RECENT VOTES

Energy

On Tuesday the House considered H.R. 6899: Comprehensive American Energy Security and Consumer Protection Act. Let me be clear at the outset, this bill is a classic compromise between those who oppose expanding drilling and those who believe it will help to lower energy costs. Without this compromise we were faced with the very real possibility that the current moratorium on drilling would expire and drilling would be allowed anywhere in the U.S. as close as 3 miles off the coast without any protections. H.R. 6899 would only allow drilling between 50 and 100 miles offshore, if a state passes legislation permitting such activity. If a state does not take this proactive step, then drilling will not proceed.

Drilling between 3 miles and 50 miles off the coast of the United States would be prohibited. H.R. 6899 does specifically exempt Georges Bank from drilling due to its high value as a fishery. Drilling in marine sanctuaries and marine monuments would also be prohibited, including in Stellwagen Bank. All new drilling fees would be deposited into a new Strategic Energy Reserve Fund and used to support the cost of legislation to increase domestic alternative energy, promote conservation, and conduct research on renewable energy. Funds could also be used for home heating and weatherization assistance. H.R. 6899 also includes $750 million in transit grants for urban areas over the next two fiscal years. If the full amount is appropriated, Massachusetts could receive $35 million in each of the next two fiscal years with $24 million of that amount going directly to the MBTA. It extends solar and wind production tax credits, provides $2.6 billion in energy conservation bonds, and $1.75 billion in clean renewable energy security bonds to install natural gas pumps at gas stations.

The legislation restores a ban on exporting Alaskan oil and requires oil companies to "use it or lose it" by drilling where they are already permitted to do so or risk losing their leases on the land in question. I do not think that drilling today will translate into lower prices at the pump tomorrow and I do not think that drilling will solve all our energy problems. I supported H.R. 6899 because I think it balances calls for expanded drilling with other initiatives to address our country's energy needs. I voted YES. H.R. 6899 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
DEMOCRAT

221

13

0

1

REPUBLICAN

15

176

0

8

TOTAL

236

189

0

9

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

10

0

0

0