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tv   US Senate  CSPAN  February 2, 2016 10:00am-12:31pm EST

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energy policy. including permits for gas exports, energy efficiency standards for commercial buildings and requiring upgrades to u.s. electric grid. the president pro tempore: the senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr. barry black, will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. infinite spirit, generous giver of life's joys, from your vantage point of eternity look afresh into our time. teach our lawmakers to serve you as they should, so that they will do what is best for our nation and world. as they seek to do your will,
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help them to see your glorious image in humanity and search for opportunities to empower those on life's margins. lord, inspire them to trust the unfolding of your loving providence, so that they will not become weary in doing what is right. may they live with such integrity that your purposes will be accomplished on earth, remind us all that it is in giving that we receive. and through dying to self we are born to eternal life.
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we pray in your great name. amen. the president pro tempore: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to the flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. mr. mcconnell: madam president? the presiding officer: the republican leader is recognized. mr. mcconnell: there are a lot of reasons to like the broad bipartisan energy bill which is
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before us. you'll like it if you're an american interested in producing more energy. you'll like it if you're an american interested in may go less for energy -- in paying less for energy. you'll like it if you're an american interested in saving energy. there are a lot of important reasons to support the energy policy modernization act. here's another one: you'll like it if you're an american interested in bolstering your country's long-term national security. that's always important, and americans are telling us it's especially important today. they see our commanders, for instance, attempting to juggle myriad threats from across the globe with diminishing force structure. if you're interested in improving our overall strategic position, then there are ways this broad bipartisan energy bill can help. policy modernization act is designed to boost america's liquefied
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natural gas exports. that doesn't just hold potential for america's economy. it holds potential for america's global leadership, including the security of ourllies. we know that russia is the dominant supplier of natural gas to western europe and we know building america's own export capacity can enhance european energy security in the long run, so in broad strokes by increasing our ability to export natural gas in the form of liquefied natural gas, or l.n.g., to europe the u.s. can weaken russia's strategic strong hold while boosting our domestic economy by increasing energy exports. that's how congressman calvin, a republican, and comang israel, israel, -- congressman israel put it in an op-ed last year after returning from a trip to the ukraine. here's what a former obama energy advisor wrote in november
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: increased l.n.g. trade can also enhance energy security for it our allies, he said. russian-state owned energy giant gazprom's gripping is weakening and it will accelerate that grip as russia seeks to counter it. enhancing america's capacity is also important when you consider that iran has been freed from western sanctions and is looking to expand its own trade in energy resources, including its natural gas potential. robust l.n.g. exports to asia could also enhance america's stature there too and give our allies in the region a stable source of energy. boosting america's natural gas exports is one reason to support the bill, but here's another: the energy policy modernization act is designed to reduce our foreign reliance on minerals and raw materials needed for everything from military assets to smartphones. we can strengthen america's
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mineral security by developing our world-class american mineral base. the necessary modern policies can move us ahead, and this bill contains positive steps forward. here's what else this bill would do. the energy policy modernization act is designed to defend our national energy grid from terrorist cyber attacks. it would help prepare us by offering additional cybersecurity research, help deter attacks by erecting stronger defenses and help provide for faster and more effective responses when threats do arise. at the end of the day, here's what you can say about the energy policy modernization act. it aims to make america more secure in an era of insecurity. it aims to make america more prosperous in a time of economic uncertainty. it's a bipartisan bill that deserves to pass. it's great to see so many
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republicans and democrats in this chamber who actually agree with that. it's great to see both sides working with the bill managers to process amendments and move this legislation along. i ask members to continue working in the same spirit of cooperation. the presiding officer: the democratic leader is recognized. mr. reid: in recent weeks the nation has become concerned, afraid, even outraged to learn that nearly 100,000 people who are residents of the city of flint, michigan, have been poisoned. about 9,000 of these 100,000 are kids, children. 9,000 of them are under the age
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of six years. two years ago in an effort to pinch pennies, an unelected emergency manager appointed by governor rick snyder witched thy from the city of flint, michigan, water source to the flint river. water from the flint river was contaminated with lead, bacteria that causes legionnaires' disease and lots of other bad things. as a result, the residents of flint, michigan, were forced to drink water. there is no trick photography here. this is a person in flint, michigan -- you can go to any house you wanted to go to -- and this is the water that they were drinking, bathing in. it's hard to comprehend that this went on for such a long time. can you imagine taking a bath in
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this, brushing your teeth, or drinking it? how about a new baby? this is your little bath tub. through no fault of their own, the people of flint, michigan, are beg forced to endure a public health crisis that could have been avoided. this is a manmade crisis. we will never know the full extent of the damage to the people who live in flint, michigan, especially to the children. they have been harmed because they have been poisoned by the acts of the leadership in the state of michigan, especially the governor of the state of michigan. the reckless decision to switch
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to unsafe drinking water was forced upon 100,000 people. these people in flint, michigan, are now exposed to water with high levels of lead, frighteningly high levels of lead, among other things. this is not just lead. bacteria; they haven't determined the full extent of it. it's established, i can remember, madam president, when i first came to h this body many, many years ago, i had the good fortune to chair hearings in the environment committee dealing with lead poisoning. lead poisoning at that time that we studied it was lead that children ingested who lived in these developments where they used large amounts of lead-based paint. and the children who ate this lead -- not on purpose -- were not what they could have been. it affects their brains.
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this lead in water, lead anyplace affects little kids' brains. it affects adults too, but especially children. lead causes serious problems for adults, as i mentioned, but is especially dangerous for children, causing lifetime effects. you can't get well. they have a program where they try to take the blood out and run it through like a purifier. it takes a long time, but it doesn't -- there is no safe level of lead for children. after the -- i'm sorry, madam president. after the city made the wrong decision to switch its water source, it was really very quick that the citizens of flint began to complain that the water is discolored. but this stuff also smelled.
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they began to develop rashes. everyone. the response of state government was appalling. rick snyder, the governor of michigan, is one of those who berates government all the time. e-mails released from his office just last week referred to a resident who said she was told by a state nurse in january 2015, a little over a year ago -- she was complaining about her son's elevated blood levels. had so much elevated levels of blood. i'm so sorry. lead in her -- i guess i stayed up too late watching the election results last night. here's what the nurse told this woman -- quote -- "it's just a few i.q. points. it's not the end of the world."
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close quote. can you imagine a health care worker telling someone that -- it's your baby but it's just a few points of i.q. that they'll lose. no big deal, it's not the end of the world. a state nurse. the water was so poisonous that general motors, who manufactures automobile parts there, stopped using the source for the flint engine operation because it ruined the parts, it cor -- roded them during the manufacturing process. they had to stop using this water. people were still using this water, bathing this water. despite overwhelming evidence that the people in his city were poisoned, governor snyder failed to act. this went on a long time. as flint struggles to recover from this terrible public health problem, investigation will determine who exactly is to
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blame for this reckless decision. we know who caused the problem. this was a man-made disaster, as i said earlier. but now we must act to protect the residents of flint. this protection can start with repairs to their water infrastructure. like many cities -- and there's quite a few in the midwest -- flint has lead pipes. but the highly corrosive nature of the flint river damaged them, ate away at the insides of the pipes. now these lead pipes are leeching into the clean water supply from lake huron. it will cost over $1 billion to replace flint's poisonous corrosive water structure. people in flint, michigan, are struggling. there's been money spent there. flint has been doing quite well until this came along. there was a new vitality. but now people are afraid to eat
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in restaurants. business has been terribly damaged because people don't believe the water is pure. a lot of these restaurants, for example, put in their own water supply, water purification systems, but people don't believe it. they're afraid. we need this done now. and state and federal government must cooperate now to end this crisis which requires that we make investments, i repeat, now. president obama's declared a state of emergency in flint, michigan, and given fema, federal emergency management agency, the authority to provide resources for the people of flint. the problem is right now, they are just getting bottled water. the infrastructure is so bad. governor snyder has finally, finally declared a state of emergency and finally apologized for his administration's slow
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response. the governor's apology is too late. the residents of flint have already been poisoned. madam president, it's too bad the people on this side of the aisle disparage government all the time as too intrusive, too involved, detrimental to our society. the governor of michigan is one of the leading cheerleaders of that theory he denigrates government every single chance he gets, but to whom does he turn when the state of michigan is in trouble? the federal government. when emergency strikes, the federal government steps in. that's what -- that's one of the responsibilities that we have to protect america. so i hope senate republicans will support our efforts to protect the people of flint in this time of need. senator murkowski, the chair of that important committee, has jurisdiction of the bill that is
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before this body today, working with senator cantwell. they are committed to doing something to help this. let's support them. sadly, the same republicans that call for relief when their states face natural disasters are disparaging government action in flint. for example, last year, texas was devastated with historic flooding. who stepped in? it was the federal government that stepped in to provide disaster relief for the people of texas. that's why i was disappointed to see the senior senator from texas say, and i quote, we all have sympathy for what's happened in flint, this is primarily local and state responsibility, close quote. he didn't say that when the flooding was taking place in texas. last year, as florida was hit with extreme flooding, the junior senator from florida called for federal disaster
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assistance. but when it comes to the children and families of flint, the senator who finished third last night in the iowa caucuses, he cautioned against any action. here's what he said. talking about flint. i believe the federal government's role in some of these things is limited unless it involves a federal jurisdictional issue. the issue was the state of michigan didn't do what it was supposed to do. the junior senator from florida is not alone. republican senators routinely rush to the floor to demand federal aid when trouble hits their back yard. that's the right thing to do. americans help each other in times of crisis. this week, the senate has the chance to help the families suffering through a public health crisis. i hope republicans will request federal aid in the past for their states who have had
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difficulty, won't turn their backs on the people of flint, michigan. if federal government response is necessary for natural disasters, shouldn't the federal government help respond to these manmade disasters? the examples i gave in florida and texas, these were not manmade disasters. this is. we remain committed to giving the people of flint, michigan, what they need during this crisis -- help from the federal government to restore clean, safe water. but the federal government can't do it all. the people of flint, michigan, should understand that the governor of michigan is costing them a lot of money, and it's going to cost the taxpayers of michigan a lot more because the federal government can't do it all. senators stabenow and peters have proposed an amendment to this bill that is before us that provides emergency relief to the people of flint, michigan, for their water crisis. i support that. the people of flint have been poisoned. we owe our fellow citizens swift
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action to address this medical emergency. so i urge my colleagues, especially my republican friends, to support the stabenow-preerts amendment to give -- stabenow-peters amendment to give the people of flint the relief they so desperately need. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. under the previous order, the senate will be in a period of morning business until 11:00 a.m., with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each. the senator from utah is recognized. mrs. boxer: madam president, parliamentary inquiry. the presiding officer: the senator will state her parliamentary inquiry. mrs. boxer: is it a fact that the senator from utah will have ten minutes and then the floor will be open for other senators at that time? the presiding officer: the order for business is every senator is entitled to speak for up to ten
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minutes each until the hour of 11:00 a.m. mrs. boxer: that was my parliamentary inquiry, so that each senator has ten minutes, and at the expiration of ten minutes, the floor would be open, is that correct? the presiding officer: absent any consent agreement to the contrary, the senator is correct. mrs. boxer: thank you so much. the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. hatch: thanks, madam president. i ask unanimous consent that deign carvoyes, a member of my staff, be granted floor privileges through the end of the 114th congress. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. hatch: thank you, madam president. i rise today to emphasize the importance of the judicial redress act. this is a bill that the senate judiciary committee favorably reported out last week by an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 19-1. as i speak, the senate majority and minority leaders are in the process of clearing this
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legislation by unanimous consent. i am optimistic the senate will pass the judicial redress act in the coming days and that ultimately we will send this legislation to the president's desk. i want to thank senator chris murphy for introducing this important bill with me and for the broad support we have built among both republicans and democrats. i also want to acknowledge the good work of representative jim sensenbrenner and john conyers for their efforts over in the house. they have been stalwarts in advancing this important legislation in the house of representatives. it has been a true bipartisan, bicameral event. simply stated, the judicial redress act would extend certain data protections and remedies available to u.s. citizens under the privacy act to european citizens by allowing them to correct flawed information in their records and in rare instances the option to pursue legal remedies if federal
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agencies improperly disclose their data. our legislation fights an inequity, a reciprocal benefit that has been withheld from our european allies with little justification. cross-border data flows between the united states and europe are the highest in the world. today, most countries in the european union affirmatively provide data protection rights to americans on european soil. our european allies and their citizens should likewise have access to the core benefits of the privacy act when in the united states. it is the right and fair thing to do. passing the judicial redress act is critical to ratification of the data privacy and protection agreement commonly called the umbrella agreement. this agreement allows for data transfers between -- between european and american law enforcement officials for the purpose of fighting and
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investigating crime, including terrorism. european officials have said they will not ratify the umbrella agreement until congress provides e.u. citizens with limited judicial redress. our bill is key to providing reciprocity to our european allies and will serve as the catalyst to finalizing the long-awaited data protection deal. the u.s. department of justice which supports this legislation states that failure to finalize the umbrella agreement -- quote -- "would dramatically reduce the cooperation and significantly hinder counterterrorism efforts." unquote. given the global state of affairs, we simply cannot risk losing the critical benefits of the umbrella agreement. madam president, as chairman of the senate republican high-tech task force, i am always seeking ways to keep our american technology industry at the forefront of the global economy, and i'm convinced that passing
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the judicial redress act will build much-needed goodwill within our -- with our european allies who are currently negotiating a new safe harbor agreement, an international agreement that allows u.s. technology companies to move digital information between the european union and the united states. for years, safe harbor rules have benefited u.s. technology companies that provided cloud services to their european customers, and without a safe harbor agreement, however, u.s. cloud-based companies seeking to do business in europe would be forced to negotiate with 28 individual countries in the european union over how their citizens' data is collected and stored. such a requirement would disrupt and chill transatlantic business operations, jeopardizing countless american jobs and stifle domestic innovation.
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indeed, businesses of all sizes and in all sectors would face profound consequences if we do not conclude a new safe harbor agreement. the economic damage would be significant and relatively immediate, and the consequences could be catastrophic, especially for small enterprises. failure to reach an agreement would impact the economies of both the united states and our friends in the european union. if we are unable to reach a final safe harbor agreement soon, congress must be prepared to take appropriate action to ensure that these negative consequences do not come to fruition. in the meantime, madam president, it is critically important that congress pass the judicial redress act. i'm pleased that the senate is swiftly moving towards this end, and i am optimistic that we will have a successful resolution in the coming days. and i want to thank my colleagues on both sides of the
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floor for their support in this effort. madam president, i yield the floor. mrs. boxer: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from california is recognized. mrs. boxer: madam president, i ask unanimous consent that i can go up to 20 minutes. the presiding officer: is there objection? hearing no objection, so ordered. mrs. boxer: thank you so much, madam president. i'm here to talk about a situation that's occurring in my home state with a leak, a natural gas leak that is creating havoc in one of my communities. but before i do, i want to comment on the issue that my democratic leader talked about,
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which is the poisoning of children in flint, michigan, due to lead in the drinking water. maybe i'm old-fashioned, madam president, but i believe when you hurt a child, that is the lowest thing you can do. there is nothing lower in life than hurting an innocent child. that means if you abuse a child, if you taunt a child, but when you poison a child and their brain is damaged for the rest of their life, that's the lowest thing an adult can do. and any adult who knew, who knew that these children were being poisoned and looked the other way, in my view, is liable. you don't hurt a child. you don't hurt a child, let alone for life and destroy their mind. and so i know that senators stabenow and peters are working
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hard with the republicans to come up with something to help the people there, and i hope that it will work out. i know that my committee on the environment, we have been working with them, along with senator inhofe, so we can do something. but it's after the fact. it's not like you can make this damage go away. madam president, what shocked me was on the heels of this tragedy, a travesty in flint, michigan, we were marking up a bill, and the republicans to a person supported the ability of people spraying pesticides into drinking water not to have to get a permit anymore. take away the authority of the e.p.a. to require a permit if you're going to spray harmful pesticides with toxins into a drinking water supply.
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this is what my republican friends did in the environment committee. i think they ought to change the name of that committee to the pollution committee. what is that? in addition, the underlying bill says you can never regulate the lead in fishing tackle under tosca. lead. h -- hello. we now know what lead does when it gets into drinking water. if there are ways to have less toxic fishing tackle, shouldn't we try to make that happen if it's available? so here you have a bill, it's called the sportsmen's bill. lots of things in there are wonderful, and i support wholeheartedly. but now you're going to say you can never regulate the lead in fishing tackle under tsca? and then you're going to say you don't need a permit to spray
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pesticides into a water supply? you've got to be kidding. you know, we talk a lot about defending the american people, well we've got to do it abroad and at home because dead is dead, okay? and it's a serious issue when you expose people to toxins. they get cancer, they have brain damage. so i'm hopeful that we can do something for the people of flint and stand with them. but i'll tell you, it's not going to let people off the hook. anybody who knew this was happening and turned away or said who cares, it's a poor community, well, they'll be punished at some point, even if it's their own heart. but we cannot disconnect,
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madam president, from that incident to what we're doing today in saying you no longer need a permit to dump pesticides into drinking water. what are people thinking? are we so beholden to special moneyed interests that we can't tell them they have to have responsibility? so defending our people means having a smart policy to defend them from terror, which i support, but also means protecting and defending them with reasonable rules and regulations so that we don't poison them here at home or hurt the brains of their kids. now, madam president, i want to show you something that's happening in my state as we speak. this is quite a picture.
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it shows you what a gas leak looks like. plumes of methane gas above a community. this is an infrared camera. this is what is happening from a natural gas leak, and it didn't happen yesterday and it didn't happen a month ago. it happened on october 23, madam president, and it is still out of control. and i have introduced an amendment on behalf of myself and senator feinstein today to get some of the brightest minds from the department of energy -- and there are very bright minds over there -- to take a look at what the heck is happening and why it is that this is running amok. it is now burning longer than the b.p. oil spill. and i remember so well because i
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worked so hard on the committee with all of my colleagues, with senator landrieu and others, to get to the bottom of why it was happening, and we sent steven schu, who was then secretary of energy, and guess what? in the b.p. spill, he figured out a better way to track the spill and therefore contain it by using gamma rays, as i remember. now as of last week, almost 3,700 households have been relocated to hotels and other temporary housing because the residents who live right here are experiencing headaches, nausea, dizziness, nosebleeds and other side effects stemming from the rotten egg smell, the chemicals that give the natural gas its artificial odor. this is aliso canyon.
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schools have temporarily closed because the kids and teachers can't stand the smell all day. people's homes, their furniture, everything they've left behind are becoming infused with this horrid smell and the chemicals. it's a disaster for these residents and for many local businesses that are struggling to stay afloat. now, you see here this is, madam president, the aliso canyon leaking oil site with the plume all over this community. i want to share a couple of photos with you, because we know a picture is worth 1,000 words. these are children, sick of being sick at school. this is a mom who is having serious headaches.
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that's why this amendment is so important, because this is what's happening, and, by the way, could happen probably anywhere where there are these natural gas storage sites. there are 400 in america. 400 in america, madam president. so if this is the first, we better deal with it and figure out how to deal with it because right now it's running amok. we'll go back to that photo. so one of my constituents says, my husband and i moved there over three years ago. we poured a lot of money into this home, our dream home, thinking it was ago perfect area to move. i'm expecting. we had difficulties trying to conceive. the joy has been robbed from us because we've had to relocate twice. i'm fearful to bring my newborn baby back to porto -- porter ranch. that's the community here. she says i'm fearful to bring my
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newborn baby back to porter ranch when the time comes and they say the coast is clear. another porter ranch -- and i'll say this particular individual, scott mcclure was quoted in "the l.a. times." i can't play baseball with my son. my youngest son has been moved to another school. my property value has dropped. i get headaches and stomach aches. the california air resources board estimates that more than 86.5 million kilograms of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, have been emitted into the atmosphere. so we move from a disaster for our families reflected in this woman's face, to a disaster for the environment because it is so
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far 2.2 million tons of carbon dioxide. that's the equivalent of the methane that has poured into the atmosphere. that is more greenhouse gas than 468,000 cars emit in one year. just think, in over threel months this one leak has emitted as much as 500,000 cars do an entire year, and we've worked so hard across party lines here to make sure that our cars have good fuel economy and don't emit so much of the greenhouse gas, and now we see as much as half a million cars in an entire year. that's what's come into the atmosphere. now this leaking well is 8,600 feet deep. the leak is thought to be around 500 feet below the surface. the gas company has unsuccessfully attempted to kill the well seven times by putting,
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by plugging it with brine and gavel. they are attempted to drill a relief well down to the reservoir and cut off the existing well at its face but this may not be completed for another month. and if it isn't successful, they'll have to start over again. so october 23, we are now starting february, and these people have lived with this extraordinary disaster over them. now i pray that this nightmare will be over and people can move back to their homes and that they have the peace of mind that their homes are clean and their air is clean and the community will return to normal. in the meantime, we have to figure out what caused this leak, how to prevent it from happening again at aliso canyon and everywhere around the country where there are 400 similar sites.
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on january 6, 2016, the governor of the state of california declared emergency for los angeles county due to the aliso canyon natural gas leak. state regulators have been working with gas company -- with the gas company and with federal fmsa and e.p.a., and fmsa is hazardous pipeline. they check to make sure that those hazardous pipelines, the pipelines that carry this hazardous material are safe. now, they have been working, and they have been providing consultation. i want to say that the working group -- our working group on climate change called in the federal people who are working in fmsa and the e.p.a. they're
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doing these conference calls and they're working, but you know what? it's not enough. it's not enough. we need the best minds, the best minds, and that's why senator feinstein and i have offered this amendment today. it's at the desk. and under the amendment, the department of energy secretary would lead a broad review of this leak, including the cause, the response, the impacts on communities and the environment. they will issue a finding to all of us, all of our committees, and to the president within six months, but if they find something in the course of their investigation that can solve this leak or prevent another leak in your state, madam president, or anybody's state, they would have to come forward and make it clear, report that finding. the task force includes representatives of, again,
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phmsa, the pipeline line and hazardous materials safety administration, department of health and human services, environmental protection agency, the federal energy regulatory committee and the department of commerce. we have a small task force here. is it now seven? seven. and the reason is we don't want some big bureaucracy. we want a small task force to meet, headed by secretary moniz, who is an outstanding scientist. and we want them to help solve this crisis and provide relief for the thousands of affected residents when they come in with their analysis. and we want to make sure, we want to make sure this doesn't happen again in anybody's state. because i can tell you, when you have a constituent like this in your state that comes out and
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says, my god, i don't know what to do, that's what's on this face. i don't know what to do. i'm scared. my kids are breathing this, i'm breathing this. where do i go? so we need our brightest minds absolutely dealing with this, and that's what our amendment does. again, we have more than 400 underground natural gas storage facilities. we have nine in california. this is a public health and public safety issue that's critical for people not only in my state, but across the nation. again, we know our most sacred responsibility is to keep our people safe. whenever we say that, people right away think about what's happening abroad in homeland security and taking on isil and doing everything we have to do to keep our people safe.
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we have the super bowl coming up in my beautiful state. and believe me, we're focused on that. this is a great nation. we know how to take care of our people. so, therefore, when you see a woman like this or children saying they're sick, and you see this, and this is what the people of california are seeing in their living rooms, the picture of this out-of-control plume going on since october 23, you think, wait a minute, this is the greatest country in the world, the greatest minds in the world, the greatest science in the world. we do so many wonderful things, and we can't stop this leak? my god, it's ridiculous. and i was frustrated after i had that meeting, madam president, because you and i are very much alike in many ways.
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we want to solve a problem, you know. and we don't want bureaucracy to get in the way. we want to get the best people. who cares who gets the credit. sit around, get it done. and when i had this meeting with those federal officials who were on these conference calls, i got a clear, clear sense, after all my years of experience -- and i've had a lot -- i started out, i didn't have all this gray hair. so the bottom line is i know from experience that tnn doesn't feel like somebody's really in charge, and that's why senator feinstein and i are giving this amendment all of our heart and soul. we hope that our friends on the other side will sign off on it because i know the democratic side has. i believe they will. we're working with them right now on a couple of issues. and if this passes and becomes the law of the land, we will finally have someone in charge here at the federal level,
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someone so bright, so smart, secretary moniz. i have a lot of faith in him. i think a lot of us do. he's not -- he's in it for the right reasons. i think if he comes in there and they start to take a look at this, they may well find something right away that has been overlooked that could stop this horrific leak. i just want to close with this. cal -- california, we're a leader in so many areas, technology, entertainment and in trade. we would be the seventh or eighth largest economy in the world. i don't want to be a leader showing the way to the future with this kind of a travesty. i want to solve the problem, i want to tell my friends here in the senate we have the technology to solve it, we have leak detection systems to find these problems before they happen. you know, this particular yard
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started in the 1950's, in the 1950's. well, my god, if you build a house in the 1950's, you've got to keep on making improvements, you know. and i don't know the history of all this and i'm not getting into that now. we are where we are. but i would suggest if this natural gas yard was set up in the 1950's, i don't think there were a lot of homes around at that time. let's be clear. we have to think about these things where we place these facilities. and if i were in another state right now -- and i'm going to do this in california. i'm going to take a look at all the other -- is it eight other facilities in my state, that god forbid if they have a leak, what's going to happen, and how can you prevent it if -- maybe it's an easy way to maintain these pipes in a way that makes
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sense. if we can find that out, we can stop this. we can say this was horrible, we've stopped it and we are going to be able to prevent other explosions like this from happening, and if they do happen, we're going to know how to deal with it. we're not going to subject kids to this where we they have to go out with signs -- by the way, masks around their neck here, signs that say relocate our school, sick of being sick at school. and dislocate these kids, which they have been dislocated. they have been dislocated from their school. you know what it is as a kid. you have your world. your world is your home, your world is your school, your world is your family. that's it. when you disrupt that, it's very difficult on our children. so i hope and pray that we'll get this done today and we'll get the energy department ready to go on this.
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and i think even if we pass it here and we don't get it quickly to the house and they don't do it quickly, i think we'll send a signal to the department of energy that they can look at this now and help in a way where they would have the confidence that we would all be behind that here in the senate. i'm looking forward to a vote on this. i hope we have a voice vote. we don't need a recorded vote on something like this. i'm going to go continue to work with the republican leaders on this, and i hope we can move forward, and i thank you so much, madam president, for your patience and your time. thank you. i would yield the floor and i would note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from south dakota. mr. thune: madam president, i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. thune: madam president, one of the things that republicans were determined to do when we took the majority of the senate last january was to get the senate working again for american families. under democratic control, the senate had basically ground to a halt. the democrat leadership spent its time pushing partisan show votes instead of putting any real work on the challenges that are facing our nation. republicans were submitted to changing that. since we took the majority last january, we have worked hard to once again make the senate a place for serious debate and serious legislation, and we have
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succeeded. last year, we passed a number of significant bipartisan bills, including a major reform of no child left behind and a multiyear transportation bill that will strengthen our infrastructure and put americans to work. and this week, we're beginning consideration of a bipartisan energy bill to modernize our nation's energy policies for the 21st century. this bill is the product of months of work by republican and democrat senators and staffers on the energy and natural resources committee. senators held four full committee hearings and spent countless hours hammering out the legislation that's before us today. this bill is a great example of the kind of substantive bipartisan legislation we can produce when the senate is working the way that it's supposed to work. among many other things, this bill will streamline the application process to make it easier for american companies to export liquefied natural gas. the natural gas industry in the united states has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years, and
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our economy will benefit tremendously when u.s. companies start exporting american liquefied natural gas this year. liquefied natural gas exports from the united states will also strengthen our allies in europe by allowing them to rely on the united states for their import needs instead of relying on aggressive nations like russia. i've also introduced several amendments to this bill, including an amendment to streamline the permitting process for wind development. american wind developer site permitting delays as one of the chief obstacles to development of this clean energy source. my amendment will remove this road pocalyko and allow -- this roadblock and allow wind generation and the jobs it creates to move forward more quickly. i have also offered an amendment that will examine whether hydroelectric dams in places like the missouri river and my home state of south dakota could be paired with future hydrokinetic generation to better harness the energy -- the great energy potential of our rivers. and i have introduced an amendment to be prevent the
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environmental protection agency from moving ahead with a lower ground level ozone standard until 85% of the u.s. counties that are not yet able to meet the old smog standard are able to meet those old requirements. we should prioritize the worst cases of smog in america before imposing significant economic burdens or limiting energy generation in other areas. madam president, one thing republicans always say when we talk about energy is that we need an all of the above energy policy. what do we mean by that? we mean that we need to focus on developing all of our nation's energy resources from renewable fuels like wind and solar to traditional sources of energy like oil and natural gas. that's the only way to make sure that americans have access to a stable, reliable energy supply and to keep our energy sector thriving. the bill we're considering today is an all of the above energy bill. it invests in a wide range of
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clean energies from nuclear to hydroelectric to geothermal. it supports traditional sources of energy. it modernizes our nation's electrical grid. it promotes energy efficiency. and it encourages conservation. that's the kind of energy policy we need to take our energy sector into the 21st century. unfortunately, the president has repeatedly blocked domestic energy development and the jobs that it would create. he rejected the keystone x.l. pipeline, a project in a his -- that his own state department found would have virtually no impact on the environment and that would have supported 42,000 jobs during construction. he's blocked attempts to tap our vast domestic oil reserves in alaska. and his e.p.a. has imposed a steady stream of burdensome regulations that are making it more expensive to produce american energy. the president's national energy tax will drive up energy bills for poor and middle-class families and reduce our nation's
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energy security while doing very little to help our environment. similarly, the president's waters of the united states rule will place heavy regulatory burdens on farmers and ranchers, homeowners and small businesses across the country. madam president, president obama might like to think that the united states can rely on a few boutique renewable energies, but the truth is our nation is simply not there yet. efforts to i am poad other more traditional and reliable types of energy production simply punish american families who then face soaring energy prices and fewer jobs in the energy sector. robust domestic energy production coupled with commonsense energy efficiency measures will create jobs, enhance the reliability of our energy supply, spur economic development and help keep energy costs low. and those are the kind of energy policies that this bill supports. madam president, last friday, we learned that the economy grew at
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a right of just -- a rate of just .7% in 2014. needless to say that's not where we need to be in terms of economic growth. the recession may have technically ended six and a half years ago, but our economy has never fully rebounded. economic growth has been persistently weak during the boeheim recovery and there are -- obama recovery and there are no signs of substantial recovery in the future. in historical terms, the obama recovery is the weakest economic recovery since the eisenhower administration. if you rank the 66 years since 1950 in terms of economic growth, the obama years rank 45th, 46th, 47th, 48th, 54th, 55th and 66th. let me repeat that, madam president. if you rank the 66 years since 1950 in terms of economic growth, the obama years range 45, 46, 47, 48, 54, 55 and 66, or dead last. it's no wonder the american people are tired of living in
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the obama economy. madam president, given this week economic growth, removing impediments to energy development is more important than ever. a thriving energy sector can help us overcome the weakness of the obama recovery and usher in a new era of stronger economic growth. according to former c.b.o. director douglas holtz-eakin, the difference between a 2.5% growth rate and a 3.5% growth rate would have a major impact on the quality of life for low and middle-income families. if our economy grew at just one percentage point faster per year, we would have two and a half million more jobs and average incomes would be nearly $9,000 higher. $9,000 higher. that's the difference between owning your own home and renting one. it's the difference between being able to send your kids to
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college and forcing them to go deeply into debt to pay for their education. it's the difference between a secure retirement and being forced to work well into old age. additionally, an additional percentage point in economic growth will reduce our annual deficits by $300 billion. that in turn would further improve the health of our economy. madam president, the american people have suffered long enough under the obama economy. they're ready for a new era of strong economic growth, an era built upon free enterprise, not big government programs, an era that focuses on growth, opportunity and income mobility, not redistribution of shrinking economic resources. an era that rewards innovators and entrepreneurs rather than punishing them. madam president, over the next year, americans who are ready for a change from obama's failed policies will hear from congressional republicans who are increasingly focused on
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getting our economy working again. reforming our tax code and reining in regulations, repealing and replacing obamacare, strengthening our national security by rebuilding our military and reforming outdated poverty programs will be the foundation of our agenda for a more prosperous future. americans will also continue to hear from a republican-led senate that it's focused on moving bipartisan bills to improve economic security for american families. the bill before us today is one of those bills. it will help consumers use less energy and free up energy producers to develop resources and create jobs. madam president, i'm glad the senate is focused on an all of the above energy approach that supports energy growth and development in this country. i thank senator murkowski for her leadership and work on this bill, and i look forward to working on more bills, more bills here in the united states senate that will strengthen economic security for american
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families. that's what we should be about. better, more robust growth in the american economy that creates better-paying jobs for american workers and families. madam president, i yield the floor. mr. markey: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from massachusetts is recognized. mr. markey: thank you, madam president. madam president, i ask unanimous consent to speak for up to ten minutes. the presiding officer: is there objection? hearing none, so ordered. mr. markey: thank you, madam president. madam president, i am here today to talk about a public health epidemic that every year kills more people in the united states than gun violence or motor vehicle accidents. last year drug overdoses killed nearly 50,000 americans, almost 60% of those overdoses were caused by prescription opioids
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or heroin. drug overdoses are increasing the death rate of young adults in the united states to levels not experienced since the aids epidemic more than 20 years ago. these skyrocketing death rates make them the first generation since the time of the vietnam war to experience higher death rates in early adulthood than the generation that preceded it. so we ask ourselves, what specifically is causing this tidal wave of addiction and overdoses? well, the answer is clear. over the last ten years the drug enforcement agency has increased by 150% the amount ofocracy codone it -- of oxy codone it proved for manufacturing. for 2016 the d.e.a. told big pharmait's okay to make nearly
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1.4 million grams of oxy. that's enough for almost 15 billion ten milligram pills. let me say that again. that's enough for almost 15 billion ten milligram pills to be sold in america this year. that's a full bottle of potent painkillers for every man, woman, and child in the united states of america. this tsunami of opioid addiction is swallowing families as quickly as big pharmawants americans to swallow its pills. yet today, despite this raging epidemic, you would think that the food and drug administration, the agency responsible for the safety of all prescription drugs in the united states, would welcome every bit of expert advice it can get from doctors and other
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public health professionals. in fact, the f.d.a.'s own rules call for it to establish an independent advisory committee of experts to assist the agency when it considers a question that is controversial or of great public interest, like whether to allow a new addictive prescription painkiller to be marketed in the united states. instead the f.d.a. has put up a sign in its window, no help wanted. the f.d.a. began turning its back on advisory committees in 2013, when an expert panel established to review the powerful new opioid painkiller zohydro voted 11-2 against recommending its approval, but the agency, the f.d.a. approved the drug anyway, overruling the concerns voiced by experienced physicians on the panel.
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those experts criticized the agency by ignoring this incredible growing epidemic. the advisory panel warned that this oxycontin epidemic, this heavily abused prescription painkiller that the f.d.a. first approved back in 1995, needed a new test for safety. they warned about the growing dangers of addiction, of abuse and dependence associated with the entire class of opioid painkillers. justifiably, the f.d.a. was lambasted for its decision to after prove zohydro by public health experts, doctors and members of congress. but despite the warning of the real-world dangers of abuse and dependence on these new super-charged opioid painkillers, the f.d.a. willfully blinded itself to
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warning signs. in 2014, in the wake of the zohydro decision, the f.d.a. twice skipped the advisory committee process altogether when it approved the new prescription opioids targenic and hysingra. in august 2015, the f.d.a. did it again this time by passing a committee on the question of new use for oxycontin for children ages 11 to 16. this time the f.d.a. even ignored its own rules that specifically call for an advisory committee when a question of pediatric dosing is involved. in other words, there's a special category when children are involved that call for advisory committees, the f.d.a. ignored that. at this point it became clear that the f.d.a. was
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intentionally choosing to forego an advisory committee in order to avoid another overwhelming vote recommending against approval of a prescription opioid. why? because the f.d.a. would then have had to ignore yet another group of experts in order to continue its relentless march to put more drugs into the marketplace. with the oxycontin for kids decision, the f.d.a.'s reckless attitude towards expert advice on drug safety went too far. children whose brains are not yet fully developed are especially vulnerable to drug dependency and abuse. yet, the agency focused its so-called safety analysis only on concerns about proper dosing, saying that it needed to only tell doctors to proper doses for children who needed the drug. well, that's just plain wrong. we use experts to determine if
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child car seats are safe, if tooth toothpaste is safe, if vaccines are safe. we should use experts to determine if these opioid painkillers are safe for our families. we need to immediately reform the food and drug administration's opioid approval process if we want to stop this epidemic of prescription drug and heroin addiction. last week i placed a hold on the nomination of dr. robert califf to head the f.d.a. before i can support this nomination, the f.d.a. must make three needed changes to its opioid approval process. first, the f.d.a. needs to make sure that every opioid approval question is reviewed by an external panel of experts. second, the f.d.a. needs to consider addiction, abuse and
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dependence as part of its determination of whether an opioid is safe. the f.d.a. cannot continue to operate as if safety just means dosage when it should include all of the dangers as well of these painkillers. and third, the f.d.a. should rescind its decision on oxycontin for kids and then convene an advisory panel as it should have done in the first place. then, the f.d.a. can reconsider the oxycontin for kids decision with the benefit of that panel's independent advice and with the proper meaning of safety in mind. the f.d.a. must commit to shift the way it approaches and evaluates addiction before i can consider supporting dr. califf's nomination. the prescription drug and heroin epidemic knows no geographic
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boundaries, and our response should know no political boundaries. that's why majority leader mitch mcconnell and i worked together to identify solutions to this crisis. last spring senator mcconnell and i joined together in calling for a surgeon general's report on the opioid crisis. and last fall surgeon general murthy announced he will be issuing a new report on the substance abuse crisis this year. there was 50 years ago an historic report on smoking that changed the way our country viewed that. this is the same kind of report which we need for the country to see from our surgeon general. but that's just the first step. in a larger comprehensive national strategy i'm fighting for this year. we need to stop the overprescription of pain medication that is leading to heroin addiction and fueling
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this crisis. that starts with the prescribers. we need to ensure that all prescribers of opioid pain pills are educated about the dangers of addiction and appropriate and responsible prescribing practices. i have a bill that requires every prescribeer of opioid pain medication in this country as a condition of receiving their d.e.a. prescribing license to be trained in the best practices for using pain medications and methods to identify and manage an opioid use disorder. stopping overprescription also includes narrowing the pipeline at the front end -- the presiding officer: the senator's time has expired. mr. markey: i ask unanimous consent to continue for two additional minutes. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. markey: thank you. this means that the d.e.a. needs to reduce the quotas of oxy and high droa codone.
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the d.e.a. is allowing big pharmato produce too many of these pain pills. although -- americans consume 80% of the global supply of opioid painkillers and 99% of the global supply of hydro hydrocodone, the active ingredient of vicodin. with the opioid epidemic reaching epic proportions, our federal budget should reflect the magnitude and importance of investing in treatment and recovery services. in massachusetts, approximately 65,000 people are currently dependent on opioids, 50,000 need treatment but are not receiving it, treatment for prescription drug and heroin addiction is absolutely at the top of the list of the things that this congress should deal with. and so that's why we need to work together. we need to make sure that the
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treatment is there for each of these patients. and that includes ensuring that patients can receive from a physician the help that they may need. right now that is denied to many different patients. i've been in congress for 39 years. i've never actually seen an issue like this that rose so quickly that affects so many families in our country. a day does not go by in the state of massachusetts where someone doesn't come up to mean and talk to me about a family member who has been affected by this epidemic. it is time for us to join together in a bipartisan fashion to produce the kind of legislation that can give hope to families that relief is on the way, that prevention and treatment will be there to help their families deal with this crisis. i hope that we can accomplish that goal this year. i do believe that we can do on a bipartisan basis. mr. president, i yield back the balance of my time with the
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thanks to the senator from alaska for her indulgence. the presiding officer: morning business is closed. under the previous order, the senate will resume consideration of s. 2012, which the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 218, s. 2012, a bill to provide for the modernization of the energy policy of the united states and for other purposes. ms. murkowski: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from alaska. ms. murkowski: mr. president, before i begin my remarks this morning about where we are with the energy policy modernization act, i want to acknowledge my colleague from massachusetts. i come from a very large, very remote state. 80% of the communities in alaska are not connected by road. one would think that our isolation might also insulate us from some of the scourges that we see when it comes to drugs and drug addiction. unfortunately, that is not the case. we are seeing in my state this
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same level of epidemic. while the numbers might not be as eye popping as we're seeing in massachusetts and new hampshire and other parts of the country, that's because we have fewer people. but on a per capita basis, our numbers are staggering. they are very worrying, and it is something that as my colleague from massachusetts notes, this is not something that should be a republican or a democrat problem or a republican or democrat solution. this is all of us working together because what is happening, what we are seeing is simply unacceptable. it is destroying families. it is destroying communities, and we must be working together. so i appreciate his comments here before the body this morning. mr. president, i hope that the senate is prepared for another good day, a busy day of debate on our broad bipartisan energy bill. late yesterday while we were not
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officially -- while we were not taking votes, we were in for a few hours, but what we were able to do during that time period was to approve eight more amendments by voice vote, so we are now up to 19 amendments accepted so far. the latest batch from yesterday featured a proposal from senators gardner, coons, portman and shaheen to boost energy savings projects that will limit the cost of government and save taxpayer dollars. we also approved an amendment from senators flake, mccaskill and booker to evaluate the number of duplicative green buildings programs within the federal government. i think we all appreciate that we need to be more efficient, but do we need to have dozens and dozens of duplicative programs to build this out? that's what that amendment addressed. we also approved an amendment
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from senators inhofe, markey and booker to renew a brown fields restoration program run by the e.p.a. so we did -- we did okay yesterday, approving eight amendments by voice isn't bad for a monday around here when we were not scheduled to have votes, but i think we can do better than that. i think we can pick up the pace. and we're ready to do that. we have two roll call votes that are scheduled for 2:30 this afternoon. the first one is an amendment by the senator of utah, senator lee. it's amendment number 3023, and it would limit presidential authority to permanently withdraw federal lands as national monuments. this is an issue that i have joined the senator from utah on, as well as many senators from around the west that have concerns that we would see vast areas of our particular states permanently withdrawn, something
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that again resonates very, very strongly in my state where over half of our state is held in federal lands, 61%, actually. so i'm pleased that my colleague from utah has offered this amendment, i'm hopeful that the senate will adopt it. the second amendment we will have this afternoon is the franken amendment 3115. this would impose a nationwide efficiency mandate. this is a matter that we had before the energy committee when we were in markup in july. many members are already familiar with it. i am aware that some members are still filing amendments, but i think my advice to you is know that you're chasing the train down the tracks at this point in time. we had a total of 230 amendments filed as of this morning, so we've got a lot to sort through as we are trying to deal with the debate, just kind of keep things moving here. a number of members are also
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hoping to secure a vote on their priorities so we've got a line now so those that are just thinking about filing know where you are in this process. snow that senator cantwell and i intend to continue to process amendments as quickly as we can and would ask for other members' cooperation to help that effort move along. i do want to thank the ranking member on the energy committee, senator cantwell and her staff have been working very hard and very well with me and my staff as we're working to process this. so the level of back and forth has been very constructive, very helpful, and i just -- i appreciate and i want to give special recognition to the yeoman's work that the staff are doing right now. we will be setting up additional roll call votes today, hopefully be able to reach agreement on amendments that we can clear on both sides as well. as we have moved through the
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debate process on this important energy bill, we've seen some good, strong amendments. i mentioned some. we've had them from both parties. we've had them from all areas of the country. but we have seen some particularly good ones that focus on hydropower. i wanted to take a few moments this morning to speak about hydropower and the amazing supply source that hydropower provides for our nation. hydropower harnesses the forces of flowing water to generate electricity, and it has many, many virtues as an energy resource. it's not only emissions free and renewable, it's also capable of producing stable, reliable and affordable base power. how about that? stable, affordable, reliable base power. and, you know, it's emissions free. it's renewable. it's not defined yet as renewable. we address that in this bill.
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right now, hydropower produces about 6% of our nation's electricity and nearly half of our renewable energy, and that's more than the wind and solar combined and enough electricity to power some 30 million american homes. up in alaska, hydropower provides -- the number is right about 24% of our electricity. it provides energy for communities throughout the state, most notably in the southeastern part of the state where i was born and raised. very, very significant there. but also what we call the rail built area. it is an amazing contributor to -- to our state's energy base. we continue, though, to have vast potential with hundreds of sites in alaska alone just waiting to be developed. we're a leader on hydropower, but we are hardly alone in having untapped potential. according to an official from the department of energy that we
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had before the energy committee testifying back in 2011, he said our country could realize an additional 300 gig a watts of hydropower through efficiency and capacity upgrades at existing facilities. powering nonpowered dams, new hydropower development and pump storage. let me repeat what that really means. 300 gig a watts additional of hydropower, not just some big mega, megadam but through efficiency, through capacity upgrades at existing facilities powering up our nonpowered dams, new, small hydrodevelopment, we see a lot of that in alaska, and pump storage hydropower. with that, 300 gig a watts of additional power. now, putting it into context,
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one gigawatt can power hundreds of thousands of homes, so we have an estimated 300 gig a watts of potential hydropower. huge benefit to our country in terms of what we could get from our hydroresources. and it won't take much to start taking advantage of it. that's the beauty of it. that's the beauty of it. it may surprise some to know that right now only 3% of our nation's existing 80,000 dams around the country currently produce electricity. just 3% of 80,000 dams that are already out there are producing electricity. so think about what we could do. if we electriccary phi just the top 100, just the top 100 out of 80,000, we could generate enough
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electricity for nearly three million more homes and create thousands of jobs. meanwhile, simply upgrading the turbines at existing hydropower dams could yield a similar amount of additional electric generating capacity. we talk a lot about efficiency around here. well, let's apply the efficiency with what we have with our existing facilities. what most of us agree is that hydropower is a great american resource. it is renewable, it is affordable, it is always on and nearly every state has potential in some way, and yet despite all this, despite the tremendous benefits that it provides and despite our tremendous untapped potential, american hydropower development has stalled. why? it's stalled, quite honestly, because of red tape and environmental opposition, and
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this was the subject of a recent op-ed piece that i wrote. i cowrote it with jay fasen who is the founder of the clear path foundation. it's called stop wasting america's hydropower potential. it ran in "the new york times" last month, and we've gotten some pretty good, positive comments. i ask to have that included as part of the record today. but at the heart of the problem really is a broken federal permitting process that has created an unnavigable gauntlet for our hydropower projects. it can now take well over a decade, well over a decade to relicense an existing dam. i'll say it again. we're not talking about licensing a new dam. we're talking about relicensing an existing dam, a process that can take over a decade.
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for the california consumers of pacific gas and electric, relicensing costs have run as high as $50 million per dam simply to continue an existing project. we're not building anything new. we want to relicense it. it's costing $50 million and taking over ten years. there was a recent editorial in a eugene, oregon, newspaper which called for the preservation of hydropower assets, and it noted that the existing carmen smith project has been mired in the relicensing process for over ten years with a price tag estimated at $226 million. it amounts to ten times as much and three times as long as it took to build the project when it was producted in 1963. mr. president, what is wrong
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with this picture? taking ten times as much -- requiring ten times as much money, $226 million, taking three times as long to build as when they built that project back in 1963. we are going in the wrong direction. this is not progress. we are headed exactly the wrong direction, but we can change that. let's put into context of what we have existing in this country right now. i have said that right now hydro is providing about 6% of our energy, and about half of our renewable. one-third of our nation's existing hydropower projects will require license renewals by 2030. one-third of them. one-third of the existing facilities are going to have to go through this decade-long relicensing process, millions of dollars in costs. so what we need to do here, folks, is we need to make the
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relicensing process more efficient by reducing bureaucratic and administrative delays that end up increasing electricity rates, slowing hydropower's expansion and actually delaying the adoption of environmental mitigation measures. if you're concerned about the environment, you know, you ought to be interested in making sure that we've got a better process here, because if we fail to improve the relicensing process, we're going to start losing hydropower projects, and we will backslide as other forms of generation replace them, just as we're seeing with nuclear power in some parts of our country. we're going to go backwards. so whether your issue is climate change or whether it is electric reliability or just good, affordable energy, we should be able to agree that this is a situation that we want to avoid. we do not want to be going backwards on this. coming from washington state,
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senator cantwell understands and clearly appreciates the value of our hydropower resources, and i have been very pleased to be able to work with her on many of these initiatives, as well as many other members of our committee on some of the bipartisan reforms that we have contained within the energy policy modernization act. what we realize is that our current policies are holding this resource back and that we need to update, we need to modernize them if we ever want to harness the amazing potential of domestic hydropower. so our joint hydropower language attempts to bring state and federal agencies to the table with the applicants of the beginning of the process so that they can identify where the potential problems may be and coordinate environmental reviews. because hydropower licenses are issued by the ferc, our bill authorizes the federal energy regulatory commission to be the lead agency so that they set a schedule and they coordinate all the needed federal
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authorizations. the schedule is to be established on a case-by-case basis in consultation with other agencies, and if a resource agency then can't meet a deadline, the white house council on environmental quality is then tasked with resolving these interagency disputes. and in terms of a step that is long overdue, we formally designate hydropower as a renewable resource for the purpose of all federal programs. mr. president, this is one that when i first came to the senate some years ago and focused on energy issues, i just really had a hard time with the fact that hydropower was not considered a renewable resource. i was born in ketchikan, alaska. it's in the middle of a rain forest. i was raised in southeastern alaska where the annual precipitation there is something
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that would take most people's breath a-- away. if i were to tell the people of juneau or rangel or catch i can that what is coming out of the sky today is not a renewable resource, i would be laughed out of the room. but we're going to hopefully take care of that and formally designate hydropower as a renewable resource for the purposes of all federal programs. we've dot very good commonsense ideas careful clasted within our bill. our language does not alter the authority of federal agencies to impose mandatory environmental conditions or to weaken the stringent environmental review process. so for those who are fraid that somehow or -- afraid that somehow or other we're just going to run roughshod over the environmental regulators, that is not the case. but what we're doing is, through efficiency, through some streamlining, through some coordination, we're going to be able to make a difference in our nation's ability to develop hydropower, and that's why the
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members of the energy and natural resources committee overwhelmingly supported the hydropower provisions in the bill that we have before us today. but, there is always more good news that we can add. we have looked to the amendments that other members have offered. we've already accepted an amendment from senator daines to extend the deadline for the relicensing of a hydropower project in montana. we also have a number of amendments from other members from both sides of the aisle, and i'm hoping that we're going to be able to add them to the bill. for example, senator gillibrand has filed an amendment to extend the deadline for a hydro-project in her home state of new york. senator burr has filed an amendment to extend the deadline for a hydro project in his home state of north carolina. senator king -- excuse me, kaine has filed an amendment to extend the deadline for hydro-projects in his state of virginia. the and all of these projects
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would add power then to non-powered dams. and these projects already have licensedment bulicenses. but what they need is they need more time to deal with the technical and regulatory issues that often arise before the construction can begin. we've got a fair number of our western members that are prioritizing hydropower, understandably. senator barrasso is filing an amendment to activate the use of active capacity in southwest, wyoming. senators flake and feinstein have come together with an amendment to improve the way the army corps of engineers operates dams to increase their efficiency. isn't this just good commonsense? probably comes as no price -- i've got a couple of amendments that will benefit alaska, include one that will expand the existing project at terror lake and allow the local community, kodiak, to remain powered almost
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entirely by renewable energy. right now they're 99.7% powered by renewable energy, between wind and their hydro- capacity. we want them to get to that full 100%. it's pretty cool. and finally, i want to recognize the senator from massachusetts, senator markey, who has a proposal to encourage the development of pump storage hydropower assets. this is one of the best ways to store baseload power and technology that could really had especially to smooth out the intermi tency of -- intermitency of other programs. as we continue our voting and clearing process today, i'm confident that we will be able to accept many more of them. again, i want to acknowledge the work and the partnership that i have with senator cantwell on many of these hydro-issues. her state certainly enjoys the benefit of lower-cost energy because of the investments made in m hydro-.
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but we've got more work ahead of us. i know members are here anxious to talk on their amendments that they may have an interest in and moving towards this afternoon. but i'm glad to be back on the bill, and hopefully we will have an exciting and an energetic day. with that, i would yield to my ranking member. ms. cantwell: mr. chairman? the presiding officer: the senator from washington. ms. cantwell: mr. president, thank you. i want to make u thank my collee from alaska for her focus on the hydro bills that we may be focusing on here and just the focus of all my colleagues on hydropower and the ways we can continue to add to the efficiency of our resources and to make sure we are continuing to diversity. i think we've outline add good plan for today. we need the cooperation of our colleagues to keep moving on this legislation. we're going to have a couple of votes. i am so pleased my colleague
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from minnesota is here at tha tk about the energy efficiency resource standard. he has been a leader on this issue and believe yesterday, as i outlined some of the great states in this nation half already adopted what are called energy efficiency resource standards, has shown great success in saving both businesses and homeowners' costs. i think it is something i that will receive a lot of enthusiasm as we move forward. so i just want to again -- i know that we are -- we have many ideas -- that's what i like about this energy bill, that it has been bipartisan coming out of the committee and so far it's been bipartisan here on the senate floor working out these issues, and i hope that my colleagues understand that there will be a point where we do have to move off of of this bill, so hopefully with the cooperation of members we can make a great deal of progress today on
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additional votes besides the two that are pending and set some more votes for later this evening and also continue our process of getting some of these other issues resolved in the meantime. so, again, i thank our colleagues for turning their focus to this and their indulgence, and i thank my colleague for outlining where we've already been on the bill, as it relates to things we adopted last night, and the continued progress. i think it really does sum up to the fact that energy production, as our economy changes, needs to have the attention of our committee. we need to continue to be able to help empower this transformation that our economy is seeing on energy utilization and the good work, working together in a bipartisan fashion, helps us get there. it's good for our home orientation it's goo-- it's goor economy.
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the with -- it's good for homeowners, businesses, and our economy. with that, i yield the floor. mr. franken: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator minnesota. mr. franken: thank you, mr. president. i request to speak for up to 15 minutes. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. franken: thank you, mr. president. i rise today to talk about the importance of updating our nation's energy policy. i want to thank chairwoman murkowski and ranking member cantwell and their staffs for their hard work in crafting a bipartisan energy bill. congress hasn't passed a comprehensive energy bill since 2007, and a lot has changed in the energy sector since then. we've seen a transformation in renewable energy. electricity generation from wind power has grown by more than
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400%. wind energy now provides electricity for 20 million americans. the growth of solar energy is equally impressive. in it's early days, solar power was known for powering satellites and space stations. now we're seeing residential and utility-scale solar power becoming important components of the grid. since the passage of the last energy bill in 2007, our solar generation capacity has increased more than 2,000%. during that time, the cost of solar energy has dropped more than 60%. mr. president, we have to build on these trends and reorient our energy sector toward a clean energy future. comprehensive energy legislation needs to promote innovation, deploy clean energy technology,
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and create good-paying jobs. the bipartisan energy bill that we are currently debating is an important step forward. it improves our nation's energy efficiency through commonsense measures like updating building codes. it invests in energy storage, which will turn intermittent renewable energy into baseload power. it also helps states and tribes access funds to deploy more clean energy technologies. these are good measures, and that is why i voted to support this bill out of the energy committee. however, the current bill does not go far enough to fight the challenge of climate change. climate change presents a sputnik moment, mr. president, an opportunity to rise to the challenge and defeat the threat of climate change. in response to sputnik, we
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mobilized american ingenuity and innovation. we ended up not just winning the space race and sending a man to the moon, we did all sorts of great things for the american economy and for our society. by rising to the challenge of climate change, we can bet again on american ingenuity. we have the opportunity not just to clean up our air but also to drive innovation and create jobs, and that's why i am offering my american energy efficiency act as an amendment to this bill. this amendment, which is cosponsored by senators heinrich, warren, and sanders, establishes a national energy efficiency standard that requires electric and natural gas utilities to help their customers use their electricity more efficiently. this is something that 25 states
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-- 25 states are already doing. and what those programs have shown us is that energy efficiency standards work. our amendment will send market signals that we are serious about energy efficiency, mr. president. it will unleash the manufacturing and deployment of all kinds of energy efficiency -- energy-efficient products throughout our economy. it will help households and businesses save money on their electricity bills. and according to the american council for an energy-efficient economy, the experts in energy efficiency who rated the energy savings in the portman-shaheen bill, our amendment will generate more than three times
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the energy savings of the entire portman-shaheen energy efficiency title in the base bill. by the year 2030, our amendment will generate 20% energy savings across the country and result in about $145 billion in net savings to consumers. our amendment is modeled on the experience of states that have adopted energy efficiency standards. in fact, the first state to adopt efficiency standards was texas. and similar programs have been adopted by both red and blue states. and what we've seen with these programs is that they work. they are saving energy. and they are saving consumers money, both businesses and
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homes. my state of minnesota passed its energy efficiency standard under a republican governor, governor tim pawlenty, in 2007. we have a goal of 1.5% annual energy savings, and we don't just meet that goal; we exceed it. these energy efficiency standards also send a market signal to companies to innovate and deploy energy savings technologies. the state of arkansas set its energy savings targets in 2011, and according to the arkansas advanced energy foundation, the program has generated $1 billion in sales by energy efficiency companies. the standard has also helped
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create 9,000 well-paying jobs in the state. the program has been so successful that the state public service commission recently extended the energy-efficient goals through 2019. arizona implemented its energy efficiency savings targets in 2011. just three years after its implementation, arizona went from being 29th to the 15th most energy-efficient state in the country. through the program, utilities have saved electricity equivalent to powering 133,000 homes for one year. businesses and residents have already saved $540 million from reduced energy and water usage.
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these savings put more in people's pockets. that means more money for groceries, for a new car, or to pay for college. the states havn that energy efficiency standards work. we should learn from pennsylvania, from illinois, from colorado, and 22 other states and bring this successful experiment to the whole country. mr. president, i again want to applaud the efforts of senators murkowski and cantwell in bringing this bipartisan energy bill to the floor, and i want to urge my colleagues to support my amendment when it comes to a vote this afternoon. my amendment will make this good piece of legislation stronger. it will reduce emissions.
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it will save americans money. it will unleash clean energy innovation and jobs throughout the nation. mr. president, i urge all of my colleagues to vote "yes" on this amendment and to bet on our future. this is a sputnik moment. when we responded to sputnik, we did amazing things. this is a piece of this. and i urge my colleagues to support my amendment. thank you, mr. president. and i would suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from louisiana. mr. cassidy: mr. president, i speak on amendment 3192. the presiding officer: the senate is currently in a quorum call. mr. cassidy: i'm sorry. i ask that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cassidy: i speak to amendment 3192 which is revenue sharing, mr. president. and i will at some point yield to my colleague from louisiana, senator vitter, to further discuss. mr. president, the amendment to file today is a by-product of the work and bipartisan
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agreement among members representing the gulf, the atlantic and the arctic regions of our country. i specifically want to thank senators murkowski, warner, scott, vitter, kaine and senator thil list for their contribution to bring greater equity sharing. for years energy activity in coastal gulf states have produced billions of barrels of oil and trillions of cubic feet of natural gas for american energy consumers. the states along the gulf coast of the arctic, et cetera, have supported offshore energy development for the rest of the country providing the support for and paying for the infrastructure needed to bring this energy to market. with all this development, as you might guess, though, there's been increased costs associated with supporting this increased traffic. additional use of local and state resources as well as transportation corridors such as pipelines and trucks to get this energy delivered to those consumers driving vehicles all
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across the united states. maybe most importantly, in addition to the critical areas that support this energy supply, in my state in particular we're experiencing unparalleled land loss due to federal decisions as to how the lower mississippi river would be channeled for the benefit of the inland country as well as those efforts associated with this oil and gas development. we can see the effects of this unparalleled land loss when hurricanes katrina and rita hit our coast, there was no longer the wetlands that buffered the impact of tidal action. that wetlands had eroded so when those hurricanes hit, they hit with greater force, causing greater damage to our state. you only have to remember those news reports from new orleans after hurricane katrina to understand how devastating that could be. all related to decisions made by the federal government.
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so addressing these historic costs of hosting a capital intensive industry while ensuring resilient domestic energy supply can only be obtained through equitable revenue sharing. what louisiana does under our state constitution, with any revenue that is shared from the federal government related to drilling off the coast of the gulf of mexico, 100% is dedicated to coastal restoration. 100%. 100% dedicated to restoring the wetlands that would prevent another hurricane katrina from devastating new orleans or any other he coastal community in our state. by the way, there's other benefits for the rest of the country. through this amendment that we have filed, it would increase funding for the land water conservation fund by over $600 million. so the rest of the country benefits as well. so, this amendment brings greater equity and revenue sharing with the gulf states by lifting the gulf of mexico energy security act, or the
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gomesa revenue sharing cap while allowing midatlantic states to share in future revenue. all energy states deserve a share in the revenue. responsible rev sharing allows states hosting energy production to mitigate for the energy demands of energy production and allows states to make strategic investments ensuring future generations of resiliency for this infrastructure and vital natural resources. i would like to now yield to my colleague from louisiana, senator vitter, for his thoughts on this issue. mr. vitter: thank you, senator cassidy. mr. president, i also rise in strong support of this amendment, the cassidy amendment, which would increase revenue sharing with states for offshore oil and gas development. mr. president, revenue sharing is a critical issue that i have advocated with others for many years, certainly including senator cassidy, his predecessor
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and committee chair murkowski. i'm pleased that our coalition in support of this strong, positive concept has grown in recent years and it now includes colleagues from the midatlantic states. i'm particularly pleased that that's evidenced by this amendment being supported and coauthored by the two senators from virginia and senator scott. revenue sharing with oil and gas-producing states is, number one, fair to those states that incur real environmental and other costs due to production activity that benefits the nation. and, number two, it's good, positive, pro-american energy policy. now it's fair because, again, energy-producing states incur costs and impacts from that production, including environmental costs. and those states need to be
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properly compensated to deal with those real costs and impacts. but secondly, and just as importantly, this is positive, productive policy that furthers a pro-american energy agenda. it encourages the production of american energy. it incense domestic drilling and activity and domestic energy production over the long term. that energy production is essential to job creation and overall health of the economy. if it weren't for the oil and gas jobs that accompanied the energy sector boom earlier this decade, we would still be in a technical recession. one point i want to emphasize is that many of those jobs have been created by small firms in the oil and gas services industry and support sectors. these small business jobs are something i've highlighted in my role as chair of the committee on small business and
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entrepreneurship. this amendment before the senate, the cassidy amendment, would increase revenue sharing for gulf states and would -- it would establish revenue sharing for new production off of alaska and off of virginia, north carolina, south carolina and georgia. this is a clear gain for those states and those regions. but more importantly, it is a clear gain for the country because in the medium and long term we will get more american energy production and be more self-sufficient. let me be clear what revenue sharing means for states like my home of louisiana. in louisiana we spend 100% of those revenues on valid environmental work, specifically coastal restoration. we lose a football field of land in louisiana's coastal area just in coastal louisiana every 38
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minutes. think about that. close your eyes and picture a football field, losing that amount of louisiana coastal land every 38 minutes, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year, no time off for holidays or weekends. this is our most significant environmental issue by far in louisiana. and so our state has committed itself to spending all of the money we receive from revenue sharing to restoring and rebuilding and stabilizing our coast. this is vitally important for us. it's also vitally important for the rest of the country because louisiana supplies so much energy to the rest of the country, so much fisheries and fish and seafood to the rest of the country, and our ports in the midst of that coastal area are so vital to trade and commerce for the rest of the country. so again, what this amendment
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does is it expands revenue sharing to alaska and the mid-atlantic states, between 2027 and 2031, those states receive 37.5% of revenue sharing from oil and gas production off of their coast, which is what louisiana and the gulf states receive now. the amendment would also lift the cap on revenue sharing that the gulf states are burdened with under the gomesa act of 2006. under that law revenue sharing with gulf states is capped arbitrarily at $500 million a year, but in those operative years of this amendment, that would be increased to $1 billion a year. revenue sharing is vital when it comes to both adequately compensating the states that incur costs and impacts, so it's vital for fairness. but again, it's vital to encourage more american energy
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production and more self-sufficiency for our nation, not just the states impacted, that means growth, that means energy independence. that is a winning fact for our foreign policy, less dependence on unstable and sometimes very unfriendly nations in the middle east. we want to continue to play a critical role in meeting america's energy needs. we want to do that in louisiana. other states want to do that. this amendment and this concept will very much encourage us to do that and continue to forge a path of american energy independence, which is great for economic growth. mr. president, i want to briefly take a moment to compliment my colleague from louisiana, senator cassidy. he's worked very hard on this issue, this amendment, and other critical energy issues as a member of the energy committee. also before that, as a member of
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the house of representatives. i'm very grateful for this opportunity to work with him on this amendment and this concept. we've been working on the concept and furthering it for some time. so i urge all of my colleagues, mr. president, to support this commonsense pro-american energy, pro-american jobs amendment. this will move us in the right direction for energy independence, for economic growth, and for a sound foreign policy that decreases our reliance and dependence of any sort on nations in the middle east. with that, mr. president, i end and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call: the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. portman: madam president, i have six unanimous consent requests for committees to meet -- the presiding officer: the senate is in a quorum call. mr. portman: i ask that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. portman: madam president, i have six unanimous consent requests for committees to meet during today's session of the senate. they have the aapproval of the majority and minority leaders. i ask that these requests be agreed to and printed in the record. the presiding officer: without objection ment, so ordered. mr. portman: thank you, madam president. i see the absence of a quorum. i will be speaking later. i am awaitinwaiting senator sha.
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-- i am awaiting senator shaheen. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mrs. shaheen: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from new hampshire. mrs. shaheen: is the senate in a quorum call. the presiding officer: it is. hurricane katrina hoon i ask that the quorum call be lifted. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. shaheen: thank you. i am delighted to be on the floor again today with my good friend from ohio, senator portman, to discuss our energy efficiency bill, the energy efficiency and industrial competitiveness act, which is almost entire now part of the broad energy policy modernization act that is on the floor today. and the energy policy modernization act is a broad, bipartisan approach to improve our nation's energy policies on efficiency, infrastructure, supply, and accountability.
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and i want to thank the chair of the energy committee, senator murkowski, and ranking member cantwell for the good work that they've done to put together this bipartisan piece of legislation that is going to address a number of our energy challenges, also permanently reauthorize the land and water conservation fund. now, as i said, a fundamental component of this bill is what started out as shaheen-portman. now we call it portman-shaheen. but as my colleagues know, senator portman and i have been working on this energy efficiency legislation since we first introduced it in 2011. and i am a proponent of energy efficiency because it is the easiest, cheapest way to reduce energy costs, to combat climate change, and to create private-sector jobs. and, in addition to being affordable, energy efficiency benefits aren't confined to a
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certain fuel source, to a particular region of the country, and, you know, you can like efficiency if you are a supporter of fossil fuels or if you are a he a supporter of -- you're a supporter of new alternative energies. now, our piece of this comprehensive bill, as i said, represents nearly five years of meetings, negotiations, compromise, and broad stakeholder outreach. the end result is an affordable bipartisan approach to boost the use of energy efficiency technologies in manufacturing and buildings and across the federal government. and according for the american council for an energy-efficient economy, our efficiency imil would create near 200,000 jobs, reduce carbon emissions by the equivalent of taking 22 million cars off the road, and save consumers $16 billion -- with a "b" -- a year, and it does this
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with absolutely no mandates. and critical to the negotiation of this legislation has been the joint effort between senator portman and myself, between our staffs, to work out with stakeholder groups the concerns they had in the energy efficiency legislation and to come up with compromises that we all thought not only helped build support for the legislation but that actually make it a better bill. so on buildings, which use about 40% of our energy in this country, the proposals in our legislation would improve energy savings by strengthening outdated model building codes to make new homes and commercial buildings more energy-efficient. and again, i would point out it does that without any mandates. and it is carefully crafted agreement that has been negotiated with everyone from
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the homebuilders to the realtors to a number of our friends in labor. so i think this is a compromise, the language in the bill is a compromise that there is broad support for. the bill also encourages energy efficiency in the industrial sector, which consumes more energy than any other sector of our economy. and, again, the provisions in the legislation would encourage the private sector to develop innovative energy-efficient technologies for industrial ali indications -- applications, to invest in a workforce that is trained to deploy energy-efficiency practices to manufacturers, and would encourage the department of energy to work more closely with stakeholders on commercialization of new technologies. now, finally, the legislation -- the energy efficiency piece of this legislation would encourage the federal government, the nation's largest energy consumer, to adopt more efficient buildings standards
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and technologies like smart meters. with stronger efficiency standards for federal facilities, we can save taxpayers millions of dollars. senator portman and i have introduced our bill three times. each time this legislation has received broad bipartisan support from our senate colleagues, broad bipartisan support in the energy committee. it's received strong support from a diverse group of stakeholders, everyone from trade associations, the u.s. chamber of commerce, labor organizations, the environmental community, all i think because efficiency is something that we can all agree. -- we can all agree on. and at long last i am excited to see that the full senate is again taking up this legislation as part of a bigger, more comprehensive bill.
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i just -- before i turn it over to senator portman, who is here, i also just want to point out that there are two other provisions that i've been working on that are included in this comprehensive bill. one is smart manufacturing legislation which uses technology to integrate all aspects of manufacturing so that businesses can manufacture and use less energy. and the other provision deals with grid integration because, as we know, this is one of the issues that et committee took up -- that the committee took up as part of this bill, how do we address our aging transportation infrastructure? and it will include the broader spoken of energy storage. i think that's important to strengthen this nation's energy security. finally, madam president, i just with a nts to close by saying -- i just want to close by saying
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the senate is working this week on an energy bill for the first -- a comprehensive energy bill for the first time since 2007, if it becomes law. and we have seen a dramatic change in our economy since that time. we've seen a dramatic change in the world economy with respect to energy. the united states has greatly reduced our energy imports. we are now the world's top producer of oil and natural gas. in many places around the world electricity generated by renewable sources like wind and solar is now cheap enough to compete efficiently and effectively with electricity generated by fossil fuels. and just at the end of the year we saw more than 180 countries come together to form a global plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate the effects of climate change. so we are truly experiencing a revolution in energy production and energy technology, and it is
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way past time for the energy policies in america to catch up with that revolution. so, thank you again to the chair and ranking member and the entire energy committee. and again to my colleague, senator portman, for the great work that he has done and we have done together to bring this portion of the bill to the floor. i yield to senator portman. mr. portman: i thank my colleague from new hampshire and want to tell her that the third time is a charm, right? so we've had this bill on the floor twice now, and we really think this is the opportunity for us to do something good for our students and for our country. this is an opportunity for us to pass energy-efficiency legislation. it helps create more jobs, makes the environment cleaner, makes oiour businesses more competiti, makes us less dependent on foreign sources of oil, helps with the draid defici trade defe of that. i want to thank senator shaheen for her work on this. we have been working on it now
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for, gosh, four years ago. the last vote we had in the committee was a 22-0 vote. we've gotten more and more support as people have understood what we're doing and why it is so important for their states and our country. the economic growth in this last quarter was .7%. that's kind of discourage. you have to look around and say, what could we do to help get this economy moving again? and one area is energy. there's no question about it. and we believe our legislation will help. it is going to create jobs. we have a number out there -- senator shaheen talked about just under 200,000 jobs could be created by our legislation. we have an analysis that shows this. but this broader energy bill also would help. that's why we need to move forward with this. we are grateful that our legislation is part of this broader bill, the energy policy modernization act. the one that senator murkowski and senator cantwell has been talking about on the floor. i support that broader legislation also, as does
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senator shaheen, and we like it because it is a broader bill that looks at this energy issue as an all-of-the-above. we should be using various sources of energy but we should also be using what we have more efficiently. we're delighted that our legislation is title 1 of this broader bill. this is the opportunity for us to do something really good for the economy. this broader bill as well as our specific bism w bill. we think that our specific bill is really important with respect to jobs. one thing that i hear back home from our manufacturing companies, they'd like to become more competitive so they can create more jobs ohi in ohio ann america. we're starting to bring some jobs back. were unof the issues they're -- one of the issues they are a facing overseas is other countries are more energy-efficient, so they're
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competing with companies that have a lower cost to produce the same product. so one reason they're excited about this legislation and why the national association of manufacturers is for this legislation, has worked with us from the start, is that this provides them access to new technologies on energy efficiency that'll let them compete globally with other companies and create more jobs. this is going to bring more jobs to ohio, to new hampshire, to america. we like that about the legislation. it also has more jobs because these energy-efficiency retrofits are going to create more jobs and activity in the country. so as buildings become more efficient, you need workers to work on that. we have some training programs in our legislation to provide that workforce. energy independence -- this let us actually produce more energy here but use it more efficiently. i like producing more ans using less. it is a nice combination and it lets us say to other countries in the world, you know, we're
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going to be energy-independent, so we're not going to be subject to the dangerous and volatile parts of the world. we're going to be a net exporters over time. energy efficiency helps us to be able to do that. our trade deficit is driven by a couple of thifnlings i am a former u.s. trade representative. and, yes, countries like china and other countries aren't playing by the rules. that's a problem. and we need to address that. but another one is energy. we do need to bring in more energy than we're exporting. that helps our economy overall. improving the environment, senator shaheen talked about this, but the analysis she was using is 21 million cars being taken off the road is the equivalent savings that's in this legislation for emissions. and that's because of the energy efficiency. so this is for us to be much more energy efficient in terms of our economy and be competitive, but also to clean the environment. this is a good example of that. by the way, it's not a big
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regulatory approach as some other approaches are. it doesn't have any mandates in it, so it's not going to kill jobs. it's actually going to create jobs and help the environment. that's a good combination for us, and one that we're excited about because it's a way for us to both help the economy and help the environment. that's important, too. so we're excited about getting this across the finish line because we know it's the right legislation, it's the right time. we think there is an opportunity here for us to actually do something that's bipartisan, something that we can get through the house and to get to the president's desk for his signature. one reason we're excited about the prospects of getting something done is that we have so much support around the country. over 260 trade associations groups that now support this legislation. and by the way, they range from the national association of manufacturers, as i talked about earlier, to the sierra club, to the alliance to save energy to the united states chamber of commerce. that's not a group that normally gets together behind legislation, so this is an opportunity for us to get a lot of groups involved and focused
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because it does make good economic sense, good energy sense and good environmental sense. while helping others again in the private sector, the bill does not have mandates. i think that's very important. this is legislation that provides incentives but not mandates. the final piece i want to talk about is one that everybody should be for, and it's going to actually help reduce the costs of the federal government, therefore it would help us all as taxpayers, and that's to take on the federal government's efficiency challenge. the united states federal government we believe is the largest energy user in the united states and may well be the largest energy user in the world. and, you know, my view on this is let's practice what we preach. the federal government's talking about green technologies and energy efficiency and so on, but in our own federal government, we see huge gaps and huge opportunities, so this legislation goes after that and specifically puts in place requirements for the federal government to be much more efficient with how it uses energy. that will make a big difference in terms of everything we talked about with regard to the environment and the benefits of
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efficiency, but it also helps the taxpayer because at the end of the day, we will be spending less on energy for the federal government as taxpayers. so it's another part of this legislation that i think is really important and one where i would hope everybody would be supportive. overall, we believe this legislation will save consumers $13.7 billion annually in reduced energy costs. so this is a big deal. this is something that if we can get it through the senate this week and fete it through the house and get it to the president for his signature will make a real difference to the families i represent and all of us here in this chamber have the honor to represent. so i want to thank senator shaheen for her patience over four or five years working on this together with me and the good work that she has done and others have done to give us this opportunity to be able to help those folks who we represent with an all of the above energy strategy that's good for jobs, good for the environment, good for the taxpayer. thank you, madam president.
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mr. cornyn: madam president? the presiding officer: the majority whip. mr. cornyn: madam president, as the presiding officer knows, we are busy working to complete action on the energy policy modernization act, and i just want to start by saying some good words about the leadership of senator murkowski, the chairman of the energy committee and her ranking member, senator cantwell, who have gotten us to this point. unless we drop the ball here in the next couple of days,away ought to be able to wrap up our debate and deliberation on this very important bill that will help our country move forward with energy policies that reflect the time that we're living in.
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but i also think we ought to reflect on what those times are because it was just a few short years ago when all of the pundits and experts were predicting peak oil. in other words, all of the oil that could be discovered they said had been discovered, and we would then be in a period of decline from that point forward. we also in the united states found ourselves in the main dependent upon imported oil from the middle east. in other words, both of those have turned around because of the innovation and good old all-american know how, we now are exporting more energy. and to senator murkowski's credit, she led the effort to lift the ban on exporting crude oil, so now american-produced energy can be made available on world markets.
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and just as significantly, we can make sure our friends and allies around the world aren't captive of people like vladimir putin who use energy as a weapon and threatens to cut off the energy supply, particularly of those countries in its orbit in the baltics unless they are willing to go along with his heavy-handed tactics. so this is a really good story and this legislation will update the energy policies with that in mind and enable our country to continue to grow its role as a leading global energy power. i just pause here just to say that, you know, this is not just for people who come from an energy state like i do, like from texas or alaska or north dakota. really, the energy story is really the story of world history in so many ways. one of my favorite books is
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written by daniel jurgen, pulitzer prize winning author. one of the books he has written is called "the prize" which tracks the history of really the globe in an incredible sort of way, but he makes the point that so much of our history has been determined by the need for and attempt to gain access to reliable energy supplies and how important that is not only to our military to be able to fight and win our nation's wars but to our economy, to the businesses that need access to reasonably priced energy and to consumers, obviously. and we're seeing actually the benefit now, those of us who filled up our gas tank recently, of inexpensive gasoline prices because the price of oil has come down because of increased world supply. now, there comes a point where it is challenging to the
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industry, but they have been through ups and downs in the past and i'm sure they will make the appropriate adjustments. but in this legislation, in addition to addressing and modernizing our energy policies, we're doing things like modernizing the electric grid. that's what keeps the lights on at night and keeps our thermostats working when it's cold and we have snowstorms like we had here in washington recently. this bill will make our electricity supply more reliable and more economical in the long run. and just like we did with crude oil, this bill will help expedite the approval process for liquefied natural gas exports. you know, it's just amazing to me to think that just a few short years ago, we were building import terminals that would actually receive natural gas being exported from other countries to be brought here to the united states to help us with our energy needs, and now
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those have been retrofitted and reversed so that these export terminals are now exporting american energy to markets around the world. i wanted to spend just a couple of minutes talking about some amendments that i have offered to the underlying bill, and again, i must compliment the bill managers for working with various senators to try to work in either through a voice vote or by some acceptance of amendments provisions which are designed to improve this legislation. but my amendments that i want to mention now are designed to address texas needs and the american people needs from preventing overreach by the administration, particularly when it comes to our energy production and supply. one amendment that i offered specifically targets an upcoming rule offered by the bureau of safety and environmental
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enforcement known as bsee. bsee is an organization that most people are completely unaware of, but it set out to hand down a rule referred to as the so-called well-controlled rule that deals with highly technical and complex safety procedures for offshore wells. well, certainly since the b.p. blowout in the gulf of mexico, we've all become all too aware of the dangers of uncontrolled blowout of offshore drilling, but that's -- there has been a lot of really important study and work and education that's been acquired since that time and the industry has done a lot to make itself safer. you can imagine if you're a publicly traded company or if you're not a publicly traded company, you sure don't want to be in the middle of another crisis like we saw with the b.p. blowout in the gulf of mexico, for all sorts of reasons.
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people lost their lives, cost hundreds of millions of dollars, and of course the environmental impact along the gulf coast including states like texas. but in typical bureaucratic fashion, the bureau of safety and environmental enforcement, bsee, has refused to engage in discussions that might help clear up some confusion among stakeholders. they have been unailing to take the time to fully vet the negative impact on their proposed rules and to talk to the people who know the most about it, and that would be the people who would be most affected by the rule. my amendment would require bsee to propose to resubmit the rule but first by taking additional comments from stakeholders and it would require the rule-making organization to have additional workshops with industry experts so that everybody can understand what they're trying to accomplish and to do it more efficiently and better.
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you know, so often, the very people who have the most expertise are the industry that the government tries to regulate, and i know there is a natural reluctance to try to consult with and learn from the regulated industry, but the fact of the matter is often -- and it's true in this case -- it's that industry that understands the process and both the risks and what protective measures need to be taken in order to accomplish the objective. and so rather than just issuing a rule that's complex and highly technical without consulting the stakeholders or sitting down and having a reasonable conversation trying to figure out okay, what are you trying to accomplish, have you thought of this, have you thought of doing it a different or better way, that doesn't happen, and unfortunately that's where we are with bsee. in addition, i have introduced an amendment that would protect property owners along a 116-mile
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stretch of the red river which borders the states of texas and oklahoma. this has to do with another bureaucracy called the bureau of land management. a few years ago, the bureau of land management claimed to actually own tens of thousands of acres along the red river. as you can imagine, that came as quite a shock to the people who thought they owned that property, and now many of them are stuck today fighting the united states government, their government in court to reclaim the property that is rightfully theirs. well, my amendment would help protect these landowners from this massive land grab. it would require a legitimate survey of the land in question to be conducted and approved by the authority. it seems so commonsensical but unfortunately common sense isn't all that common when you see the bureaucracy at work. with this amendment, these
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landowners would finally get a reasonably efficient means of resolution to this frustrating abuse of federal government power. another amendment that i have offered would address how states, counties and other affected parties enter into a conversation about the endangered species act. too often, states and local communities, not to mention private property owners, are left in the dark while interest groups that they don't know much about and conduct closed door discussions with federal authorities about potential listing of endangered species. my amendment would give all of the stakeholders the opportunity to have a seat at the table and to have a conversation. it doesn't seem like a lot to ask. so that both the regulators and the regulated can talk about the real impact those regulations will have on their daily lives
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and to better inform the regulatory process. these amendments get to different specific problems, with a -- but the common theme uniting them is the desire to try to lessen the interference by the government in our everyday lives. by pushing back against overbearing, costly regulations that don't actually accomplish the goal that even the regulators say they want to accomplish, and ensuring that state and local communities and stakeholders play a role in this conversation which is -- which should be part of the regulatory process, the american people would be better served by this legislation. so as we continue these discussions on this bill, i hope my colleagues will continue this amendment and others like them to help get the government out of the way or to help correct the bureaucracy when it is misguided and misinformed about how actually to accomplish consensus goals.


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