I share the concerns that many constituents have raised about the current cost of energy. This is an issue for all Americans and our nation.
Unfortunately, our nation’s energy policy has relied on foreign produced and controlled oil. Since the energy crisis of the late 1970’s, Congress has failed to adopt a sound and comprehensive energy policy. The price at the pump continues to spike with every disruption in source, holding the United States and consumers’ hostage. While more recently domestic production has increased, we are still far away from being truly energy independent.
High gasoline cost is a direct result of limited supply and increasing demand. In some cases, this is compounded by unscrupulous fuel retailers who take advantage of this model unjustly increasing prices. Government can act to stop price gouging and penalize abusers, but really never control market prices.
In today’s unstable world, it has become painfully clear that the policy of foreign dependence on oil will only ransom our economy and burden American families. This also curtails economic recovery and cannot be allowed to continue. While today’s prices are high, tomorrow’s prices may be even worse if we do not adopt a sound short and long term energy plan.
We must expedite the development of our domestic resources in the short-term. Some short-term solutions to bring immediate relief are to allow expanded natural gas exploration and allow oil production in the ANWR and Outer Continental Shelf with safer measures and better oversight. In addition, increased exploration within the Bakken Fields in the Midwest and other regions is helping top curb our foreign reliance. Increasing the number of oil refineries and their capacity will also aid supply and pricing. We must look to our own resources to attain energy independence by both accessing domestic production and also by encouraging positive energy alternatives such as natural gas extraction, of which the United States has the largest reserves in the world.
In recent years, many of the oil source countries have experienced considerable political and social strife. Our gas prices are hostage to world events, placing us in a helpless position to control our own energy destiny. Our nation has the resources to sustain our current and future energy needs. Clean energy sources can provide us with a long-term solution to our energy needs, but unfortunately will not solve our problems in the short-term. Forcing extremely expensive solutions will only add to our national debt and increase U.S. spending compounding our problems. We need solutions that will create jobs to accelerate our recovery. Realizing this, the House passed legislation enabling the construction and utilization of the Keystone XL Pipeline, a Bill I sponsored. This legislation will allow for American jobs, cheaper gas pump prices and less dependence on foreign oil.
I will continue working in Congress to strengthen our economy, preserve our national security interests, protect consumers and secure America’s energy needs. While there are no simple answers to high energy prices, be assured that I remain committed to supporting legislation that will allow for a sound domestic energy policy and will allow us to free ourselves from being at the mercy of those that do not share our interests.