Washington, Jul 24 - CLICK HERE TO WATCH

Mr. Speaker, in our country, Americans debate, argue and discuss all types of issues. And because of the type of people we are, we seldom agree on everything. Almost any issue you bring before the American public, it is evenly split on most issues, about 50/50, sometimes a little more than others.

   But today, 73 percent of all Americans believe we ought to drill offshore. That is a phenomenal number. 73 percent of Americans don't really agree on hardly anything, but they agree on drilling offshore because the American public gets it. They understand we need more crude oil, Mr. Speaker. And the only way we can get gasoline is from crude oil. And the offshore drilling ban by the President has been lifted.

   The only thing standing between us and energy independence offshore is Congress. Congress has handcuffed the American public's will to drill offshore.

   This map shows where we drill currently, Mr. Speaker. The section down here in the Southeast, where the blue markers are, now, I represent part of the State of Texas, and proud to do so. But we only drill in this country off the shore of Texas, Louisiana, parts of Mississippi, and parts of Alabama.

   But yet, you see all of this red section, off of our shores, and in all of those areas there are places where there is crude oil on the bottom of the ocean. But yet, Congress won't let us drill there. There are a lot of reasons for that. They are all political, and they are all nonsense because there is oil out there.

   Seventy-three percent of the American public say we ought to drill. We need help. Gasoline prices are too high. We can't afford to go to work. And even in California, 53 percent of the people who live on the West Coast in California say, for the first time in recent memory, that we ought to drill off that coast as well because there is crude oil out there in the Pacific. But because of political reasons and reasons that really don't make much sense we are not taking care of ourselves.

   One argument is that we can't drill safely, that those oil rigs out there in the Gulf of Mexico and off the east and west coast will cause environmental damage because there will be pollution from that crude oil that would seep from those oil rigs. That is not correct, Mr. Speaker.

   Give you the best example. In 2005, two hurricanes came blasting through my congressional district in Southeast Texas. Their names were Katrina and Rita. They came from Louisiana and Texas. Hundreds of offshore rigs in this area where we do drill were damaged or completely destroyed. But yet, we didn't hear 1 word about those rigs causing pollution from crude oil seepage from the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, and the reason was it didn'thappen. Those massive valves that sit on the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico called Christmas trees, that are made in Houston, Texas, by the way, they shut down. That crude oil was not allowed to escape and there was no environmental damage.

   But still we hear this hue and cry. We can't drill safely. There is pollution. Crude oil will pollute our shores. Let's look at some facts instead of hysteria.

   Pollution from crude oil. Here is where it comes from off our shores. Mother Nature is the biggest culprit. 63 percent of the pollution of crude oil that comes a shore is from Mother Nature.

   The second is boating, 32 percent. Tankers cause 3 percent. And if you look at that little bitty line over there on the end, Mr. Speaker, 2 percent comes from offshore drilling. Mother Nature is the culprit, not offshore drilling. We can drill offshore safely.

   We need to take care of ourselves. If we allow the opening of the Outer Continental Shelf, two good things will happen. Those oil companies will have to pay a lot of money for the right to drill offshore. That brings revenue into the Federal Treasury, to the taxpayers. And we ought to let States that do allow offshore drilling, no matter which State it is, get a portion of that offshore lease revenue, and let them use it in their states for whatever they wish, like education, transportation, health care, whatever they wish.

   Secondly, thousands, literally thousands of high-paying jobs will be created if we allow offshore drilling, plus we will have the crude oil, then the gasoline and be able to reduce the price. That is not the only answer, offshore drilling, but it is one of the answers.

   And we are not doing anything. Like my grandfather used to say, when all is said and done, more is said than done. And we haven't done anything this week. We could be 1 week up on offshore drilling if we just took the handcuffs off of America and allowed offshore drilling.

   $425 million dollars a day goes to Saudi Arabia from the American taxpayers to buy crude oil. $425 million. That money needs to stay home. We need to take care of ourselves.

   And that's just the way it is.