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Pelosi: 'Energy Legislation a Bold Step Forward That Will Help End Our Dependence on Foreign Oil'

Washington, D.C. - Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke on the House floor this evening in support of the Comprehensive American Energy Security and Consumer Protection Act.  Below are her remarks, as prepared for delivery:

“Following the first energy crisis in the fall of 1973, Richard Nixon became the first President to call for American energy independence.  In his 1974 State of Union Address, President Nixon said that the United States should ‘not be dependent on any other country for the energy we need to provide our jobs, to heat our homes, and to keep our transportation moving.' 

“He promised energy independence within six years - by 1980.  Nixon was the first to make such a call - but certainly not the last.  Practically every national leader in the intervening 33 years has called for energy independence.

“None of them have delivered it - until now. 

“Today, the House of Representatives has the opportunity to take America in a New Direction with the Comprehensive American Energy Security and Consumer Protection Act. 

“The legislation we debate today is a bold step forward that will help end our dependence on foreign oil and strengthen our national security. 

“Americans believe: it's time for an oil change.

“I would like to acknowledge the original co-sponsors of this bill: Chairman Nick Joe Rahall of the Natural Resources Committee, Congressman Gene Green, Chairman George Miller of the Education and Labor Committee, Chairman John Dingell of the Energy and Commerce Committee.  I would also like to acknowledge the leadership of Chairman Charlie Rangel and Congressman Neil Abercrombie.

“This energy legislation is the result of reasonable compromise that will put us on the path toward energy independence by expanding domestic supply, protect consumers with strong action to lower the costs of energy and to protect taxpayers by making Big Oil pay for its fair share of our transition to a clean, renewable energy future, ensure a clean, green future through energy efficiency and conservation, and commit America to renewable energy and help create millions of good-paying green jobs.

“The impact of this legislation will be significant in ensuring American energy independence and strengthening our national security.

“The offshore drilling provisions would result in 85 percent of the total oil available on the Outer Continental Shelf being open for leasing - which still protecting our beaches and critical coastal industries.

“It would expand our available oil by at least 2 billion barrels - nearly four years' worth of the oil produced offshore in America and enough to power 1 million cars for 60 years. 

“It also makes available enough clean natural gas to heat 6 million homes for more than four decades. 

“It is time for a New Direction in our energy policy.  Nothing demonstrates this more than the recent scandal in the Bush Interior Department. 

'On the Republicans' watch, Interior Department officials accepted football tickets, ski trips, golf outings and other favors in return for rigging contracts to benefit Big Oil.  They engaged in illicit behavior that gives new meaning to the ‘cozy relationship' between Republicans and Big Oil. 

“These Republican officials--one of whom pled guilty just yesterday to corruption charges--were in charge of collecting billions of dollars worth of oil and natural gas last year alone from companies allowed to drill on Federal lands and offshore.

“Democrats stand for change.  Republicans are demanding the status quo. 

“The status quo won't bring down the price at the pump.  The status quo won't protect taxpayer dollars from subsidizing Big Oil.  And the status quo certainly won't make American energy independent. 

“This comprehensive energy legislation is the result of compromise in favor of sweeping and innovative solutions for America's energy future.  

“I urge my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to join Democrats for a clean, renewable energy future by supporting this comprehensive legislation.”