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tv   [untitled]    April 16, 2012 9:00pm-9:30pm EDT

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and so forth, there is a high likelihood that there will be a lot of nuclear power utilized in the next 20 or 30 years, if not in europe and the united states, certainly in china and elsewhere. >> steve cheney with the american security project. let me thank all of you for your service to our country right up front. i'm with the american security project. we cover topics that are virtually identical to this. bob, your comments about politicization of this, secretary mavis went up on the hill last week and was grilled hard about the navy's use of boy fuels when i think the decision to use biofuels is the right one. my question is to mr. smith on fed ex. you have so many airplanes now. biofuel has been proven to work
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in airplanes do. you have any plans to use biofuels? and secondly, one of the big problems with that is funding on the development front end. it could it seems to me on the industry side it would be a good thing to invest in. >> well, the industry is working very hard on this. boeing and airbus, who agree on very few things, just in the last week along with embraer of brazil announced a consortium to work on biofuels. lufthansa, virgin, klm, i think alaska airlines, qantas, many commercial carriers have flown airplanes powered with fuel mixed with jet a, and the fuel is made from kamalina, algae and so forth. that's all been certified.
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the navy is calling the fa/18. they call it the green hornet. this has been derided by the popular press and the conservative wings. and again, i am a conservative. so let me reemphasize that about the president's remarks on algae. but i think the president is absolutely right. the most likely biofuel that can be produced at scale is likely to come from algae. exxon has invested $600 million with craig ventnor, the individual who decoded the genome. we're working with an australian company that seems to have some pretty good technology to make jet fuel feed stock out of algae produced in bioreactors. algae is prolific, both in the sea and in static water.
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it can be made in bioreactors. it doesn't compete like corn does for crops and arable land and so forth. so if we get lucky and, you know, the right chemistry can be put together, i think biofuels is definitely part of the mix. but it's strictly at this point in time a matter of the scale production costs. it's not a technical issue anymore. >> we have time for one last question. i will turn it over to my colleague lee lane, sitting patiently. >> thank you. i noticed from the economic analysis that the consulate has authorized you call for -- and mr. smith mentioned this morning. you call for the phasing out eventually of the subsidies to
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the electric vehicles. and you also call for a restructuring of the biofuels subsidies -- actually, the subsidy has gone away. but what we still have -- we still have a mandate. i guess my question then is fundamentally of a political nature. and it is it seems awfully difficult for the u.s. government to get rid of a subsidy once it's created. and so is it really realistic? i mean i agree these are good policies and would be desirable. but don't we run the risk if we create a subsidy that it stays there even after the need for it has disappeared? >> look, we operate in a political system that cannot, cannot raise the price of fuel. through taxation. we have 18 cents a gallon
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federal tax on fuel, which is ridiculous. the average in europe is $4.50 so that the gallon in europe is $9 a gallon. that $9 a gallon you need no government subsidies to get people into alternative fuel vehicles. in fact the chevrolet volt, when we announced it, its sister car, the opal impera, it got 8,000 orders the first day with zero government subsidies because at $9 a gallon, it provides its own incentive. but in the states we -- the political process is such that we can't use the market mechanism of fuel price to drive demand for these alternative fuel vehicles. so we leave the fuel price, we leave taxation where it is. and then we have to find a somewhat artificial means to incent customers to look at these vehicles. as i say, if i were emperor of
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the united states, the only position for which i qualify by virtue of my foreign birth, i would raise the fuel tax in the united states by 25 cents a gallon per year so that people making a purchase decision would say, wow, it's $4 this year, 425 next year, $4.50 the year after this. you know what? we better buy a compact this time. a predictable rise in fuel prices. the problem with fred and i, when his commission first recommended strict fuel economy guidelines as a representative of an a automobile manufacturer. it was clearly opposed to it because cafe or corporate average fuel economy regulation is the equivalent of combatting national obesity by forcing clothing manufacturers to
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manufacture only small sizes. whereas what you should be doing is raising the price of food. so it's a round-about way of getting at it. is it a totally free market? no, it isn't. but it will have to suffice because we're not using the free market mechanism to get people to voluntarily restrict their use of gasoline. so we have to come in with an artificial substitute subsidy. i think if fuel prices continue to rise, we will see continued much faster rises in the efficiency of the u.s. fleet than you could ever achieve via regulation. so if we get to $5 a gallon and $5.50 a gallon, you're going to see a mass transition to small cars, to diesels, to hybrid vehicles. in other words, people will be more and more willing to pay for the technology. i don't like the system of
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artificially low fuel prices and then compensated by subsidies any better than anybody else. but since the fuel price and federal fuel taxation is the political third rail in the united states, no politician in his right mind is ever going to mention fuel taxes we have to use a different mechanism. and, you know, we all have to live in the world as it is. we can fight it, argue about it. but at the end of the day, to achieve progress, we have to do what works. be pragmatists and do what works. >> just one fact. the energy security leadership council was prepared to support an increase in fuel prices just as bob lutz described, you know, on a graduated scale to get to the same place and supported the reimposition of fuel efficiency standards and incentives for electric vehicles since it was
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impossible to achieve politically. >> i didn't know that. thank you. makes me feel a lot better. >> and on that happy note, let me just thank our very distinguished panelists, general kelley, general conway, bob lutz, fred smith. also the communications teams at both safe and hudson and the wonderful folks at c-span for pulling together today's event. thank you very much. >> nice to see you, sir. >> nice to see you. >> how are you doing? >> good to see you.
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coming up next on c-span 3, a house hearing on preventing prescription drug abuse, and the diversion of those drugs to illegal markets. and later on, a look at afghanistan's government and the security situation in the region. as u.s. forces prepare their withdrawal at the end of 2014. this morning, the senate's subcommittee on civil rights and human rights will hold a hearing on racial profiling. senators will examine the impact of newly enacted immigration
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laws, anti-terrorism efforts, and discriminatory law enforcement practices occurring around the country. watch live coverage getting under way at 10:00 a.m. eastern here on c-span 3. jury selection began this week in the retrail of roger clemens, charged by federal prosecutors of knowingly lying to congress in february 2008 on performance-enhancing drug abuse in baseball. >> let me read to you what his wife said in her affidavit. "i laura pettitte do oppose and state in 1999 and 2000 andy told me he had a conversation with roger clemens in which roger admitted to him using human growth hormones. mr. clemens, once again i remind you you're under oath. you have said your conversation with mr. pettitte never
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happened. if that was true, why would laura pettitte remember andy telling her about the conversation? >> once again, mr. congressman, i think he misremembers. andy's and i's relationship was close enough to know if i had known he had done hgh, which i -- if he was knowingly knowing that i had taken hgh, we would have talked about the subject. he would have come to me to ask about the effects of it. >> watch his 2008 testimony online at the c-span video library. with over a quarter century of american politics and public affairs on your computer. the house subcommittee in march held hearing examining prescription drug abuse and diversion. the white house's drug control policy director testified first, providing an update on the administration's prescription drug abuse prevention plan released in 2011. according to the centers for disease control and prevention, approximately 27,000 unintentional drug overdose deaths occurred in 2007.
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in about 45 minutes, we'll hear from attorneys general of kentucky, florida, and ohio discussing their state's efforts to prevent prescription drugs from being diverted to illegal markets. >> good morning. if statistics hold true, by the time this hearing is over, ten americans will have tragically and i believe needlessly died from prescription drug overdoses. today prescription drug abuse is a deadly, serious, and rapidly escalating problem across our nation. we have a solemn obligation to tackle this epidemic head-on, and i'm going to keep beating the drums until congress, the fda and the dea come up with a comprehensive plan for action. i recognize her statement for opening statement. and the clock is not working. that's all right for me. it won't be all right for y'all, though. so don't get too comfortable. as americans we rally around efforts to fight breast cancer, childhood diseases and other
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serious health threats. but for far too long there have only been hushed whispers about prescription drug abuse. now the fastest growing drug problem in america, according to the cdc. today as the death toll from prescription drug overdoses continues to rise harp sharply, it's time to move the story this from the obituary page to the front page where it belongs. it's time to realize we can't simply wish this horrific problem away, not with nearly 30,000 people a year dying from it. see no evil, hear no evil often leads to a society's unspoken evil, indifference. we can do better than that, and we must. just about everyone knows someone who is affected by prescription drug abuse. which impacts an estimated 12.5 million americans and is now considered a health epidemic by the cdc. according to a survey, nearly one in 412th graders have abused prescription drugs. today two classes of medicines,
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painkillers and insomnia drugs are responsible for about 70 deaths and nearly 3,000 emergency room visits a day. these are stunning numbers. but here is what even more alarming. the overdoses from these powerfully addictive medicines is now more than double the death toll from heroin, cocaine and all other illegal drugs combined. as a result, for the first time ever, drug deaths outnumber traffic fatalities and have become the leading cause of accidental death in america. so what is the answer? when it comes to prescription drug abuse, where are the safety belts and the air bags that we need to deploy? first, like anyone in recovery knows we have to admit we have a serious problem. americans today simply are prescribed too many medicines there is a pill for just about every ache, pain, and malady. so what is wrong with that? well, consider this. not long ago, the dea conducted three national drug takeback days, and i applaud them for that. and at those three take-back days, they collected an
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astonishing 995,815 pounds of unused and unneeded medicines. that's 995,000 pounds, not pills, in just three days. today doctor shopping is a widespread problem, which contributes to our nation's alarming drug addiction rate, increases costs to all of us through higher insurance rates, and makes it extremely difficult for the dea to crack down on abusers. compounding the problem is often a false sense of security. if it's approved by the fda and prescribed by a doctor, it must be okay. wrong. too many pills taken at once or combining them with other drugs and alcohol can have a serious and even deadly consequence. but the issue confronting us today is a much more complex and evolved than just what have you found lately in grandma's medicine cabinet. the black market sale of powerful and highly narcotic painkillers such as oxycontin and vicodin is big business, prompting the dea to attack the problem on multiple fronts, from
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street level sales all the way to the top of the supply chain. targeted first were the so-called pill mills in florida, which were largely unregulated until last year. and they routinely dispensed painkillers like they were m&ms from a gum ball machine there is a yet more insidious side of the story as well. after becoming aaddicted to painkillers, more and more are switching to heroin. drug treatment experts say the use of heroin by young adults has more than tripled since 2006. much of the growth is due to people who switch to heroin as a cheaper alternative to oxycontin. now going on the street for as much as $80 for an 80-milligram tablet. by contrast, oxycontin sells for about $6 a tablet in pharmacies. personally, he will never forget the very chilling phone call i received one night from a constituent of mine who told me that his son had had a gun put to his head because he couldn't pay the street price any longer for his oxycontin.
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so what is the answer? i believe my legislation the ryan creedin act and the top oxy abuse act are good starting points. my goal is to improve proscriber education by getting doctors, dentists, nurse practice tissuers in and other practicers up to speed that powerful drugs such as oxycontin are to treat severe pain only, not moderate pain like a toothache or a sore knee. in far too many cases, addiction becomes a much greater health threat than the original pain itself. and in far too many cases, death is a final result of failed rehab. let's not continue to blame this on gram ma in and her medicine chest. she knows better. and in our hearts americans do too. i'm happy to recognize the gentleman from north carolina, the ranking member of our subcommittee, mr. butterfield for his five minutes. >> thank you. let me thank the chairman for
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holding today's hearing on this very important subject, prescription drug diversion. i know that this issue is very important to you and i admire your work on it. prescription drug diversion is an ever growing problem in our country. in fact, a couple years ago in 2010, 7 million people, 7 million over the age of 12 were considered current users of a prescription pain reliever, tranquilizer, stimulant, or sedative that was not prescribed to them. sadly, it's become clear that as legitimate prescription drug use rises, so too does the number of people who abuse these drugs. and so too does the number of people who accidentally die from prescription drug overdose. it is unconscionable that since 1990, a little over 20 years ago, deaths resulting from an overdose of prescription drugs have risen. it's risen fivefold. something must be done, and i agree with that but the question is what? and by whom.
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some of the testimony we will hear today comes from manufacturers and distributors of prescription drugs. it seems to me that the security and safeguards these entities employee is very impressive and goes beyond what might be expected. the use, layers upon layers -- they use layers upon layers of security. they hire third parties to audit the processes and make immediate changes if a vulnerability is identified. they track shipments with gps precision, and have built in a lot of redundancy in their security procedures. understandably, though, the further down the supply chain a particular drug travels, the greater are the opportunities for diversion. the national survey on drug use and health reported that 76%, more than 3/4 of people who use prescription drugs nonmedically gain access to them from someone they know.
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i think this needs to be our focus as we go forward. to that end, we need to focus on anti-diversion efforts, and i'm pleased that the director from the white house office of national drug control policy is here today to tell us about their action plan. in a perfect world, the answer to this problem is personal responsibility. but in the real world it's clear the federal government does have a defined role to play. we need to provide greater support for education programs for young people so they can learn at an early age the dangers of misusing prescription drugs. we need to provide greater support for rehabilitation initiatives so those who are addicted to prescription drugs have access to the help they medically need. and we need to make sure dea has access to the resources it needs to scrutinize all the players involved in the manufacturer, distribution, and dispensing of controlled substances. most involved in this process
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are good and honest people, and the dea needs to find the ones who are not. and so i'd like to personally on behalf of the democrats on this committee thank all of you for coming today. and i look forward to your testimony. i stand ready to work with each of you, madam chair and our colleagues and witnesses to curtail prescription drug abuse in the united states of america. thank you so very much. i yield back. >> thank you, mr. butterfield. chairman upton has yielded his fife minutes for an opening statement to me in accordance with committee rules. as his dissignee. >> thank you. very important. i'm also very pleased to have and welcome our attorney general, florida's own attorney general, pam bondi. she is here to testify on this important hearing. she is florida's 37th attorney general, worn in january of last
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year. she is a native of florida, and she graduated from the university of florida, which i represent. so i'm proud to have her as so-called constituent. she also graduates from stetson law school and was a prosecutor for almost 18 years. among her top priorities is strengthening penalties to stop pill mills in the sunshine state, which from our last hearing, madam chair on this issue was a prevalent problem in our state. and with her dedication and leadership against prescription drug abuse, florida went from having 98 of the top 100 dispensing physicians for oxycontin pills to having 13 dispensing physicians residing in florida. so frankly, her success in this effort results in recognition for the national association of drug diversion investigators, the florida police chiefs association, and from the florida board of medicine. so i want to welcome her, and i thank you, madam chair, for the opportunity to do so. >> thank you. and i just want to point out that there is a hearing going on in the health subcommittee with a cabinet secretary.
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so a lot of members are bouncing in and out. if they're able to attend, i want to thank the members who are here. >> madam chairman, that's where i was until i figured out i was in wrong place. >> i'm glad you figured out. but we do have three panels before us today. each of our witnesses has prepared an opening statement that will be placed into the record. each of you will have five minutes to summarize the statement in your remarks. the good news is the clock is working and there is a timer in front of you now. on the first panel we have the honorable gil kerlikowske. good morning, director, and once again thank you very much for being here. we're happy to recognize you now for five minutes for your statement. >> thank you, chairman and ranking member butterfield and distinguished members of the subcommittee. it's a great opportunity for us to update you on this important issue of prescription drug abuse in the united states. prescription drug abuse has been a major focus of the office of national drug control policy since my confirmation.
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i'm particularly indebted to chairman bono mack for calling me up to her office in the first week that i was in office to really begin to educate me about an issue that frankly three years ago was not on the public's radar screen, but is clearly in front of the public today. i included prescription drug abuse as a initiative as part of the administration's national drug control strategy. as has been mentioned, it's been categorized as a public health epidemic by the centers for disease control and prevention. the scope of nonmedical use of pharmaceuticals is striking. cdc found in 2008 that the opioid pain relievers were involved in 8,000 deaths and are involved in more overdose deaths as has been mentioned than heroin and keck cain combined. the vast majority of pharmaceutical drugs originally enter into circulation through a prescription. the quantity of prescription painkillers sold to pharmacies,
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hospitals and doctors offices has quadrupled from 1999 to 2010. when i testified last year before this subcommittee in april, the administration had just released that month its comprehensive prescription drug abuse prevention plan. and the plan focuses on four major pillars. the first pillar is education. most prescription painkillers are prescribed by primary care doctors, internists and dentists, not pain specialists. the fda is requiring manufacturers of these opioids to develop educational materials and training for prescribers. the administration is working with congress to amend the federal law to require mandatory education and training for prescribers. and we are also working very hard to educate the general public about the risks and the prevalence of prescription drug abuse and about the safe use and proper storage and disposal of these medications. on the second pillar, monitoring, we focused on expanding and monitoring state prescription drug monitoring
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programs. 48 states have those laws. despite the progress, some states lack operational programs. many states operate pdmps that lack interoperability with other states. but i'm pleased to report the administration worked with congress to secure legislative language to allow the department of veterans affairs to share prescription drug data with these pdmps. our third pillar focuses on safe disposal of unused and expired medications. and through the national prescription drug take-back days that the dea has collected and was talked about by the chair. the administration also recognizes the significant role that pill mills and rogue prescribers play in this issue. our surveys and research show that with chronic addiction to prescription drugs they're more likely to obtain their drugs from the pill mills than the recent initiates. and the final pillar of the administration's plan focuses on improving law enforcement capabilities to address diversion.
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across the country, law enforcement regulatory and legislative actions are forcing doctors and shoppers -- doctor shoppers and others seeking the sources of prescription drugs to be apprehended. the problem, of course, was highlighted in the state of florida which was in 2010 the epicenter of the nation's pill mill epidemic. but i have to tell you that working with the attorney general in the state of florida has led to marked changes in that state. and i couldn't be more pleased that not only she, but attorney general conway are here. in 2011 ondcp, our office, supported training events because we know if you're going to do the enforcement, it can't be just at the federal level. it has to be at the state and local level also. and experts at law enforcement need that kind of training in order to investigate these complex cases. we're undertaking a data analysis project right now to examine the ways the
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prescription drugs are purchased, purchasing behaviors, and whether those patterns are indicative of suspicious behavior. we held a roundtable with members of the pharmacy community and law enforcement to discuss pharmacy robberies and burglaries. we called in the heads of organizations that work on the security of the manufacturers and distributors to make sure that we were knowledgeable what they were doing to secure these very potent pharmaceuticals. in closing, just let me thank the members of congress for their support on the ondcp and my executive branch colleagues who know that without your efforts and without your support, we would not make a difference in this very important area. thank you. >> thank you very much, director. i will recognize myself now for five minutes for questioning. and just ask you, with


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