Mr. President, The conference report on H.R. 6, the comprehensive energy legislation, was released over the weekend. As the Ranking Member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, I have come to the floor today to share my deep concern that this bill will endanger our environment and benefit special interests. The final conference report contains provisions that significantly change environmental law and undermine long-standing environmental protections. It is my sincere hope that the conferees will remove many of these provisions during their meeting today. The Environment and Public Works Committee, on which I serve, has jurisdiction over environmental matters, and we were not consulted in the development of any of these provisions. This bill drastically re-writes existing clean air laws. It postpones ozone attainment standards across the country. This is a matter never considered in either House or Senate bill that has been inserted into the conference report. By inserting this language, the conferees will expose the public to dangerous air pollution emissions for far more time than under existing law. Several federal courts have already struck down regulatory proposals similar to the provisions in the conference report as violations of the Clean Air Act. The gasoline additive MTBE, which is known to contaminate groundwater, would have been phased out in four years in the Senate bill. This conference report extends the phase out for a decade, and includes provisions that would allow the President to decide to continue MTBE use. This bill provides legal immunity to large petrochemical companies from "defective product" liability arising from the contamination of groundwater supplies by MTBE. It also terminates a lawsuit filed by the State of New Hampshire by reaching back to provide immunity as of September 5, 2003. Mr. President, this language allows a contaminating product to be used, possibly indefinitely, and provides communities with no fiscal remedies to clean it up. As a further subsidy to industry, the bill exempts all construction activities at oil and gas drilling sites from coverage under the runoff requirements of the Clean Water Act. This means that contaminants, such as toxic chemicals, grease, and other pollutants from oil and gas drilling will end up in our waterways. Conferees have also removed hydraulic fracturing, an underground oil and gas recovery technique, from coverage under the Safe Drinking Water Act. This is a process in which water, sand, and toxic chemicals are injected under high pressure into oil- and gas-bearing rock, potentially polluting drinking water supplies. This bill suspends these existing drinking water protections, even though courts have found that hydraulic fracturing should be regulated to protect public health. The conferees have included language to speed up energy exploration and development at the expense of environmental review and public participation on both federal and non-federal lands. The public will have less time to review and consider the impact of these projects. When these reviews occur, oil, gas and geothermal energy companies can be reimbursed through credits against future royalties payable to the taxpayer for the costs of undertaking environmental assessments. These provisions subsidize energy development on our public lands. The conferees have also included provisions that mandate specific timeframes and deadlines for agency decisions on federal oil and gas leases. This would establish oil and gas development as the dominant use of our federal public lands. Our other federal lands are at risk of becoming electric transmission corridors with this bill as well. The Department of Energy can open new areas for transmission line construction, harming the wildlife, water quality, recreational and other values we have sought to protect. My colleagues should know that this is not an exhaustive list of the environmental provisions of concern in this bill. In almost every title, there are significant changes to long standing environmental law and policy. In addition, important issues with majority support in the Senate, such as a Renewable Portfolio Standard for electricity, requirements to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and adoption of sensible climate change policy have been dropped. While I support the establishment of a comprehensive energy policy for the United States, we should not use the final energy bill as a means to roll back important environmental protections. This bill will not promote energy self-sufficiency, and will cause environmental damage. It my sincere hope that these unwise provisions will be removed, and I urge my colleagues to consider seriously the environmental effects of this legislation in making their final decisions regarding whether to support this measure.