(House of Representatives - October 12, 2013)

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[Page H6566]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]


  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under the Speaker's announced policy of 
January 3, 2013, the gentleman from Kentucky (Mr. Whitfield) is 
recognized for 60 minutes as the designee of the majority leader.
  Mr. WHITFIELD. Mr. Speaker, one of the basic premises of our U.S. 
Constitution and form of government is equal protection under the law 
and equal protection and equal application of the law. Now the Obama 
administration has developed a reputation of unequal application of 
Federal laws. For example, Jon Stewart, the talk show host, recently 
interviewed Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, 
and he asked her a question that many Americans have been asking, and 
that was: Why has the Obama administration given waivers and extra time 
to companies and labor unions so that they do not have to meet the 
deadlines required by ObamaCare, but he is unwilling to give that 
waiver and the same additional time to individuals?

                              {time}  1230

  Now, we know that under the law, individuals are required to buy 
insurance; and if they do not buy insurance, then they will have to pay 
a penalty or a fine. That was a question that many people have been 
asking. That's been part of the debate, by the way, of this continuing 
resolution, as well as the debt ceiling issue. Why cannot individuals 
be given additional time and consideration to meet this law, but you do 
give time to companies and labor unions? That is an unequal application 
of Federal law. By the way, Secretary Sebelius could not answer that 
  Now, just as the administration favors companies and unions over 
individuals in that context of ObamaCare, the administration is also 
giving special favors to the wind industry in the energy sector. For 
example, the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory 
Bird Treaty Act have been enforced for many years by Federal 
prosecutors in America. To give you an example, we all are very much 
aware of the tremendous oil spill in the gulf a few years ago. Well, 
British Petroleum Company was fined $100 million for killing migratory 
  We have a number of former Federal prosecutors in the U.S. Congress, 
and I was talking to one of them just yesterday. He was telling me 
about a case that he had down in North Carolina in which an individual 
shot and killed an eagle, and that gentleman was prosecuted by the 
Federal Government, fined $100,000, and had to forfeit some profits 
from his timber company. And so the Federal Government has been quite 
forceful in the protection of eagles and also migratory birds.
  Now, wind projects, and I'm quoting now from an article that appeared 
in the paper just a couple days ago, wind projects routinely violate 
the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty 
Act, but not one wind farm in America has ever faced a single 
prosecution or paid one penny in fines. As I said, BP alone paid a $100 
million fine for killing migratory birds.
  I could also quote a utility company in Wyoming in which some eagles 
were electrocuted, and that company paid a $200,000 or $300,000 fine.
  According to studies by the Fish and Wildlife Service and other 
groups, wind turbines overall kill over 573,000 birds each year, 
including over 83,000 birds of prey. Now, that's according to a study 
this March in the Wildlife Society Bulletin.
  So the Federal Government, under this administration, is not 
prosecuting violations of these Federal laws because of their favor of 
the wind industry. But worse than that, now the Department of the 
Interior has notified through a publication on September 27 in the 
Federal Register that they are going to pass a regulation so that wind 
companies cannot be prosecuted for killing eagles and migratory birds 
in most circumstances. So they haven't been prosecuting under existing 
laws, and now we are going to pass a regulation to give them additional 
  As this article says, there are two scandals here. First, wind 
turbines are killing legally protected eagles in the name of slowing 
climate change, but whatever reductions in carbon dioxide emissions 
that may be occurring--and I'm not going to go through all the facts 
and figures here in this article--but whatever emissions may be 
occurring is equivalent, according to this article, to a baby's burp in 
a hurricane.
  And then, second, the wind energy industry is lobbying to extend a 
production tax credit, the 2.2 cent-per-kilowatt-hour subsidy, that has 
caused windmills to be built in America. Without that subsidy, it is 
doubtful any would be built; but last year, the subsidy was extended 
for an additional year at a cost to taxpayers of $12 billion. Now 
another 1-year extension is being lobbied for by the industry. That 
would cost an additional $6.1 billion. So it is bad enough that this 
wind industry wants to continue killing eagles with impunity, but now 
they are asking the taxpayers to give them the money so that they can 
do it.
  Now, as chairman of the Energy Committee, unlike President Obama, I 
genuinely do believe and understand that we need an all-of-the-above 
policy on energy. We need renewable energy, we need windmills, we need 
solar panels, we need nuclear, we need natural gas, and we need coal. 
But to exempt one industry from Federal laws because they are favored 
by this administration is not what America is all about.
  Now the President goes all over the country talking about an all-of-
the-above energy policy; but how many people in America know that 
because of his administration and regulations at EPA, America is the 
only country in the world where you cannot build a new coal-powered 
plant. And yet even in Europe, which is known as a green energy sector, 
they have on the drawing board 60 gigatons of new coal-fired plants, 
and we continue to export more coal today than we ever have to other 
countries that recognize they have to have coal to be competitive in 
the global marketplace because coal does produce low-cost electricity.
  But, as I said, unlike the President, I genuinely believe we need 
everything; but I do not believe that any industry, certainly not the 
wind industry or any other industry, should be exempt from Federal laws 
that protect endangered species--migratory birds and eagles--that are 
the symbol of this great country.
  With that, I yield back the balance of my time.