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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  June 7, 2012 5:00pm-8:00pm EDT

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quorum call:
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mr. reid: i ask that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: mr. president, i now ask we proceed to executive session to consider calendar number 607, the nomination of andrew david hurwitz to be united states district judge for the ninth circuit. the presiding officer: without objection, the clerk will report. the clerk: nomination, andrew
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david hurwitz of arizona to be united states circuit judge for the ninth circuit. plifd i send a cloture vote to the desk with respect to that nomination. can comploik cloture motion, in accordance with rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate move to bring to a close to the debate on the nomination of andrew david hurwitz, signed by 17 senators as follows --. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the reading of the names be waived. cons the mandatory quorum be waived, at 4:30 on june 11 there be up to 60 minutes of debate on the motion to invoke cloture, equally divided the two leaders or their designees. that the senate vote to invoke cloture. further, if cloture is not invoked, the motion to proceed to s. 2034 be agreed to.
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at 2:15, upon disposition of the hurwitz nomination the senate resume legislative session, the motion to proceed s. 3240 be agreed to. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask we resume legislative session. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent we proceed in a period of morning business with senators allowed to speak up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the agricultural committee be discharged from further work on s. 3261. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: s. 3261 a bill to allow the chief of the forest service to award certain contracts for large tankers. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection. the committee is discharged. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the bill be read a third time, passed, the motion to
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reconsider be laid on the table, any statements related to this matter appear in the report at the appropriate place as if given. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: less than a week ago we had two pilots killed in nevada fighting fires with one of these airplanes, just old, old, old, and i appreciate the work of the senators who worked so hard to get this done. this is an important piece of legislation. it will allow us to do a better job of fighting fires when we have these large air tankers new. the old ones are really, really old. i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to the consideration of h.r. 58883, which was received at the house and is at the desk. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: h.r. 5883, an act to make a technical correction in public law 112-108. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the bill be read three times, passed, the motion to
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reconsider be laid on the table, there be no intervening action or debate, any related statements be printed in the record as if read. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to the consideration of h.r. 5890. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: h.r. 5890, an act to make -- to correct a technical error in public law 112-122. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the bill be read three times, passed, motion to reconsider be laid on the table, there be no intervening action or debate, any statements related to this matter be placed in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the judiciary committee be discharged from s. res. 564. the presiding officer: without objection, the clerk will report. the clerk: s. res. 456, a resolution to the late fang lee
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jur and the people of china and the cause of free tkofplt. the presiding officer: without objection the committee is discharged. mr. reid: i don't know of any further debate on this resolution. the presiding officer: is there further debate? if not, the question is in adoption of the resolution. all those in favor say aye. all those opposed say no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the preamble be agreed to, the motion to reconsider be laid on the table, there be no intervening action or debate, any statements related to this matter be placed in the record as if read. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: mr. president, i now ask we have permission to proceed to s. res. 488. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: s. res. 488, commending the efforts of the firefighters and emergency response personnel of maine, new hampshire, massachusetts, and connecticut who came together to extinguish the may 23, 2012, fire at port sphugt naval
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shipyard in maine. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent that the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, the motion to reconsider be laid on the table. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: mr. president, we have worked hard, not as hard as i would have liked or not as long hours as i would like and not accomplished as much as i would like. but this is the last day for this group of pages. these spring pages have been exemplary. i really enjoy walking past them out there studying. they're sitting here as we see them now. i just -- i wish i could have been a page. i really do. i think it would be a great life. we've done a much, much better job of making sure they are safe and happy. when i first came here, the
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pages lived wherever they could find a place to live. but now we have wonderful, safe, secure dormitories for these young men and women. we have a wonderful, wonderful educational program for them. it's hard. no one can say it's easy. two of my granddaughters have been pages and it really changed their lives. they came back here not really having much interest in government. by the time they left, they had started reading newspapers -- not like you and i, mr. president. they did most of the reading online, but they were interested in government, and they still are. one is, i guess they are both seniors now, one at new york university and one at the new school in new york. one of my prized possessions in my office is i have a picture of my two -- my first two grandchildren, these two little
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girls, ryan and mattie. they are there in diapers, you know, they're hanging on to each other. then i have a picture right on the same little desk or whatever it's called, table i guess is what it is, and they are in their page uniforms. that's a wonderful picture for me. it shows progress of people's lives. it's really meaningful to me. i can say this to these pages: this would be an opportunity that they will never forget. this is -- they will make friends here who will be friends for the rest of their lives. mr. president, you and i know that the friends you make when you're young are just so important to you as you proceed through life. i still love to pick up the phone and call some of the young
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men. in fact, i talked to a woman today who i went to school with. that's good. that's what life is all about. make good friends and maintain that friendship. they've seen some things in the senate that i think will be in the history books forever. we passed the surface transportation bill. we passed the violence against women act. we passed the export-import bank, postal reform. we passed that. we're in the process of trying to resolve the student loan debate. we worked on that. it was something that we were able to move on through this body. we passed the paycheck fairness -- we didn't, but we've been involved for a long time on the paycheck fairness act. and they have been able to watch all this. and they can go home and tell their friends and family. they'll relate to stuff all the time because they know now how
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the foundation of the government works. they have been here. and so i appreciate personally everything that they have done. senator mcconnell is going to speak to the pages tomorrow. i'm not going to be able to be here. but he will tell those assembled that he's speaking on our behalf, and i appreciate that very much. mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its business today the senate adjourn until 2:00 p.m. on monday, june 11. following the prayer and pledge, the journal of proceedings be approved to date the morning hour deemed expired and the time for the two leaders be reserved for use later in the day. and when the senate convenes on monday, the senate will resume consideration of the farm bill postcloture. we're working on agreement to move that bill forward. there will be a cloture vote at 5:30, as i announced, on andrew hurwitz.
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and following the statement of my esteemed republican colleague, the republican leader, senator mcconnell, i ask that we adjourn following his remarks under the previous order that's already been entered. the presiding officer: without objection. the senate stands adjourned until 2:00 p.m. on monday, june until 2:00 p.m. on monday, june
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>> they're often referred to as the conscience of the congress and not your living there almost two years, i can't think of a better name. and destroy the heartbeat of the
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people. the council of the congressional black caucus and angela wright on the role of today's caucus. >> it is designed to a sure that members can come together on issues like in the at large on the issues that may be taking districts to discuss legislative proposals to dance people that don't have a voice. >> mr. gorbachev, tear down this wall. [cheers and applause]
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>> today, senator john mccain current member of the armed services committee and senator joe lieberman, chairman of the homeland security committee came to the floor to address why they believe the administration needs to take action in syria apart from the united nations.hould their remarks or 25 minutes. >> it should come as no surpriss to any of our colleagues in detd a certain weeks. icons horrific news of a massacre that bashir al-sadr's forces committed in the syrian town of jula. at least 108 civilians, the majority of them women and children, are now believed to have been killed, some from repeated shelling by assad's
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tanks and artillery, but most slaughtered in their homes and executed in the streets. survivors describe a scene so gruesome that even after 16 months of bloodshed and more than 10,000 dead, it still manages to shock the conscience. there are now reports of another massacre by assad's forces with as many as 78 syrians dead and that syrian authorities are blocking access to the scene for the u.n. monitors on the ground. these massacres of civilians are sickening and evil, but it's only the latest and most appalling evidence there's no limit to the savagery of assad and his forces. they will do anything, kill anyone, and stop at nothing to hold on to power. and what has been the response of the united states and the rest of the civilized world to this most recent mass atrocity in syria? more empty words of scorn and condemnation, more hollow
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pledges that the killing must stop, more strained expressions of amazement at what has become so tragically commonplace. indeed, as jeffrey goldberg has noted, administration officials are now at risk of running out of superlative adjectives and adverbs with which to condemn the violence in syria. they've called it -- quote -- "heinous, outrageous, unforgivable, breathtaking, disgraceful" and many other synonyms for the same. i don't know what else they can call it, and yet the killing goes on. the administration now appears to be so desperate that they're returning to old ideas that have already been tried and failed. let me quote from a "new york times" article that appeared on may 27. quote -- "in a new effort to halt more than a year of bloodshed in syria, president obama will push for the departure of president bashir al-assad under a proposal modeled on the transition in another strife-torn arab
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country, yemen. the success of the plan hinges on russia, one of mr. assad's staunchest allies, which is strongly opposed to his removal. this is a case history repeating itself as farce. trying to enlist russia in a policy of regime change in syria is exactly what the administration spent months doing earlier this year and that approach was decisively rejected by russia when it vetoed a toothless sanctions resolution in the u.n. security council in february. and how is this recycled policy working out? well, last week a human rights organization disclosed that on may 26, a russian ship delivered the latest russian supply of heavy weapons to the assad regime in the port of tartus. last friday, the russian foreign minister issued a statement on the jula massacre and blamed it on the opposition. president putin, after blowing off a trip to washington in
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favor of a visit to europe, suggested that foreign powers were also to blame for the jula massacre. he went on to reject further sanctions on the assad regime and to deny that russia is shipping any relevant weapons to assad. not to be outdone, the russian foreign minister also last week described the situation in syria this way -- quote -- "it takes two to dance, although this seems less like a tango and more like a disco, where several dozens are taking part at once." you might think this alone would be enough to disabuse the administration of its insistence against all imperial evidence that russia is the key to ending the violence in syria. you might think so but you'd be wrong. asked last week whether he could envision some kinds of military inter-- kind of military intervention in syria without a u.n. security council resolution which is subject to a russian and chinese veto, the secretary of defense said, no, he cannot
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envision it. similarly, the white house spokesman, jay carney, rejected the idea of providing weapons to the syrian people to help them defend themselves, saying that would lead to -- quote -- get this -- get this -- "if we supplied weapons to the syrian resistance -- quote -- "it would lead to chaos and carnage." and that it would "militarize the conflict." and that it would memorize the conflict. it would militarize the conflict after more than 10,000 slaughtered by bashir al-assad with russian weapons, iranians on the ground and it would militarize the conflict. it is difficult to muster a response to statements and actions such as these. u.s. policy in syria is subject to the approval of russian leaders who are arming assad's forces and believe the slaughter of 10,000 people in syria can be
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compared to a disco party. the administration refuseds even to provide weapons to syrians who are struggling and dying in an unfair fight for fear of, quote, militarizing the conflict. if only the russians and iranians and al qaeda shared that lofty sentiment. i pray president obama will realize what president clinton came to understand during the balkan wars. president clinton who took military action to stop ethnic cleansing in bosnia and did so in kosovo without but you and security council mandate ultimately understood when regimes are willing to commit any atrocity to stay in power diplomacy cannot succeed until the military balance of power changes on the ground. as long as assad and his foreign supporters think they can win militarily which they do they will continue fighting and more
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syrians will die. short military intervention of some kind is a prerequisite to the political resolution of the conflict we all want to achieve. the question i posed to my colleague from connecticut and the administration is this -- how many more have to die? how many more have to die? how many more young women have to be raped? how many more young syrians are going to be tortured and killed? how many more? how many more? before we will act? how many more? on would like to also ask when will the president of the united states speak up in favor of these people who are fighting and dying for freedom? i think my colleague from connecticut for his continued involvement, we shared the same experiences that i had in refuge decamps, meeting people who have been driven out of their homes,
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family members killed and tortured, young women raped as a matter of policy and doctrine of the assad forces. >> madam president. >> senator from connecticut. >> it is an honor to join in this colloquy with my friend from arizona though i take no pleasure in it because it is an outcry of the heart about the slaughter going on in syria with government telling its own people to maintain its own presence in power and it is an outcry, victims of brutal violence of the bashir al-assad
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regime in damascus, essentials the words of condemnation, words of sympathy but those words were the few cellphones we have given them, those syrian freedom fighters don't stand up against assad's tanks and guns and the brutality of his forces. the answer to the question my friend from arizona opposed how many more people have to be killed? too many people have already been killed. it is time for the u.s. to show some leadership and senator mccain and i are not calling for american troops on the ground in syria and we are not calling for the united states alone to take action here. there is a coalition of willing. if we continue to say we are not going to take action to help victims of 0 assad's brutality until and unless we get
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authorization, never going to be any help to go to these victims in syria. the russians and chinese will veto any you and resolution. any time we say we have to go to the un we raise the power of russia to protect its ally in damascus that there the coalition of the welding throughout the arab world and some in europe and elsewhere which will not act until the united states shows some leadership here. and i put this in a historical context. after the nazi holocaust of the last century the world said never again. never again. we have kept that pledge in some cases such as bosnia and those of low vote took too long.
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too many were people were killed after the world acted and another places we turned away from the slaughter of people there and once again we are challenged to showed the victims whether we are true to our words. i read something a few days ago in the washington post, an article drawing parallels between the genocide in bosnia and the 90s and the killing taking place in syria today. there was a 37-year-old survivor of the massacre in bosnia that finally got the world to get involved who said it is bizarre hall never again -- i am quoting now--how never again has come to mean again and again. it is obviously live in a world where from beneath thes -- still
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possible. what is happening in syria today is almost identical to what happened in bosnia two decades ago. end of quote. what is the world waiting for? thousands are killed on a single day by their own government before we act? i hope not. that is why we speak out today. within the hour a story was posted on reuters news service out of beirut's six hours after tanks and militiamen returned to find only charred bodies among the homes of his once tranquil hamlet. he is quoted as saying there was smoke rising from the buildings and a horrible smell of human flesh burning. the man who told how he watched
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syrian government troops and the government sponsored gangs and militias, gunmen attacked the village as he hid in his family olive grove. it was like a ghost town he told the reporter. senator mccain and i have been explicit for serve period of time. we have been to turkey and lebanon to talk to leaders of the opposition and people in refuge decamps and they simply say to us as americans you are our only hope. is from a people whose government has been determined in its anti american posture, the assad government and the people turn to west as people always do in a time of crisis around the world and say this is
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what america is about. and we will not be saved unless you get involved. i hope this moves our government from words to action that we talked about actions which support arms to opposition fighters, training of opposition fighters, save havens in turkey and other neighboring countries where they can be trained and the equipped, provision of intelligence we have which will help the opposition fight to defend themselves and their families. if it was up to us bleecker and icahn speak for senator mccain, i think if we really wanted to help turn the tide quickly without a lot of unnecessary loss of life we would use allied air power, americans and our allies and we would hit important targets to the assad government and that would break
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their will and it would increase the number of defections and result in a sins an end to this terrible waste of life. that is our outcry and my and did your question. if we get involved in militarizes the conflict but the conflict is already militarize. russia and iran are providing assad with all the weapons he needs and in the meantime the opposition is scrounging around exorbitant prices just for bullets which they have been running out of. i ask my friend from arizona people say intervention in syria will be much harder than it was in libya.
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i wonder if he would respond to that argument against us getting involved. >> i thank my colleague and i want to point out that traveling in the region and meeting with the leaders of these various countries cries out for american leadership. i think my colleague would agree. in a coordinated partnership with these countries, but they cry out for american leadership and meanwhile the president of the united states as this slaughter goes on is silent and a spokesman says they don't want to militarize the conflict. how in the world could you make a statement like that when 10,000 people have already been slaughtered? that to me is so bizarre i am
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not sure i have ever seen anything quite like it. there is always the comparison i say to my friend from connecticut about libya. there is an aspect of this issue. libya was not in america's security interests. libya was a situation where we got rid of one of the most brutal dictators who was responsible for the bombing of pam 103 and the deaths of americans, but if syria goes on the path to democracy is the greatest blow to iran in 25 years. has a law is broken off. they lose their last client state. russia loses their last client state. iran. is the most important ally they have in the region. finally i say to my friend we keep hearing over and over again that extremists will come in. al qaeda will come in. we heard that in tunisia.
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we heard that in libya. we heard that in egypt and we are hearing it again. neglecting the fact that al qaeda and eggs trieste's are the antithesis of what these people are. believe in peace demonstration. if we provided a sanctuary for these people and a government set up as we saw in libya it is pretty obvious that it would be a huge step forward. but again, my friend from connecticut has often said so eloquently that probably the most immortal words ever written
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in english, we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all of us are endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights. the people of syria suffering under this brutal dictatorship and being slaughtered as we speak, i believe, have those inalienable rights and the role of the united states has not been to go everywhere and fight every war but it has been the role of the united states of america when it can to go to the assistance of people who are suffering under dictatorships such as this, one of the most brutal in history. for us to now consigned to the good graces of russia and whether they will veto a u.n. security council resolution as to whether we will act or not on behalf of these people is a great abdication of american
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authority and responsibility. i would like to say that senator lieberman and i have visited these places and seen these people. i wish all americans could have gone to the refugee camp where there are 25,000 people who have been ejected from their homes. the young men who still have fresh wounds. the young women who have been gang raped, families and mothers who lost their sons and daughters. it is deeply moving. it is deeply moving. and as my friend from connecticut said they cry out. they cry out for our help. we should be speaking up every day on their behalf, all of us and we should be contemplating actions that stop this unprecedented brutality. >> i think senator mccain.
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he spoke with leader -- clarity and strength, we need to do. i want to go to this point. some people say we should get involved in syria because we don't know who the opposition is and we should be cautious before helping them. we had the opportunity to meet opposition in the leadership. the political opposition and the military opposition and i will tell you to the best of my judgment is our judgment these aren't extremists. these are syrian patriot and as senator mccain said this movement started peacefully. they went out into the square is in big cities in syria and they were at the beginning asking for an overthrow of the outside government but what was the responsibility? he turned his guns and started to kill them wantonly and when they decided there was no peaceful course because he
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rejected every compromise alternative intermediaries put in they took up arms such as they could find. the danger is not the people who are leaders of the opposition are extremists or terrorists. the danger is the extremists and terrorists will take over this movement if we and the rest of the civilized world don't get involved and the syrian opposition will be sorely tempted to take their support because they have no alternative. we simply can't let that happen. i know there's a lot going on in our country. people are worried about the economy as we are. but america's strength and credibility in the world has always been not only what we are about by our founding documents and our history but what maintains our credibility and strength in the world which is a
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foundation of our economic strength. and the water longer we give wot no action the lower our credibility is. senator mccain said and done want to emphasize the main reason to get involved is humanitarian. it is one america is about. the protection of life and liberty. it happens to be that this makes a lot of strategic sense too because the number one enemy in the world today is iran and iran will suffer a grievous blow. some people say and some still say including high officials of our government that it is not a question of whether bashir al-assad will fall but when. i don't agree. having been over there and talked to the opposition watching what is happening, this
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is a profoundly unfair fight. assad has most of the guns and freedom fighters have very little. he will keep doing this and this battle will go on a long time with thousands and thousands and thousands of innocent people killed as they were earlier today. so the fact cry for us to take action. i hope and pray will will. senator rubio has an op-ed in the wall street journal that speaks to some of the points we made. i hope we will speak out until finally there will be action to save the lives of innocents. i would like to ask unanimous consent to include in the record a series of questions that opponents of our involvement rays and the answers that i
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would offer to those questions arguing for our involvement, coalition of the willing. >> you and secretary address the general assembly today for a special session on the violence and political unrest in syria. he reported un monitors were shot at by small arms were syrians were killed. he admitted the six point plan was not working. the secretary general and officials from the u.n. human rights office also delivered remarks. ran the age and the -- >> translator: the syrian
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republic. in follow up to 215 sixteenth of february of 2012 and the secretary general, his excellency -- essentially the center of arab states and the special envoy and the league of arab states his excellency kofi annan i've been simon --ivan m simonovich -- to brief an issue. i take this opportunity to welcome them to this meeting.
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his excellency, secretary general of the united nations, his excellency, secretary general of the league of arab states. your excellency, kofi annan, join special envoy to the league of arab states. ivan simonovich, assistant secretary-general for human-rights. distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen. we are all meeting today for the
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syrian people. on the sixth of may atrocities in the region of the homeland and yesterday -- dozens of men, women and children and hundreds of civilians were deliberately shot. by elements -- government ability and tanks also show the
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essential neighborhoods and the storms of these appalling and a brutal -- ladies and gentlemen, syria is ongoing. innocent victims are dying on a daily basis in violation of human rights -- international humanitarian role. i recall the words of the commissioner for human rights to the human-rights council on the first of june. she indicated that these acts may amount to crimes against humanity stance of their international crimes and said
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that a person of widespread or systematic attacks against civilian populations that have been perpetrated with impunity moreover the high commissioner for human-rights encourage the security council to refer the situation in syria to the international criminal court. such crimes require transparent, independent international investigation. those responsible must be held accountable. in this regard, i welcome the resolution adopted by the human-rights council on the first of this month requesting
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the commission of inquiry to urgently conduct a comprehensive independent and unfiltered special inquiry. i'll still look forward to the results of the investigation announced by the syrian government. ladies and gentlemen, on syria, the general assembly is carrying out its chartered responsibility related to international peace and security. the general assembly offers the international community's of viable mechanism in moments of deadlock of other u.n. bodies. on the sixteenth of february the general assembly adopted
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resolution 56/253 which called for the appointment of the joint special envoy of the united nations and the league of arab states. thereby implementing the provisions of chapter 8 of the u.n. charter. on the fifth of april the joint special envoy addressed the general assembly viewing an informal meeting in order to present his six point plan that was just assisted by the body's. in doing so the general assembly is playing a complementary role to the security council which has already adopted resolutions 2042, and 2043 endorsing the six point plan and establishing the
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united nations--the united nations supervision in syria which was promptly deployed. and i cannot but command the courage and dedication of observers insuring their safety and security must be a high priority. in the same context we should also recall the resolution of the league of arab states adopted at the ministerial meeting on the second of june which called on the security council to carry out its responsibility according to the charter of the united nations to take the necessary measures for the full and immediate implementation of the plan of
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the joint special envoy, mr. kofi annan to include implementing the six point plan included in the plant invoking the chapter vii of the u.n. charter. .. the need for a cessation of violence and all of it farms and for a peaceful solution to end
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this crisis. in conclusion, we need to have a frank discussion on syria. we must move promptly the lines of tons of thousands of syrians and the stability of the region are at stake. the durability of this organization is also at stake. considering the urgency of the situation, i have invited you all as the united nations secretary-general. the secretary-general of the league of arab states and the giant special envoy of the united nations and the league of arab states and the office of the high commission for the emirates to discuss this project
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crisis. by now -- before giving the floor to the united nations secretary general, i call on you to observe a moment of silence to mourn those whose lives were claimed by the brutal actions in syria.
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>> translator: i now get the floor to the united nations secretary general, his excellency, mr. ban ki-moon. >> your excellency, mr. nassir abdulaziz al-nasser, president of the general assembly, excellency, ladies and gentlemen, let me begin by welcoming the secretary-general at the legal estate, mr. nabel area b., and it's excellency. we join forces at a great career and sour. the suggestion in syria continues to deteriorate. each day seems to bring new additions to the green cadillac atrocities against civilians, brutal human rights violations, mass arrests, torture, execution
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style killing of all families. for many months, it has been evident that president assad and his government have lost all legitimacy. the recent slaughter in that era plan at this back into horrifying focus. men, women, even children were executed at point lank range. saw them had schools crash. the trailer let this back to those responsible. any machine or a dj that tolerates such killing of an offense is a fundamental humanity. two days news reports said another method are shocking and sickening is surrounded by a civilian forces. the bodies of innocent
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civilians, they were shot, some allegedly or/with knives. we commend this unspeakable barbarity and renew our determination to bring those responsible to account. they were initially denied access. they were kidnapped to get to the scene and i just learned a few minutes ago that while trying to do so, the u.n. shot out with small arms. peaceful protesters have bravely persisted in calling for dignity and freedom. yet too often, they have paid with their lives. we see too little evidence that the syrian government is living up to its commitments under the fixed point trend embraced by the security council more than two months ago. for their part, our moments of
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their position to arms and declared that they respect the plan. the ability of either the region where the opposition to engage in any meaningful political dialogue makes the prognostics extremely grave. and the longer this country goes on, the more difficult the path choice the people and eventual reconciliation will become. the international community must recognize the act with unity and collective mess. our priorities are made clear, so stop the violence and protect the syrian people and their rights to deliver humanitarian aid to those in need. excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, the plan remains the centerpiece.
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we continue to support it. they would ensure compliance. at the same time, and sheer the deteriorating situation i would recommend further international discussion under key stakeholders on how we can act more effect delay. no one can protect how the situation in syria will evolve. we must be prepared for any eventuality. they must be ready to respond to many possible scenarios. syria's neighbors in the region bear a special responsibility. that is why this assembly endorsed the league of arab states at the special envoy. i read that the government of syria has appropriated the secured mandate and has refused entry to deputy joint special
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envoy, as part of the negotiating team. this is unacceptable. syrian authorities must accept the situation immediately. i wish to express my strong appreciation for secretary-general's hard work and the league of arab states to have the people of syria for the legitimate aspirations that have been denied for far too long. i'd also like to recognize the extraordinary confluence of the joint special envoys not only for his entire support for the people of syria, but also for his important contributions in the u.s. support of in syria. i will brief the u.n. and observers working with dn dedication and the most difficult and dangerous circumstances. they are the eyes and manners of
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the international community. they bear witness to the worst sources. mr. bellingham's weren't as long two weeks ago, they reported the effects of check is late and without violence. we must acknowledge the risks that each of them operate however and in full knowledge of those threads, it is incumbent upon us today to do everything within our power to add the killing in advance political solutions to the crisis. mr. president, ladies and gentlemen, assistant special envoy has one, syria is at a pivotal moment. and so are we. syria and the region can move from tipping points to breaking point. the dangers are imminent in rio. i therefore call on the urgency
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and unconditionally implement and call on president aside to allow the u.n. observer mission to do his work safely without interference or intimidation. i call and syrian authorities to allow u.n. humanitarian teams to operate freely. more than 1 million civilians need assistance. so do the more than 100,000 syrian refugees in neighboring countries. finally, i call on all member states to exert the maximum influence to help the joint special envoy succeeds in this all-important mission. every day more people die. every day more people are forced from their homes. all times my stand. by the religion, by the politicians. now is the time for the international community to take
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all concerted action in the name of our common humanity. thank you. >> translator: i think the united nations secretary general for his briefing and i now give the floor to his excellency, the secretary of the good arab states. >> thank you, mr. president. mr. president, this is the first time i am taking the floor before the general assembly since her election as president of the assembly. therefore, i am pleased to extend to you and to your sisterly country, qatar, my warm congratulations on the
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confidence of international community and i would like to offer our adversities and to the distinguished die with which you run the affairs of the assembly and i wish you success in these difficult circumstances. the same token i would like to express my thanks to the excellency, ban ki-moon can the secretary general of the united nations for all his affairs, streaming assessors to achieve a solution to growing crisis. by the same token, would like to extend my thanks to mr. kofi annan come in the joint special envoy of the united nations and the league of arab states, who along with his team to play as many as hers. and i hope you will succeed. mr. president, the council of the league of arab states adopted the resolution on the
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second of this month with regard to the developments of the situation in syria. the council requested that we inform the g8 and security council of the earth station and the arab vision and steps to come out of this crisis in syria and the speedy deterioration witnessed very. particularly in light of the continued pursuit of the security solution policy by the syrian government and the continuation of regular and irregular forces interpret taking crime against civilians, most of which the massacre that fell on the farm unchartered of al kabir violence continues until other regions of homes.
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this is a blatant violation of the syrian government preaches to fully implement the at annan plan, joint special envoy as well as a security council resolution 2042 and 2043. more than 15 months have passed since the of this crisis. the challenge before us to exit out of this crisis is represented in searching means to overcome it and felt it. first comment immediate and complete cessation of violence, the results of which are the dems at the syrian msn, trying to put a political solution that guarantees the aspiration -- the legitimate aspiration of the
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syrian people for freedom, democracy and political changes. i would like very briefly to go through the efforts deployed by the league of arab states -underscore. the arab league, since july last year has engaged in direct dialogue with the syrian government with a view to finding a peaceful solution to this crisis. it adapted numerous initiatives, in putting out of the 27th of august last year. for the establishment of multilateral political regime, which all three are in fact equal regardless of their factions, communities and tenants. authority should be adopted in a democratic member. the lake also adopted a number of resolutions and dispatched a
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team of arab observers to make sure that the syrian government is implementing the arab solution plan to which the syrian government agreed and pledged to carry out its provisions on the second of november of last year and gratefully about these efforts did not succeed in stopping violence and forcing the syrian government to and lament its bridges. this made it necessary for the league of arab states to take punitive measures against the syrian government, including topping its participation in meetings at the league as well as its different organs and economic boycott. and also, all of these efforts and initiatives taken by the
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arab league did not lead to the cessation of violence and putting the crisis on the political track. hence, the arab league was duty bound in accordance with article article lii of the u.n. just a series of two d. accounts. the counselor to the six-point plan a special joint envoy. he will list them with no corporation by the syrian government and its abandonment of the military and security situation would never succeed. mr. president, the league arab states ministered council and its recent meeting in delhi on the second of this month viewed
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the ad dating on the situation and listen to the evaluation on the result of the implementation of the six-point plan and came up with this resolution 65 of seven and emphasize the following. deploring the violations and crimes perpetrated by the regular syrian forces again is the civilian, particularly the horrendous program demonstrated which constitutes a blatant violation of the syrian governments pledge is as well as the immediate implementation of the six-point plan. the league called upon the investigation committee established with the human rights council to completed task and to reveal the identity of
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the perpetrators and bring them to justice. it also emphasized the need to enforce criminal accountability of those involved with these violations. upon all parties closely with the joint employee envoy of the u.n. and the league of arab state, deploring the position that the syrian government refusing to receive the deputy of the joint envoy. the task of the joint envoy was the top that by this general assembly and by the security council's politically unconstitutionally, no party, the practice of his identity is entitled to introducing many
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changes to the nature of that mandate. third, calling upon the security council immediately to take necessary measures to protect civilian -- syrian civilians and to stop all acts of violence and bloodletting crimes perpetrated against us. people, including granting all powers to the international monitors to enable them to provide protection for the syrian civilians and to put an end to the grave crimes perpetrated. the resolution of the council of the league of arab states stated, and i quote, calling upon the security council to ensure its responsibilities in accordance with the u.n. chapter, taking necessary measures to guarantee the immediate and complete application of the plan of mr. annan within a specific
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timeframe, including the imposition of applying the six-point plan through resort to the seventh chat to your -- seventh chapter of the charter as well as stopping all postal air and maritime cable and telecommunications as well as other means of communications partially or completely. mr. president, as is evident from this text, the council is the league of amorous days does not call and i would like to be clear here, the security council, to be sold to the use of force or military option. however, the council of ministers of the vehicle arab states call for using the of
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political economic and commercial pressures enshrined in the u.n. charter stipulated for articles 40 and 41 of the chapter. in this connection, the council of ministers called upon the administration of satellite company to take all necessary measures to stop the national -- the formal and informal transmission is the syrian satellite stations as well as calling upon all arab states to try their ambassadors and sat any form of diplomatic corporation with a representative of the syrian regime. the humanitarian and political responsibility evolving on the member states of the security council makes it necessary for
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us to take decisive and necessary measures to make sure that the syrian government will implement the six-point plan. it should oversee the cessation of all acts of violence, which cannot be cost out and will have serious repercussions to the stability of the region as a whole. and the political future of syria. in our search to find peace for political solutions to the crisis in syria, we continue our contacts in askers with all opposition parties so that they will unify their station, giving their requirements out the transitional phase. and this connection, the council of the league of arab states call upon the opposition to
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overcome its differences and shoulder its responsibilities as well as to respond with the efforts deployed by the league for the sake of meeting all the demands of the different parts of the opposition. the golden crisis every base area for more than a year that broke as a peaceful popular resolution has legitimate demand and aspirations has happened in egypt, libya and yemen. in the maimed, and this is an internal syrian affair. the syrian people it is duty bound to decide its future. this cooling crisis having turned into an air of crisis that threatens security and
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stability of syria as well as that of the region, giving the escalating acts of violence and the numbers of those, those innocents who fall every day, this may presage the widening of conflicts and regional peace and security and international peace and security undoubtably the states of the region and their initial counter regional mechanism, the league of arab states are entrusted to undertake their main role in finding a piece for a political solution. this rule cannot be achieved in a vacuum. it should be achieved with the strong backing of the international community. i would like to thank the general assembly and united nations for assembling the
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united arab states. mr. president, i call for backing and supporting the major incorporated in into six points to end this crisis and to achieve a peaceful, political solution that will enable the syrian people to live in freedom and democracy. i would like to say in a pollution that the syrian people is looking to a meeting today and i hope we will grant the hope that we are capable of assisting in to break the cycle of violence and put this crisis on the track at peace for a political solution conducive to achieving its ambitions for freedom and democratic change. it is not accept both ethically
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that the syrian people are continuously suffer, as you mentioned in your eloquent state that the credibility of the united nations. >> i think the excellency, the general as the united arab states for his briefing and now get the floor to the special joint envoy of the united nations and the league of arab states, his excellency, mr. kofi annan. >> mr. president, mr. secretary general of the united nations, secretary-general of the leak of the arab states, assistant secretary-general for human rights, distinguished delegates,
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excellencies, three months ago, after a year of deepening crisis in days and your guidance, secretary-general ban and secretary of iraqi gave me a tough job. they asked me to lead a united effort on behalf of the united nations and the league of arab states to stop the violence and killing in syria and launch a political process for a transition that meets the legitimate aspirations of the syrian people. today, despite the accent and set the six-point plan and the deployment of the courageous mission of united nation observers to syria, i must be frank and confirm another plan not been implemented.
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mr. president, let me pause here and express my horror and condemnation and a new massacre at including jordanian women was perpetrated yesterday and now could be a period my heart goes out to the dems and their families. this took place just two weeks after the massacre that shocked the world. those responsible for perpetrating these crimes must be held to account. we cannot allow mass killing to become part of everyday reality in syria. as the secretary-general has clearly explained, the crisis is escalating. the violence is getting worse. the abuses are continuing.
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the country is becoming more polarized and more radicalized and serious immediate neighbors are increasingly worried about the threat of spillover. nine days ago i met president assad in damascus. i told him that the six-point plan is not being implemented and it must. i strongly urged him to take bold and radically change his military posture and honor his commitments to the six-point plan. i urged him. i urged him to make a strategic decision to change its path. i also made clear that his government must work with my mediation after on behalf of
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both organizations that i represent. president assad believes that the main obstacle was the actions of militants. clearly, all parties must sees violence. but equally clearly, the first responsibility lies with the government. since then, cities have intensified, government militia seem to have free reign with out consequences. yes, some detainees have been released and agreement has been reached under modalities for humanitarian assistance. but the hour -- the our demands much more and president assad has not indicated a change of course in his recent address to the national assembly.
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despite the fear and violence ordinary people continue to make their voice heard in protest industries. armed opposition groups see no reason to expect cessation of hostilities. they haven't testified their attacks, which will not serve the course of the syrian people. and the situation is made more complex and deadly by a series of bombings, some of which are indicative of this area here. if things do not change, the future is like the to be one of the repression, nasa cares, sectarian violence and even all-out civil war. on the syrians will lose. when i joined the area pleats
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ministers region in doha on the second of june, many express their frustration and anger at the situation. they also offered concrete ideas on how to increase pressure for compliance. clearly the time has come to determine what more can be done to secure implementation of the plan and what other options exist of the crisis. it is your shared interest in aqua a responsibility to act quickly. the process cannot be open-ended the longer we wait, the more radicalized and polarized situation will become and the harder it will be to forge a political settlement. the international community has
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united, but it now must take that unity to a new level. we must find the way and the common ground to act and act as one. individual actions or interventions will not resolve the crisis. as we demand compliance with international law and the six-point plan, it must be made clear that there would be consequences if compliance is not forthcoming. we must also chart it clearer cores for a peaceful transition if we are to hope the government and opposition as always syrian society to help resolve the crisis. if we genuinely unite behind one process and act and speak with one voice, i believe it is still
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possible to avert the worst an initial syria to emerge from this list. i will spare no after it and i know bond and ella robey, to. but for the sake of the people of syria who are living through this nightmare, the international community must come together and act as one. thank you, mr. president. >> i think is excellent. the joint special envoy for his briefing and my gives the floor to his excellency, the assistant secretary-general for human
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rights. >> mr. president, mr. secretary-general, mr. secretary general of the arab league, mr. special envoy come your excellency, the high commissioner is currently on mission and has asked me to deliver his state and on her behalf. we continue to witness a serious deterioration of the human rights situation in syria, which demand our attention and engagement. only yesterday we received reports of large-scale killing and treebeard,, which is secretary-general has just mentioned is currently trying to verify underground. last friday, the human rights council met for the fourth time in a special session to address the atrocious events in the area of the pullout.
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the council condemned in the strongest terms the egregious kind of candidate people, including 49 children. some were reportedly killed by artillery and fired by government forces on the residential neighborhood. but it is many of the victims worse than merely executed in their own houses. according to witnesses, the military commandant these violations. the syrian interministerial committee dusty getting the events reported that armed terrorist groups were responsible for these killings. the human rights council requested the independent international commission of inquiry on the syrian arab republic to an ipo, conduct a comprehensive, independent and unfettered special inquiry, consistent with international
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standards into the events in calhoun and if possible, to publicly identify those responsible for these atrocities and to preserve the evidence of crimes for possible future criminal prosecutions or future justice process. ladies and gentlemen, these killings are indicative of a pattern of widespread and systematic attack against civilian populations and may amount to crimes against humanity and other international crimes. there are indications that the situation at least in certain areas amounts to an internal armed conflict. this would have legal implications, triggering the possibility of commission of war crimes in addition to crimes against humanity. it makes the call i made to the
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security council to consider referring the case of syria to the international criminal court even more urgent. because of the consistence denial of access to the country, the commission of inquiry continues to investigate human rights violations committed in syria by interviewing the dems and witnesses who fled to neighboring countries. i'm 24, made the commission published a periodic update be sent to submissions in march and april. it reported that violations in syria continue unabated in an increasingly militarized context, despite the special envoys six-point plan. the commission concluded that most of the serious human rights violations documented well committed to the syrian army and security forces. have received several accounts of violations committed by antigovernment armed groups
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including summary executions, kid optioning as well as use of children and medical borders and messengers. ladies and gentlemen, last week ohr included a mission countries neighboring syria on the basis of which it is documented continuing and additional serious human rights violations in syria. in particular, ohr documented a pattern of syrian dad reportedly arising from the use of use of force against protesters as well as term lack of proper analogy resulting from the can to need use of heavy weapons in populated areas. map is has also received multiple reports of civilians being killed by snipers and harms when seeking food or other
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basic necessities of life. reports indicate widespread arbitrary detention. forces have detained family members of wanted persons, including children in order to compel those individuals to turn themselves in. i note the release of several hundred detainees by the government of syria confirmed by the arm spent last week confirmed by the arm spent last week confirmed by the arm spent last week it's remained a detention. the week a three-minute detention. the whereabouts of many of them are unknown. reports of the widespread use of georgeanne and in treatment of detainees those listed in this report of violence committed against detainees, including children remain of grave concern here at my office received fresh accounts directly from the dems of multiple forms of torture included electric shocks, severe
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beatings: stress position, cigarette burns, mark executions, sleep deprivation as well as psychological torture such as threats to family members. they suffer from kernel and degrading conditions of detention. in this context i urge the government security to reduce all persons arbitrarily detained and allow access to all detention facilities. i also call upon the government of syria to take vigorous steps to immediately halt the widespread and systematic practice of torture. it is a gentleman, i urge the international community to unite here and the general assembly as well as the security council and to speak with one voice to all syrians, including the government and opponents in
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order to convince them to pull back from the brink and begin negotiations for a peaceful process of change. they would be a terrible cost for not doing so. to join special envoys six-point plans must be implemented. all parties must move away from conflict. they must cease all forms of violence and human rights violations and in so doing, create the environment for a peaceful solution of the crisis facing our country. only a negotiated solution, which guarantees the political participation and protection of the rights of all syrians regardless of their religion, asked this of your political belief can prevent further human right violations. thank you.
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>> they are often referred to as the conscience of the congress. i can't get a better name. it is really the heartbeat of the people. >> it is designed to ensure that members of congress who are african-american can come together on issues that are plaguing the community at large, issues that may be plaguing their districts for me to find commonality to come together to discuss legislative solutions, legislative proposals to advance the causes of people that don't have a voice. >> interior secretary, ken salazar talked about the energy policies and hosted by the law firm, or fax the george washington university.
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secretary salazar defended the record on domestic oil and gas production, say new exploration could begin as early as this summer. this is 50 minutes. >> thanks to senator murkowski. she is a think a great credit to the united states senate. i was chairman and she was vice-chairman of one of the committees in the senate for some while and i have worked with her in it by her in thank you very much for coming today, senator murkowski. it is my honor to introduce the next presenter. in north dakota with something called the nonpartisan late, which then merged with the democratic party. [laughter] what is so funny about that? we thought it was a good day at the time. so it became a democrat npl, nonpartisan late. the old nonpartisan they've had a bumper sticker that says we will stick, we will win.
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and at a sane, the office seeks the man. so if ever that were the case, it seems to me, the job of interior secretary sure they seeking ken salazar. he has been an extraordinary secretary and cabinet official. i had the opportunity to work with ken salazar when he was in the united states senate and i was akram is extort barry. he comes from anamosa, colorado, a family that farmed and raised one of eight children. all the kids went and got a college degree. i won't describe what the rest of them have done, but it's quite extort mary what this family has produced. secretary salazar were not to become a businessman and rancher and farmer and then attorney general for the state of colorado and then united states senator and secretary of the interior. it's truly an all-american
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story. as a member of the democratic leadership whenever we were trying to figure out what it comes to and he was going to be where, the question was always raised, where he salazar on this? the answer was we don't know. and the reason is that this is truly to try and figure out how do we advance the country's interests. not republican democrat. how do we can't agreements? key is a great friend, i think a great americana and i'm pleased he's accepted our invitation. i'm trying to come here today. thank you, secretary ken salazar. [applause] >> thank you are a much, dorgan. and senator bennett, thank you
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for being leaders and statesmen for country and being mentors in low models and artwork in utah together. senator bennett on matters of multi-conservation, including wilderness issues in utah. we were successful notwithstanding headwinds that were very strong in the other direction and to senator dorgan, his great legacy for energy, native american issues in so many other things continues to be alive and well paperwork on this issues across the united states of america. i know we just heard from other former colleague, lisa murkowski who also very much enjoyed energy matters together. let me just tell you and i will share some comments we do on energy overall, but how i see the world. looking at this town and the debate taking place, whether it's in north dakota, colorado
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or across this country, i get the sense the united states of america is very divided on the issue of energy. i get the sense that there is an impossibility in terms of how we as a nation can come together in a consensus of how we move forward with the sustainable energy policy for the united states of america for the long-term. there are those, who i believe, including some of the trade associations, maybe some of you here who are part of this aside, you know, there is a quick fix of what we do with energy policy for the united states to look at as energy independence and energy security in the way that all of us want to get there. and yet, the kinds of attacks that go back and forth in my view is simply not helpful to giddiness what i call the real energy world. the real energy world is what i came to work on when i was selected as the united states senator from colorado.
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and it was real energy world that president barack obama and i have been working on very hard now for the last three and half years. is the real energy world that is capturing the future of energy for the united states of america in a way that will bring us to the kind of energy security that all of us want. some of us say this can be done in washington. this country is too divided. but there is a time, in fact, two senators invited me to come here are very much a part of this effort and as a part part of their effort in 2005 and in 2007 when they passed the last two major pieces of energy legislation in the united states we were able to prove those pieces of energy legislation that they could find common ground and the good fight together way in which republicans and democrats could come together to chart a future for energy for the united states of america. unfortunately what has happened
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somehow in the last two years especially in this town is that it has become so divided that people seem to want to battle the common ground. they want to battle the common interest of the united states of america rather then getting to results that would actually fashioned energy policy for the long-term for the united states of america. well, i reject the notion that we can't do right things as americans because they think americans overall believe that we have a huge consensus of what we ought to be doing as an american society, as a nation in the united states of america. i would say most americans would look at all of us, members of congress and would say we want the united states to cut its dependence on foreign oil. they would say they remember the days when featured nixon coined the term energy independent and when opec was formed that we
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thought we could get to energy independence. it would say that jimmy carter and declaring energy independence with signaling something very important to our future. it would also be cognizant, especially those of you here today who are students of the subject, that now matter how important as leaders of our country felt that when you go through the 80s for ronald reagan and you go through the 90s with bush and clinton in the early part of the last decade but not that much is done in terms of moving us forward turned energy security. somehow that started happening in 2005 at 2005 at the billy passed and we have said administration have been implementing a program to get us to the kind of security we want with energy and united states of america. when you look at what happened during that timeframe, we went from the 1970s importing about 30% of our oil from foreign countries to the point where we were having these debates on the
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floor of the u.s. senate, importing 60% of oil from foreign countries. one of the things i think most americans, including the people in our senate and house of representatives would say we agree that we have to cut our dependence on foreign oil. i think most americans also would agree that we need to do is broaden our energy portfolio. david say what we have done is to have too much of a focus on only oil and gas. and so, i worked to capture the power of the phone and geothermal power of the wind and data transmission lines and due out the rest in renewables and biofuels is something most americans would say is important for us to do. they would say we are on the right track and need to do some more of that. most americans would also agree that we need to do more with respect to drilling, including both offshore and i'm sure
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drilling to make sure that we are developing a responsible way america's gas and oil resources both onshore as well as on the actuary. i also think finally most americans would say that those who say we can sit lee drill our way to energy independence, that there is no other alternative than to produce more, including biofuels, that there is another component missing and that is the area of efficiency. how is that we can take our transportation fleets and have it go longer and have it go farther on the same amount of oil? and so it is no surprise that us part of what has been a major accomplishment in terms of what is happening with the automobile industry and united states of america that part of what has fueled the recovery of all of the work worries and all of the
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companies dealing in the automobile world is the fact that we know today for the first time are producing vehicles that are much more highly fuel-efficient. in fact, just in march, gm sold within 100,000 cars. that made over 30 miles to a gallon. over 100,000 cars made more than 30 miles to the gallon. it was remarkable that that monthly sales for gm represents more than 40% of their entire school fleet that was sold. some people would say three or four years ago that was not possible. and yet because industry step up to the plate along with the leadership of the president adding them to do what they should've been doing a lot time ago, we now are producing vehicles in this country that are much more energy-efficient. so this world a deal with everyday, sometimes specifying an committee said the or senate
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or even testifying at giving speeches to industry groups, oil and gas groups, et cetera live in this world of what i call the world of the tales in the world of reality. for me, but the 90s and the u.s. senate as secretary of interior and been a key member of the team, which try to summer work around the real energy world. we try to focus on those things we know we can do to reflect what it is that the american people want to assess their leaders. i believe when you take an honest look at the achievements over now almost four years to also see the area's been great progress made on all of the above energy strategy. the all of the above energies and energy this topic out as a slogan. it was something we started working day one when counselor steve black and i walked into the department of interior january 21st and we said we are going to wear, and all of the above energy strategy.
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and it's going to include production of oil and gas because it's essential to our country, but it's also going to open up a new frontier for renewable energy and a whole host of things important to our country. for the last three and half years i have least to say we need significant progress on those friends. statistics speak for themselves. you've heard them but i will repeat a few. i'm a broader scale and we know this is both privately and in public lands. we are not getting the way of the reality that much of this has been caused by new technological innovations of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing on public and private lands, but today gas production and seven all-time high. gas production is at an all-time high. oil production in the united states is at 80 or higher. the oil production of the united states for domestic energy resources.
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some people like to live in the fairytale world of energy politics full text that is all from private lands. that's not the case. we have supported what is going on in private lands and our policies, but in public lands themselves, the total oil production from federal lands and waters has increased 13% during the first three years of this administration compared to the last three years of the previous administration. so anyone out there saying we are somehow stopping oil and gas production is simply wrong. they living in this world of tales by the world of reality. america's dependence on foreign oil has gone down every single year since this president became president of the united states. for all of us who have worked on america's national security as an imperative to the security of the station for the long-term know how important that is. and so for us, the fact we are
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now importing less than 50% oil for foreign countries is something that we have to celebrate. something that the american people want to make sure it's happening here in this country. last year for the first time, oil imports went down to 45%, which is a far cry from where we used to be at 60, on the way to 70 just a few years ago. ..
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quantify that two year. that is a lot of oil. why are we using less oil? why are we importing less well? in large part, it has to do with the fact that we have a much more fuel efficient vehicles system that is coming about of the ground today as to speak. and so it is important that we all recognize that we have made significant progress on what we are doing in terms of energy imports. renewable energy, many of us have spoken about the bright future of renewable energy. and yet, when we look at the world of the fairy tale purveyors they will say, well, it's not going to work. we have to just go back to the way it was in the old days and forget about wind energy, forget about solar energy, forget about geothermal, biofuels and other alternative fuels. well, i am proud to say that in the world of reality the united
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states has doubled its renewable energy production in the last three years. we have doubled our renewal will energy production in the last three years. it has been when time for us as a country looking for a long-term sustainable energy program to do a u-turn court to press the pause button, we are doing on renewable energy across the country. so, that is a world that i live in. it is a world of reality. it is a world of dealing with what we have to do to accomplish the imperative of our national, economic, and environmental security for the united states, and that is why we have been working on since i became secretary of interior of the 21st of january of 2009. let me review a couple of things that are related to that. another reality of this town is that sometimes those who live and the fairy tale world of politics have a sense -- have a
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very short memory. they forget that it was just 2010, a little over two years ago. in fact are right at this time two years ago there was a 5,000 feet below the surface of the gulf of mexico called the mcconnell bill wall which is spewing out at a rate of approximately 50,000 barrels of oil a day into the gulf. and nobody knew what to do. and we through every conceivable reserves -- resource we could to stop that oil wells from gushing . the industry, including all of the captains of industry, all the heads of the companies that would come into the office to my the department of interior where i would ask of them how they could help bp do would be p. legal responsibility was not even the department of
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defense had the ability to do what needs to be done in the gulf. so i led the team. allen and steven chu in so many of my other colleagues. the days wear the same. from day one and so we shut the well 87 days later until we were convinced that we could declare the well dead, over three or four months. and so we believed then and we believe that we were correct. it was important for us to inject a sense of reality in terms of the safety requirements for offshore drilling, not only in the gulf of mexico, but across all of america's oceans and because oil and gas are a global industry. it has to happen around the world as well. so we have worked very hard to make sure that we are restoring the confidence of the american people and the work that we do with respect to offshore energy and because of many people's
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lead from the department of interior, we are there now. we have divided up conflicting missions of what was then the mms greeted by secretary lawyer by james lot and have put into position the agency's that now are split. we don't have conflicting missions. we have an agency that does the revenue collection, natural resources revenue. we have an agency that does the planning for the future of the effort continental shelf, and we have an agency which essentially is to have essentially is the cop on the beat, the bureau of city environmental enforcement now led by a person who kept @booktv out to bring the los built in the gulf. between those agencies we are in a much better position to make sure that we can move forward safely and responsibly in the expiration of development in oil and gas in the offshore areas. today not withstanding, you might hear from some people who are in washington who represent the state of louisiana and a few
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other states. the fact of the matter is that we are back up to pre spill levels of exploration and development in the gulf of mexico. as a matter of fact, i conducted one of the large lease sale, which is a very robust lease sale at the end of last year. planning and putting another 38 million acres up for auction in the gulf of mexico in both central and the western gulf this month. so when you listen to -- when you know the world of reality you know that we are moving forward with the development of offshore oil and gas. when you hear the world, those who live in a fairytale land, they would say that we are shedding everything down. the fact is that we are moving forward and embracing one gas in the offshore areas of america as part of the energy portfolio of the united states of america. i'm sure i could speak to a
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similar statistic because we continue to move forward with energy development from the 700 million acres which we control to the bureau of land management around the country. and there are many things that are going on, including the back that we have cut through some of the litigation and some of the processes that have been in place to the point now where we expect to reduce permitting for oil and gas laws on public lands by as much as two-thirds. when you hear those who come from the ferry to world that we sometimes do in washington, there will tell you that we have stoppages, the we are putting all kinds of roadblocks in the way, permitting for or against a plans. the fact is to know we have an agenda that will cut down on the amount of time that you have to use to get your permit for an oil and gas well by two-thirds, that is making government work on behalf of the american people
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i will -- i could choose lots of examples. i will give you to places and one statistic. we have 7,000 permits out there which are in the hands of the oil and gas companies. day-glo and gas companies are not yet acting on them. they should go ahead and act on them because they have been given. secondly, i looked at north dakota, the bulk information. it was my department and the usgs that did the studies at the request of senator dorgan and conrad to move forward and assess the resources. there are chairman this. also in three years ago, i was taken to the reservation and shown that there was huge oil and gas development occurring. discovery and oil resource potential for the estates of america that rival some of the discoveries that have been made in the middle east and saudi arabia and places like that. and yet this million acre reservation had one oil and gas well in its whole place that had
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been permitted. he said, how can that be? it is not good for our energy security command is not good for our responsibilities and our trust responsibility for the tribes of the united states of america. and so we set up a one-stop shop for those of you who have been to north dakota in the last several months, you will see the difference on the ground. it is a place transformed. there is so much oil and gas activity now that there are camps that have been built to bring people in from around the country to come and work in those oil and gas fields. and so we are making it happen in a place like fork birchen that million acre reservation as well as the other blm lands that we work on not only in north dakota but montana and other areas around the west. another area that i will choose as an example, and i choose this as an example because of the
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people who invited me here, senator dorgan and bennett. the state of utah. some people in the state of utah, we have shut down oil and gas production. yet i was there a month ago with some of the and others where we announced that the environmental community as well as the oil and gas community had come together and we and i that they signed a record of decision that is going to allow over 3,500 wells to move into the natural gas buttes and to be constructed. now, they're going to be constructed in the right way with the newest technology, horizontal drilling and limiting surface disturbances, staying awake for hyperion areas and that kind of thing. we have other announcements that we will yet be making san in terms of the oil and gas production in utah because of the way that we are bringing people together. so i give you those three examples, and i might as well
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give you a fourth sense senator murkowski was appear a few minutes ago. i work in alaska, the arctic has been exemplary. it's something that i am very proud of. for the first time in the history of the national petroleum reserves in alaska the top 2 million-acre holding which was set up a long time ago for welland as production, there is now a way in which it will be accessed through a place called cd five. comical philips will move forward and actually start exploring and developing for the first time in its history. that is a very significant accomplishment. and when you look at this season and the arctic sea, knowing that it is not an easy decision and we have not made a final decision about what we will do yet, we are looking at the possibility of moving into the area, in large part because we need to note what america's resources are.
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we ought never to be afraid of the science and the knowledge that does come from the expiration. now, if it is done it will be done under the utmost cautionary measures that can be taken in the history of humankind because we know and have learned a lot from what has happened in places like the gulf of mexico, and we also know what is happening in other places around the country, around the world. when you look at what norway and russia are planning to do with respect to oil and gas production in the arctic circle, we don't want the united states of america to be left behind. as a secretary clinton and i2 or three years ago went to a meeting in ottawa where we met with the arctic council this last year in the greenland. we had all of the country's a share the arctic circle, signed a protocol between the nations of the arctic that said that we will share our information so that we make sure that whenever does happen in the arctic is something that is done in the
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most safe and responsible way. and so there is a lot that is happening up in alaska. let me say, spend a few minutes speaking about renewal energy because i know both byron dorgan and bob bennett were champions of this. it is sure whether i am in wilford, utah, or whether i am anyway throughout north dakota and see the great potential for wind energy in the states. when i became secretary of interior i walked into an office on january 201st, 2009 when there was no intention and no focus on renewable energy and all. notwithstanding legislation which we had all of the together to make sure that renewable energy became part of that american portfolio of energy, nothing was happening. nothing was happening. no permit had been issued. nothing was going on, solar, geothermal, or in wind energy for the united states of america
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on the public lands of the century. under the lead of steve black and the director of the blm and so many of the people who held this we have made that a huge priority for the united states of america. we have permitted 29 projects up to this point in time. large-scale solar, wind, and geothermal projects on the public lands of the estate's. some of those projects are not only constructed, but contributing energy to the great right now. and we have -- we have a lot more on the ways will. our hope is that by -- our hope is that by that time that we get to the end of 2012 that we will have permitted over 10,000 megawatts of power on the public lands of the united states of america. and we have not stopped there just on on short, we have led an effort that has included the
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governors all along the atlantic , where we are working with them to map out and have mapped out significant potential for offshore wind development along the atlantic and during the same thing in other places, including the state of oregon where we believe there is huge energy potential for offshore wind. just a few days ago as part of what we did in the state of massachusetts and its offshore area we mapped out an area which is a preferred wind energy developments on. and there are ready our developers that have proposed the construction of some 4,000 megawatts of wind just off the coast of massachusetts. there are differences, but the -- the interest in terms of offshore wind development, the united states is not much different in its intensity when you go to rhode island or maimed or north carolina or any of the other states along the atlantic. so plots of the gao physical realities that make the possibility of offshore wind
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from the atlantic a very significant component of the energy portfolio of the united states. so i'm proud of the work that we have done in the real world in terms of standing up renewable energy and making it a reality for the united states. now, some may save that in these times when there is an election under way that may be there is nothing that the congress can do to help us move forward and to make the real world of energy even a better reality than we have today. well, i beg to disagree because the fact is that there are things that this congress to do. i will throw out to simple things. one, why don't we have organic legislation that institutionalizes what we are doing in the offshore energy arena, organizationally within department of interior. when james watts signed the secretary of order creating mms in 1981, he did it by virtue of
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the authority of the other continental shelf lands act and the authority of the secretary of interior. it is the same authority that i use now some 30 plus years later to reorganize the department of interior the to the bureau of the russian energy and the other component of we are doing. three years plus ago i went in front of the house energy and natural resources committee as well as the senate energy committee and said i wanted to have organic legislation for what we were doing. very simple. it could be passed to that of the house and the suspension of the rules, procedures. it could be brought to the floor of the u.s. senate. it ought to be one of those things for you could get the unanimous consent of the u.s. senate to institutionalize the organization that is needed for the united states to move forward with the safe development of offshore energy. it would be a very simple thing to do. and yet in what appears to be a do nothing congress at this
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point in time they're not willing to do that. they don't want anything to happen. it is the world of fairy tales and politics of today that says doing nothing is better than doing something, even though it may be a small measure. in my view it would be a very important measure because the reality of it is that americans know, and i believe we all agree, whether you are in the conservation community or whether you are in the oil and gas industry that having safe and responsible protection of our oil and gas in the oceans of america is something that is, in fact, very important. something that could be done, it would not take a lot of to do. the second thing that i believe this congress to do, and its really should not take a lot of political cuts but to do it because you have the u.s. chamber of commerce.
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you have the national association of manufacturers. you have the national governors' association. you have the industry. you have the environmental and conservation kennedy behind it, and that is to simply extend the protection tax credit, manufacturing tax credit for wind energy, for wind energy. and i say we doubled the amount of renewable energy in the last three years. it is not happen by itself. it has happened because we have had policies in place that created that opportunity for wind energy development to take root in the united states of america. and from the dakotas to utah to texas, you see that wind energy going up. we know, for sure, the tax credit, if it does not give extended the production lines and the project lies that i needed to continue this effort are going to shut down. that is 37,000 jobs that are going to be lost.
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it would not take that much really of political chutzpah if you want to live in the real world as opposed to the fairy tale world of energy, to extend those tax credits so that then we can make sure that we continue on the right track of renewable energy for the united states. so those are simple things. i don't expect that in these times you're going to have a robust energy bill the way that we had robust energy bills when byron dorgan and bob bennett and i've worked to help those things happen. that will not happen this year, but it could happen in the next year. and there be many elements of that that would have to be debated. you know, one of those elements that we thought about, how we move forward with a clean energy standard. it is amazing to me when you look at the places like texas and iowa and so many others, how you have those states,
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conservative states in democratic states, progressive states, republican states, saying that this is the right thing for their state. and other regional differences, but i also know we have had many conversations about how you can deal with those regional differences on a renewable energy standards and a program or clean energy standard. i think it could be done, but i don't expect that it will get done in this political time friend of reran. even though we can't get something like that done for sure, there ought to be no reason why we can't keep moving forward with wind energy and renewable energy resolution. i am still hopeful that there will be some things that the members of congress can do. the president has put together a simple to do list of matters that have been supported on a bipartisan basis in the past. our hope is that there is action on that to do list, that there is action in particular on the
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production tax credit for wind energy. thank you very much. [applause] >> the secretary has indicated he will take some questions. we have a couple of microphones. if you want to raise your hand over stolen you. let's get a microphone over here microphone away in the back first. go ahead. >> mr. secretary, thank you for your comments. i have a question for your former colleague that she did not have a chance to get to so i will ask you instead, particularly since you were a senator when the policy was formulated. >> what is your name. >> steve kaythree with american petrochemical manufacturers >> steve. >> there are obviously some big problems with the federal renewable tools standard. a couple of the largest being the continued lack of availability of commercially produced so u.s. to get the ball and the second being.
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[inaudible] those are two problems that were in -- we are staring in the face that obviously are going to go wake. as much as i hate to steal your line, i am going to because i like it. what is the message is you on how we resolve those issues going forward? >> we are a strong proponent of biofuel and making sure that what we are doing is investing from and are in the perspective and that we are increasing the amount of biofuels that can go into the of oil and gas next. i remember well working on the formula that we have in place now so that we were not too dependent on corn and still remember putting the caps that we put into the current rfs in place when that legislation was passed. we have because of the actions that the epa has taken, we are at a point where we are huge
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uses today of ethanol here in this country. we also believe that there are limits to what we can do with respect to foreign based ethanol . we have invested a significant amount of our time and energy looking at the advanced biofuel technology. so just in the last year or so alone there are no for bio refineries which are being set up in the country. we are looking at other kinds of materials to be able to continue the renewable energy program. but by -- my colleague, if he were here from the department of agriculture he would tell you that this is one of those things that we will continue to work on it has a very significant chapter in our energy portfolio for the united states of america. >> right over here. >> good morning, mr. secretary.
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imldb and associates and a member of the society. first of all, thank you for your lead on the gulf oil crisis. i think the president did the right thing, and i really applaud the way you brought all the agencies together. that is my question. the coordination of policy between interior and energy, transportation on alternative fuels for motor transportation, we now have diesel, clean diesel, locomotives, the big tracks are looking at compressed natural gas. and yet in the -- and 4-wheelers, and diesel and compressed natural gas for commercial -- commercially available automobiles among we seem to be lagging behind a lot of other places such as alberta in europe. what is the administration doing to attempt to work with the auto industry to coordinate the use
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of alternative fuels? >> it is a good question, and let me first respond by how we work in this ministration. from the very beginning i became secretary of interior, we put together an energy team. knowing that i have a significant role in that because of the resource which i oversee, but also knowing that stevens to, as secretary of energy, has a huge role in terms of their research and development and in business that are made. and the secretary in agriculture because of renewals and the forest service and a host of other things, and a lisa jackson because of efficiency and the environmental issues associated with energy. ray lahood because of the transportation demand for fuels. so we have worked as a team. it is a good team. we share our ideas and we developed the programs which the
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president for the president's administration. and so you will find all of these components that i have spoken about this morning set out in the blueprint for energy that we have talked about over the years. so all these components are included in there, and it is a manifestation of the work of the energy team that the president has put together. with respect to natural gas and compressed petrol gas, what we are doing there, we are hopeful that we will continue to see an increase usage and an increased demand for natural gas in this country. there is no doubt that because of hydraulic fracking and horizontal drilling and a whole host of technological innovations that are occurring, that the production of natural gas in this country is one of the renaissance things that has happened in the energy world for
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this country. but right now you all know it here because you know what the price of natural gas is versus the price of oil. the problem is that we don't have the infrastructure to do everything that we should be doing with respect to the usage of this very abundant and the domestic energy resource that we have. and so the president has pushed very hard to try to work with the private sector and secretary lahood and the transportation community on the conversion of vehicles over to natural gas. and so our -- i mean, you have heard in the plans that are out there in terms of how much oil could be saved if, in fact, you could have the conversion of vehicle fleets over to natural gas, so there are many companies that have already embraced that. the president has visited this facilities. ups enough for example, is a company that is already transforming its fleet over to
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natural-gas. and on holon call transportation we do need additional infrastructure. those are places where if we did have an energy bill, there would be additional things that the congress to do to help us take advantage of this very significant discovery that we have with respect to natural gas . all of the statistics i have seen from the experts tell us that we have about 100 years' supply of natural gas year in the united states. and the president, even before he was president, without talking about the importance of natural gas, fuel for the estates of america. in our early conversations in 2009 we were very much involved in trying to move forward with the potential construction of the alaska natural gas pipeline. today because of the economics of natural-gas the companies themselves of said, you know, we will hold on. we have to take another look at
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it. but in that timeframe what has happened with respect to the projections on natural gas development within the lower 48 is very immense, and we believe that that natural gas futures is going to be with this for a long time, and so it is important for us to have the kind of policies in place in the kind of promotion that we are doing to have the kind of conversion they speak about. >> last question. >> thank you very much, secretary salazar, for speaking to us about many different issues facing our energy future. one of the issues he talked about was specific to the arctic and possible still towing this summer. and i was wondering if you could speak a little bit more about safety in relation to that possible chilling and specifically how you're going to insure that dead shows bob provinces will be able to be
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used effectively in the arctic extreme condition. >> well, what is an end? >> leah down ahead from the alaska wilderness league. >> leah from the alaska wilderness league. that's okay. that's okay. [laughter] nothing that happens in interior is done without controversy. let me just say this, it is a very important question. it is a very important issue for the united states and for its future. i can just absolutely assure you that knighted this president, nor i would never be in a position where we would authorize anything to move forward in the arctic without being completely satisfied that it is going to be done in no way that will not damage our environment. so let me just say that up front.
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second of all, it is also important for people who are following what happens in the arctic to know that no final decisions have yet been made because there are still approvals that need to happen before shell is given the green light to move forward with what could be the potential drilling of a select number of wells. but those decisions are not yet final. third, as the factual matter, it is important for people to also remember that this is not the first time that oil and gas exploration activities occur in either. some 30 wells have already been well that there at other times by other people, other companies. and those exploration activities took place at a time when there was not the kind of oversight, frankly, that is in place today
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where every i is being dotted and every tea is being crossed. fifth, we see a lot happening in the arctic today. as the future of the arctic unfolds before our very nice, it is a place where senator murkowski for a long time has been hounding -- pounding her desk in the u.s. senate saying that we need to take a new look at the arctic and we need to understand its intensity and its opportunity. because the arctic is so far away, very few people really paid attention from a very long time. that has dramatically changed over the years. i spoke about the trips which secretary clinton and i have taken to places like greenland and to canada, and i will be in norway meeting with probably 12 countries that to their counterparts for the ministries of interior and it worked in the oceans. there will be a group there that
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will be focused specifically on the arctic. we know russia is moving forward with a very significant exploration program. we know norway and its future is looking at the arctic. we know canada has a huge interest in what is happening, and they're planning on moving forward. we ought not to be left behind. the united states ought not to be left behind. and finally, what i would say ted you, elliott, is that if the decision is made to move forward and if the wells are drilled, yes, it will be done with every safety precaution that is available to us or -- so nothing will happen and the preparations are extensive and intensive that have been underway. and there will be deployed as exploration does occur. we as americans should not be afraid of finding out that the
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resource values of their because i think often what happens in the world of energy, and it relates back to the part of the conversation that i started up the speech with, that as we live in a world of -- a fairy tale world and then there is the real world of energy, and the real world of energy it is important to have the best of formation and the best science. how can you have an honest conversation about places like the viejo lease or the atlantic wendy information that we have their is so outdated that we don't know what is there. the seismic, no other information really of the geophysical realities of the atlantic in the oil and gas resources that have been developed. so we ought not ever in my view be afraid of formation. and i obviously the arctic will be a major part of our work has
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we prepared over the months ahead. the potential exploration that may occur later on this summer. so we will be watching it with all hands on deck. thank you all very much. >> mr. secretary, thank you very much. >> secretary john bryson spoke about the role of coastal economies and maritime commerce this week. the secretary said the u.s. should act now enjoying the treaty says the benefits are too great to ignore. the treaty defines the rights and responsibilities of nations in international waters. part of an event hosted by the national marine sanctuary foundation. it's 25 minutes. [inaudible conversations]
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>> good morning, everybody. welcome to the 12th annual. it is wonderful to see many familiar faces. it is equally wonderful to see many unfamiliar faces. as the week has grown over the years, want to invite those who are joining us for the first time. my name is jason, president and ceo. to kick off the month president barack obama officially declared june as national oceans month the other day. and as he seems to do year in and you out he once again foreshadowed a lot of the things that we will be discussing of the next few days. in his proclamation the president asked us to, and i quote, celebrate our heritage as a seafaring nation. and that is what this year's is all about. highlighting how we are fundamentally a maritime nation. from our earliest origins to
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today to mull whether we look at our culture, identity, economy, heritage, demographics, national identity, and daily lives, their shaved by the addition. we are, in sum, one nation shipped by the sea. and for this year's we posed the question, how will we define the future of america's relationship with our russian? we will explore this relationship and answered this question over the next three days here in this building and on a fourth day friday as the capitol than it -- at the capitol visitors center. beginning with the opening keynote presentation by secretary john bryson and closing with the round table on thursday and then continuing at the capitol as a center on friday. national marine sanctuary foundation is proud to host some week. the foundation's mission is to connect people to the underwater places that define the american and russian. one of the ways that we do it.
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and one of the individuals who does it better than anybody else is mr. fred keeley. mr. killy is one of the newest trustees of the foundation, but he is a longtime champion of the ocean. he hails from california where currently serves as treasurer to the county of santa cruz. he was three times elected to the california assembly where he pioneered the marine life management act, which the associated press at the time called the most significant advancement in the russian policy in 50 years. additionally he authored two of the largest park and environmental bonds in our nation's history totaling over for a half billion dollars. even from his perch in california, he commands a national perspective on ocean and a rental issues. the university of california's santa cruz hose selection series which is still speaks volumes because and on like that is usually awarded posthumously.
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but if my eyes don't deceive me, mr. killy is right here in the front row dr. silvio burro who will be with us on thursday, the former secretary of the interior, bruce babbitt, and the current administrator. so it is my great honor to recognize a long time public servant and a lifelong lover of the ocean, the hon. fred keeley. [applause] >> good morning. thank you very much for all of you being here today. mr. secretary, thank you, sir, for literally grazing is with your presence. it is my honor this morning to introduce to you the 37 commerce secretary of the united states. john bryson has a very, very interesting background that goes both wide and deep. after he graduated from yale law school he was one of the folks
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who put together the natural resources defense council and took a deep abiding and lifelong interest in the preservation and enhancement of our natural resources throughout the country he also in california was the chair of the state water resources control board. now, that is worth thinking about for a second because california, as mark twain once said, whiskey is for drinking, water is for fighting over. so when you are the chair of the state water resources control board and you understand that the water is in the north, agriculture is in the middle, and the people are in the south, there is plenty to flyover. so when you are the chair. the idea is to see can you keep that fighting to a minimum and make progress on the issue of water in california. john did that. john, of course, went on to
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become president and ceo of edison international, one of the world's largest and in my view most progressive energy companies. john is a talented, intelligent, thoughtful secretary of commerce. he is the person who the president has entrusted with the rather sizable mission for this a ministration to be able to a 24 / seven create jobs, extend the reach of commerce throughout the world, domestically and abroad. it is my pleasure to introduce the 37 secretary of commerce, the hon. john bryson. [applause] one -- >> fred knocked me out with
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that. that is very generous. i think you very much. fred and i tell when he was in the assembly, the california legislature. we had a tough stretch in california. we've worked very hard to sort things out. but won't go into details, but it was amazingly challenging. ultimately we were to new. so nice to see you've. jason, i want to say, if you are having undertaken this, up 13 years is a real service to all this. fabulous service. and this is a wonderful gathering. as thank you all for being here. as fred wong, president obama in order to be on behalf of him and
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the entire a masturbation for this session week, it was great to see such a diverse community for researchers to businesses to congressional staff to the local, regional, and nonprofit groups. and i want to thank the national marine sanctuary foundation for putting together such a great week as well as for their input into the national ocean policy which will soon enter its implementation phase. as you know, we should all stay tuned for more on that in the months ahead. obviously this is a crucial moment for america's economy. you all know that as we emerge from the biggest recession since the great depression. our businesses have added over 4 million jobs over the last 27 months and that is a good news,
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but we still have much more work to do. fred touched on that. that is what i am most engaged in. today what i want to do is speak to how our oceans play a key role in that critically important economic recovery. america's waters have always been a strong economic engine. some call that the blue economy. sir walter raleigh, one of america's early explorers said this, i like this a lot. for whosoever commands the sea commands the trade and whosoever commenced the trade of the world commands the riches of the world
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and consequently the world itself. i am sure that rally could not have fathom the impact of planes or railroads much less the commerce, but the fact remains, even centuries after he spoke those memorable words, there remains a viable and powerful link between america's oceans, rivers, lakes, and america's economy. so consider this, more than half of americans live in coastal watershed counties. that is true even though this area makes up only 17 percent of our u.s. land area. those counties support about 66 million jobs. it is along the coastal areas. and so now more than ever we need to ensure that the blue economy is strong and growing. this morning i will touch on three ways that we can do that.
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so, first, i simply need to show off america's waters. i grew up in portland, oregon. as a boy i remember going with my father and uncle down to the columbia river down at the coast. they would go out into deep water to catch salmon, i would spend much of monday trying to fix the line on my little fishing pole. i was really into this. and then one summer when i -- i was in high school. i get very excited about something. i worked as a camp counselor on the puget sound. each week i took campers out every week. campers out for three and four day canoe trips. these were big trips. i'm sure that many of you have
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personal connections like that to our waters, and you cherish those memories that you made with friends and family. today it is time that we share those experiences for the rest of the oral. that is what the national marine sanctuary foundation are working towards everyday. together they support 14 marine protected areas across the u.s. these sanctuaries offers snorkeling, whale watching, fishing, and much more. and although altogether it is estimated that these communities and coastal businesses drive about $4 billion into our economy. let me take it a little further. you also see major impacts on our economy from things like recreational fishing. so when you add up the bait shops and book sales and other
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economic drivers in fishing communities, that comes to more than $73 billion supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs. so let me talk for a minute, however, about a missed opportunity. our oceans tomatoes, great lakes, sometimes almost entirely overlooked. both americans and international travelers plan their vacation. that is part of the reason why secretary salazar and department of interior in nine are heading up the administration's new national travel and tourism strategy which was released just last month. we believe that showing off our oceans, rivers, lakes, and coast is not just a nice thing to do. the fact is that travel and tourism is america's number one
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services export. this is a big impact on our economy. last year, for example, we had an all-time record of 62 million international travels -- travelers to the u.s. they supported over seven and a half million good american jobs. we need to build on the momentum that is why our new plan, the one that has just been put out, sets a goal of 700 -- i'm sorry, sets a goal of 100 million visitors each year by 2010. let's move that. the only way we're going to meet that goal is obviously if all of us worked together. many federal agencies, for example, are involved in this effort. of just give you one example, the state department is working to issue more tourist pieces
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from countries that have a growing middle-class. and then in addition, our private sector partners. for example, u.s. travel and tourism advisory board are working to ensure a great experience for our tourists. they want, for example, to make it easier for them to get through our airports and arrive at their final destinations. today we need your help. let's get the word out about the wonderful opportunities to discover and explore america's vast waters. i encourage you to check out the new travel and tourism strategy and thank you very much in advance for helping reach its important goals. all right. that is one. then, this is -- second wait that we can strengthen the economy is to maximize the potential of our oceans and waterways. i believe we can ensure that our
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oceans are healthy while also leveraging their ability to drive the economy. specifically, they can help increase u.s. exports. so even with air cargo and high-speed trains, it is important to remember that shipping remains a cornerstone of our export infrastructure. this is a stunning fact. net -- nearly 90 percent of our foreign goods trade is transported by ship. so in 2011, over half a trillion dollars in u.s. goods were exported around the world through shipping. it occurs to me that sir walter raleigh would be smiling. i was really surprised and i think, that our waterways arequipa of president obama's national export initiative.
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seeking to double u.s. exports by the year 2015, very ambitious goal, but we are making historic progress toward that ambition. last year, last year we hit an all-time u.s. record of over $2 trillion in exports. now, folks are working harder than ever to build on that. for example, know as navigational services division uses high-tech positioning tools combined with the latest weather data to ensure that our exports can move safely and efficiently. technology and information we provide to the private sector is particularly important at our nation's ports. for example, if a shipper knows that support has just one additional inch water, they can look more goods on to the above. so with that 1 inch, just as an
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example, you can put 99 more chevy volt on to the career, enough to make over 400,000 lows to bread. and my commitment is that we will continue to do everything possible to empower our exporters who use this c to send out good quality made in america products. today we must do even more. i will give just one important and timely example. the senate, as i think all of you know, is taking a hard look at having the u.s. joined the law of the sea convention. the strong support to of groups ranging from our military, the wildlife fund, american petroleum institute, the u.s. chamber of commerce. economic a facts, economic
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benefits of this year clear. first, it will ensure we continue to protect and maintain those shipping routes, but it is more than that. it will give our energy companies the certainty that they need to make critical investments to create jobs to help our telecommunication companies as they build and maintain undersea cables and they will secure our access are rare earth minerals which we need, for example, to make computers and cell phones. and importantly it will also help us urge other countries to sustained the support, sustainability cannot protect marine habitats and species, and to promote healthy oceans. already over 160 countries have signed on to the street. republicans and democrats alike have voiced their support for many years. everyone from presidents clinton and bush to secretary of defense
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leon panetta, a californian from the coast, james watkins, a great figure in my life, former chief of u.s. naval operations, u.s. secretary of energy, and the chair of the commission on the oceans policy. so it is clear that no country has more to gain from this treaty than does the u.s. important meetings were already under way to draw up the rules that are flowing from the convention. the u.s. has an empty seats waiting for us at the table. we need to fill it. after all, america has never been content to sit back and let others make decisions that could affect our security, our economy, or our environment. the benefits of this treaty are too great to ignore, especially at this crucial moment in our recovery. we should act now.
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so finally, it is commencement season. we all know that. most of us know it or are affected in some way by it. so i think it is appropriate to close by saying that we need to inspire the next generation to understand, explore, and protect our waters in the decades that lie ahead. and nbc's crime museum noaa just opened a new exhibit of the 47th anniversary of the marine mammal protection act. as you know, this law helps protect marine life and our marine ecosystems. as we speak there might be a young person wandering around the museum, looking at the pictures and thinking for the first time, this is what i want to do. this is my world. i bet that many of you here
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today have this same ha ha moment at some point early on and today you probably still have moments that really sparked your interest and imagination. for example, i'm sure that many of you know that the tell a presence technology allows us to send seafloor images to researchers and scientists around world. as you may have seen on the news a few weeks ago this hope the sun cover an incredible shipwreck in the gulf of mexico. looking forward were going to it even more sparked the interest of young people. starting this weekend we are teaming up with the national marine sanctuary foundation and the sports fishing conservancy to launch what is called the sanctuary classic.
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through competitions and scholarships the sanctuary classic will foster excitement among our youth about conservation in fishing. so as clear as this, we need to find young people who share our curiosity and are interested america's waters. maybe they want to be an oceanographer or the researcher who works in this field and maybe they want somebody to go into public service at a place like noaa. perhaps they simply want to start a business that helps people understand and enjoy our waterways like that can buy worked for the summer. taking campers on canoe trips on the puget sound. we need to identify these young people. we need to nurture them, mentor them. ultimately we need to be sure they can make a difference, just like all of you are making in your daily work.
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and so what i want to do is conclude with a ." a favorite president of mind. as president i have right now portrayed behind my desk and the commerce department. president kennedy once said, knowledge of the oceans is more than a matter of curiosity. our very survival. our oceans and waters are critical to our prosperity, quality of life, and to the future of our nation. if so, let's show them off, let's maximize the potential, and let's inspired that next generation to follow in our footsteps. thank you very much, and have a great, great week. thank you.

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