Washington, D.C. - Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke on the House floor this afternoon in support of the Drill Responsibly in Leased Lands (DRILL) Act. The measure received strong majority support in a House vote today of 244 to 173, but failed to receive the two-thirds necessary to pass under suspension of the rules. 162 Republicans voted against the proposal, which would increase domestic production of oil and gas on federal lands onshore and offshore. Below are the Speaker's remarks on the floor:
“Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I thank the gentleman for yielding. I thank him for his extraordinary leadership in bringing the most extensive drilling legislation to the floor of the House. Thank you, Mr. Rahall.
“Part of what we must do to bring down the price of energy to the American people is to increase domestic supply. And increasing domestic supply means that we must remove all doubt in the minds of those who wish to drill and those who want the drilling to take place that there are 68 million acres in the lower 48 states where drilling is allowed. Drill Responsibly In Leased Lands. The DRILL Bill.
“Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for the documentation of that amount of land. 33 million of those acres are offshore. So the question for opponents is: ‘Why do you not want us to drill offshore?' We do - in 33 million acres. ‘Why do you not want us to drill on land?' We do, and tens of millions more in the lower 48 and then this bill takes us to Alaska. Where the National Petroleum Reserve - Alaska is a bigger source of oil than the ANWR, the refuge in Alaska.
“In order to protect the consumer and to increase domestic supply, we're talking about two things. We're talking about protecting the consumer with legislation to curb unnecessary, excessive, and abusive speculation in the marketplace. That debate is going on in the Senate as we speak here right now and will come to the House soon.
“Increasing domestic supply means facilitating drilling where it is allowed already in tens of millions of acres across our country. It means investments in renewable resources because that is part of our energy supply now and for the future. And it also means an immediate call upon the President to free our oil.
“Right now, the President is sitting on over 700 million barrels of oil. This is oil that has been bought and paid for by the American tax payer and is warehoused in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. It is there for emergencies and we have a national emergency in terms of the energy crisis in our country. The SPR is 97½ percent full. The fullest it has ever been in history. All we're asking the President to do is to take 10 percent of that oil and release it over time into the marketplace, increase the supply, reduce the price.
“10 days ago we called upon the President to free our oil. It he had done so at that time we would already have an immediate impact at the pump.
“So here we are today at a moment of truth. The truth is that there is a great deal more oil to be exploited in our country. The truth is that it is not being exploited and this bill will encourage that exploitation - encourage those who have the leases to use it or lose it. They don't want to exploit the situation to let someone else drill and produce oil and gas in those acres. It also says that in Alaska we should be drilling in the National Petroleum Reserve - Alaska. Instead of having a fight over a protected area, let's go to an area that is already permitted for leasing and has more oil in the first place. The bill also says when we do that, we must bring that product to market so let's complete the pipeline five miles there, and then build the national gas pipeline to take natural gas from Alaska to the United States.
“The only reason why that has not happened is because the President has not decided it should. All of this is only a decision. We call upon the President to use the good offices of the President of the United States to encourage those who are in the final stages of decision making on this to move and then supply energy to our country will be vast. And it will probably create 100,000 new jobs. Building the Alaska Pipeline, the Natural Gas Alaska Pipeline, it would be the biggest infrastructure project in history. And all the President has to do is give the signal that this should be done. He hasn't in 7½ years; this bill calls upon him to do so.
“So when we drill, and when we bring the oil and gas prices down in our country, we are saying that none of this oil that is being produced can be exported to foreign countries. It is there not for the profit of these corporations, but to meet the energy demands of the American people.
“Essential to all of this, though, is to ignore the false claims being made of the impact of drilling on these protected lands. Maybe science and technology will one day make that feasible and we should always keep our minds open to that. But to say we have to go there, which will take much longer, to bring the product to market is just a diversion from the matter at hand, which is a failed policy in the White House, as Mr. Markey said.
“Two oilmen in the White House, $4-plus a gallon at the pump. The President is sitting on 700 million barrels of oil that would bring down that price at the pump. Free our oil, Mr. President; ‘use it or lose it' to our oil companies; end speculation that is driving up the price; protect the American consumer; vote for the DRILL Act.”