families, and it's done through what is such a simple thing, 
domestic forms of energy that are right here at our grasp. Why wouldn't 
we utilize this energy that's right here in our country? It seems 
foolish and shortsighted. And frankly, it hurts the American people 
when we're not supporting domestic forms of energy.
  So this week is a great opportunity for folks who say they're for job 
creation, who say they're for an all-of-the-above energy approach to 
step up and lead and to join us in proposals that will put Americans 
back to work and help rebuild this country.
  Mr. GRIFFIN of Arkansas. I totally agree with the gentleman. We 
understand--and hopefully we can get more and more folks to 
understand--that this body is not creating the jobs. We want the 
private sector to continue to create the jobs and lead. But sometimes 
the barriers to job creation and growing jobs in this country are 
barriers that Washington has put into place.
  I find that a lot of the times when we're legislating in this body, 
we're not trying to create jobs to get in the way of the private 
sector. We go to people in the private sector and we say, what's your 
biggest hurdle? What's your biggest barrier? How can we help you grow 
more jobs? And more often than not they will say: Get out of the way. A 
lot of the bills that we put on the floor are to help Washington get 
out of the way, move it out of the way and let the private sector 
continue to lead in this area.
  I want to mention one more thing real quickly on optimism. If you 
study where we are as a country, whether it's with regard to the debt 
and regulations--some of these things, yeah, we've got a lot of work to 
do there. But if you study where we are with regard to innovation, 
energy extraction, natural gas extraction, the low cost of natural gas, 
the companies that I mention in these articles that are moving from 
Europe, I smell nothing and I see nothing but optimism.
  The future of this country is limitless. And when I'm long gone, my 
kids that are 3 and 5 now are going to be living in a country--if we do 
things right--that just continues to grow and has all the energy we 
will ever need.
  And as an economist pointed out to some of us earlier tonight, if 
you're Russia and you're Saudi Arabia and you're looking at the 
innovation that has come out of American companies, and you're looking 
at the deposits of natural gas and shale oil that we have in North 
America, you're worried.
  Mr. GARDNER. It is exciting, the energy future of this country. When 
you see studies that are being done--here's a study that I will cite 
right here, it says: ``America's shale oil revolution is loosening the 
grip of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries on global 
oil markets.'' OPEC. Because of the work that we're doing here in this 
country, we're loosening the grip of OPEC.

  Daniel Yergin, a renowned energy expert, testified before the Energy 
and Commerce Committee talking about how the energy development in the 
United States is allowing our sanctions against Iran to work, that 
we're lessening their ability to sell and fund terrorism activities 
because we're able to produce it here in the United States, displacing 
around the world the sale of Iranian oil, the sale of Iranian energy.
  So when our colleague from Arkansas talks about the optimism that we 
have in this country, the people of my district who see it each and 
every day in little tiny towns that used to have one stop light, that 
now have a new housing development going up because of the production 
in the energy field, or traffic that they never had before because 
they've got activity going to and from the worksite that never existed 
before. People who graduated from the local high school who for the 
first time in their lifetimes--maybe even their parents' lifetimes--
know they can stay there in that hometown with their family, with a 
good-paying job and benefits because of energy development.
  We've talked a lot tonight about oil and gas and coal, but in 
Colorado we do have it all. We have wind energy and solar energy. And 
it's not just regulations that are blocking the traditional

[[Page H4021]]

fossil fuels; it's regulations that are holding up wind energy 
projects. The ability to site a transmission line, to get the power 
from the wind farm to the people who use it, is being held up because 
of governmental regulations.
  And so there may be people out there who think that we're just down 
here talking about regulations on fossil fuels. Well, you know what? 
It's regulations that are holding up clean energy too. And if we truly 
cared about affordable energy, if we truly cared about doing something 
good for our country--which I believe we all do, and the American 
people are ready for it to happen--then we would get government out of 
the way and let America work. And our chance is this week.
  Mr. GRIFFITH of Virginia. That is one of the problems that we see in 
my district. I have a lot of counties that are really hurting. And it's 
not because we couldn't have jobs, it's because Washington is getting 
in the way. Every month we're having layoffs in some coal plant here or 
some coal plant there, or a company that makes things for the coal 
plant--or the railroad that hauls the coal, or the trucking company 
that helps move the coal. So while they've remained internally 
optimistic, it's really hard when that layoff slip comes to your house 
and you know that you're no longer going to be able to have that job.
  That's why this war on coal affects each and every one of us, but it 
affects folks in my district maybe a little bit more because we're on 
the front lines and we're getting those layoff notices now. I have 
people that I know who are casualties in the President's war on coal, 
and I'd like to hear from them at #AffordableEnergy. And I hand it back 
off to you, Madam Chair.
  Mrs. ROBY. Well, I just want to thank all of my colleagues for 
joining this conversation tonight. And Mr. Speaker, we will continue 
this conversation at #Affordable Energy.
  But the bottom line is this: While the President continues to promote 
his political agenda, we here in the House of Representatives' majority 
are committed, as we have demonstrated time and time again, that we are 
committed to the all-of-the-above approach. And that this isn't, as 
you've heard from all of my colleagues tonight, Mr. Speaker, this isn't 
just a war on coal, this is a war on the American family and American 
jobs. We are committed to getting government out of the way so that the 
American family and the American business can thrive.
  With that, Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.