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Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It has been said by folks that Washington, DC., is the only place in America that is surrounded by reality because people here, especially in Congress, those people say, are in a Disney World atmosphere and don't know how the world really is.
Probably the best example is what has taken place throughout our country in the area of gasoline prices. They are going up every day. Every day we come back to Congress, gasoline prices continue to rise. And there's a constant problem here. Retail operators who run those mom-and-pop independent gasoline stations are saying they're not even making a profit off of gasoline. They hope maybe they can make one cent a gallon. The way they make profit is selling lottery tickets and donuts, and the country continues to see higher and higher gasoline prices.
It's a tremendous problem that we have to deal with. We have to come out of this Disney World atmosphere and solve the problem. Some say what is going to save us all is ethanol. Let's take all of the farmland in America, let's till it up, let's grow some corn, and let's make some of that unproven, unpredictable ethanol to burn in our vehicles.
Of course, what we have done as a Nation by encouraging and subsidizing the special interest group of ethanol, we've raised the corn prices worldwide. In fact, they have tripled in the last 2 years. And because corn prices are going up, wheat prices are going up. And in the last 17 years, food prices inthe world are higher than they ever have been, all because the United States has seen this vision that ethanol is going to save us all.
Several years ago, those who talked about ethanol that weren't for the concept of ethanol said ethanol is not going to be profitable unless gasoline gets to $4 a gallon. Four years ago, people in this House said, oh, that's never going to happen. The problem with ethanol is it takes a gallon and a third of fuel, diesel, to produce a gallon of ethanol. And only when gasoline gets to be $4 a gallon will ethanol be profitable for this country.
In fact, it's driving up pollution. Science Magazine has stated, "After taking into account worldwide land-use changes, corn-based ethanol will increase greenhouse gases 93 percent compared to gasoline over a 30-year period."
In other words, the House was trying to be environmentally correct. We want to make sure we don't have pollution. Nobody wants pollution. Nobody wants greenhouse gases; but unproven, subsidized ethanol is going to raise worldwide greenhouse gases all because we're tilling up our farmland.
I have here a map of the United States. Now we're also finding out where the Mississippi River dumps into the Gulf of Mexico, there is a dead zone, and there is a dead zone there for various reasons. But because we're plowing up all in the Midwest this farmland and making corn, which takes a lot of fertilizer, that fertilizer is going down the Mississippi River, and the dead zone at the mouth of the Mississippi River is getting bigger. ``Dead zone'' means exactly what it says: Nothing grows there and fish don't live there, all because of this concept of ethanol.
So what are we doing about it? Well, first thing Congress did, we're going to punish those oil companies, those American oil companies, and we are going to tax them, raise the taxes on these oil companies, and that's what Congress did. Now it's a simple economic fact. You tax something, you get less of it. What does that mean? That means if you tax something, you're going to get less production. You're going to get less production of crude oil.
Now, we don't drill off our own shores. We're the only Nation in the world that doesn't take care of ourselves with the natural resources that we have been given. The only place we drill offshore, Mr. Speaker, is right here in this blue zone off the State of Texas where I'm from, off the State of Louisiana and parts of Mississippi and Alabama. But you see in all of these areas that are red on this map, there is crude oil out there in the ocean, but we don't drill out there even though crude oil is there.
In fact, we're going to see some new platforms out in the Gulf of Mexico, but they're not from America. Right here off the coast of Florida, right there at the tip, there is an oil site, but we're not drilling there because we don't drill offshore. So the next oil rig you will see out in the Gulf of Mexico will be built by the Cubans and the Chinese. They're drilling in areas that we ought to be drilling in because it has been said in this House we can't drill offshore safely. That is wrong.
I live in the area that was hit by Katrina and Hurricane Rita, and when those two hurricanes came through that area, 700 offshore rigs were damaged or destroyed. But yet, we didn't hear one word about crude oil seepage from the Gulf of Mexico because it did not happen.
We have the greatest technology in the world for drilling, and we can drill safely, we've proven that. We've drilled safely, and we will continue to drill safely.
And that's just the way it is.
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