From THE DAILY LIGHT
EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is Congressman Joe Barton’s statement from the House floor Tuesday on the energy bill.
“As chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee in the Congress, I was honored to chair the conference committee which passed a comprehensive energy bill to become law in the last 20 to 30 years. So it is with a heavy heart that I come to the floor today to this bill. I don’t oppose it out of spite, I don’t oppose it because we’re not in the majority. I oppose it because of what’s in it and what’s not in it.
“Let’s talk about what’s not in it. There is nothing in it for coal-to-liquids. There’s nothing in it for our domestic oil and gas industry. There is very little in it for the nuclear industry. So for all the conventional energy sources that fuel this great nation, this is basically a no-energy bill. We are not a have-not nation in terms of energy. We have the ability, if we wish to, to be close to self-sufficient in energy production for our own consumption in this nation.
“Hypothetically this bill may do something to reduce the amount of oil that we import but only hypothetically. We use about 12 million barrels of oil per day that’s converted to gasoline and my guess is in the year 2020, we're going to use more than 12 million barrels of oil a day to convert to gasoline and diesel fuel. So while it will certainly save some energy, because of the growth, I would argue that we will probably end up using as much imported oil as we do today.
“What this bill really is is a recipe for a recession. Why do I say that? The cost of fuel is going to go up if this bill does what it’s supposed to do. That’s going to be an incentive for recession. The cost of building our homes is going to go up because of all the new building code restrictions for so-called ‘green buildings’ in this bill. The cost of electricity is going to go up.
“The cost of manufacturing our automobiles and our trucks is going to go up. In 1966, my father’s Ford Fairlane 500 got 17 miles to the gallon. It cost about $4,000 in 1966 dollars. That equivalent vehicle today would cost, on an order of magnitude $25,000. The vehicles that are going to be made to meet this 35-miles-per-gallon standard in the year 2020 are probably going to cost in an order of magnitude of $15,000 more than they do today. That’s a recipe for a recession.
“The cost of appliances is going to go up because of all the new efficiency standards we’re putting in for appliances. And even the cost of light bulbs is going to go up. The light bulbs that light this chamber right now will be illegal when this bill becomes totally implemented. The incandescent light bulb that you can get for 90 cents or 50 cents at Wal-Mart is going to be outlawed. That’s a cause for recession.
“So what happens when all these costs go up, Mr. Speaker? Jobs go down. Jobs in our real estate and home construction are going to go down. Jobs in manufacturing are going to go down. Jobs in our automobile assembly industry are going to go down. Jobs in retail sales are going to go down. Costs are going to go up, jobs are going to go down.
“The shame of it is that we could have passed an energy bill in this Congress that we could have all voted for. We’re not opposed to some increase in CAFE. We could have had an agreement on CAFE that balanced an increase in supply perhaps by drilling in ANWR so we could get more production domestically and some energy conservation domestically. We could have done a coal-to-liquids title in this bill.
“In closing, Mr. Speaker, let me simply say, this is not a have-not nation. But the energy bill before us today is acting as if we are a have-not nation. We can use our domestic resources. We can produce more energy. And yes, we can conserve energy. We can lead the world as we have led the world in the post-World War II era. But this bill is in my opinion a recipe for recession and I strongly urge a ‘no’ vote.”