Texas lawmakers comment on energy bill inspired by Deepwater Horizon disaster

This post was written by Jennifer Dlouhy of the Washington bureau

Lawmakers from Texas are playing a high-profile role today as the House debates a broad energy bill inspired by the Deepwater Horizon disaster. For the Texans, the legislation strikes close to home (and to their constituents back home) by making major changes to the laws governing offshore drilling and responding to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Here is a sampling of their comments on the House floor today:

Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas:

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Congressional photo

Rep. Kevin Brady

“This bill is a thinly disguised permanent roadblock to American energy. It will drive american companies out of the Gulf, delay future drilling, increase dependence on foreign oil, kill 300,000 good-paying U.S. energy jobs, levy a new $22 billion tax on American energy but not on foreign oil.”
“It includes a protectionist measure that the White House itself is troubled about, that invites retaliation, that will kill jobs.”
“This is a choice between american energy workers and foreign oil. No Texas lawmaker — no Gulf state lawmaker — can support this bill and say they truly care about energy workers jobs in America.”

Rep. Gene Green, D-Texas:

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Diana Carlton/Hearst Newspapers

Rep. Gene Green

“It will kill jobs and increase our reliance on foreign oil and has become a vehicle for controversial and extraneous provisions that do not address the issue at hand: the safety of our offshore oil and gas production.”
“I strongly support making production safer and cleaner, whether it’s offshore or on land or in our industrial facilities. (I have) no question at all about unlimited liability on the responsible party for environmental cleanups. But this bill goes so far that it would make it (liability) unlimited for economic damage.”
“It puts at serious risk the competitiveness of the Gulf of Mexico.”
“Effective legislation could have been achieved that would ensure continued development of the Gulf resources.”

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas:

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Official photo

Eddie Bernice Johnson

“While this legislation cannot stem the oil that continues to gush into the Gulf of Mexico, it takes solid strides forward to preventing an event from occurring in the future.”
“As a Congress, it is our duty to look forward and ensure we have protections in place for future similar spills in these deep-water areas. We also need to review the current oil and gas regulations and ensure that we have safe environmental protections in place for all types of offshore and onshore operations and facilities.”
“This will help to make sure we are better prepared going forward.”

Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas:

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Diana Carlton/Hearst Newspapers

Kevin Brady

“It’s going to cause more people to lose jobs.”
“At a time when we’re billions of dollars behind on what we need to spend to keep our parks on federal land that’s owned right now, this bill irresponsibly adds $900 million per year for 30 years (for park land purchases). It’s not enough that we’re going to put children for generations in debt, now we’re going to keep spending money that they don’t want spent.”
“Please, for goodness sake, let’s stop the bleeding, and, in this case, the gushing force of this nation’s blood and its tax dollars, and vote this down.”

Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas:

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AFP photo

Rep. Joe Barton

“I’m not opposed to improving safety and regulation in the OCS, but I do want OCS drilling to continue.”
“In my opinion, with the taxes in this bill, with the punitive nature of this bill, if it were to pass and become law, we would not have OCS drillin