A Simple Step To Ease Pressure on Oil Prices
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By Thomas J. Donohue, President and CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Sky-high oil and gas prices are socking Americans right in their wallets. The average price for a gallon of gasoline is more than $3.60. Oil prices are hovering around a record $120 a barrel. Many of the elderly and the poor are being forced to choose between filling their tanks with gas or their cupboards with food. It also means slower economic growth and higher consumer prices at a time when our country can least afford them.
It's time for Congress to stop wringing its hands and start acting. If Congress is serious about increasing supply, easing pressure on prices, and reducing our dependence on foreign energy, it can take one simple step—allow energy explorers to tap into America's huge reserves of oil and natural gas in an environmentally responsible way.
Over the years, Congress has locked away vast untapped domestic energy resources offshore, on federal lands, and in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. These restrictions have been imposed by politicians who frequently call for "energy independence." Federal lands hold an estimated 635 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas, enough to meet the natural gas needs of 60 million homes for 140 years.
Federal lands also hold an estimated 112 billion barrels of recoverable oil, enough to produce gasoline for 60 million cars and fuel oil for 25 million homes for 60 years. Opening up these resources will also give us a cushion as existing oil and gas deposits are exhausted.
Of course, there are many other steps we must take to decrease demand, such as improving efficiency, building modern and safe nuclear plants, and investing in renewables and other alternative fuels–we need to do all of them. But increasing domestic production is something we can do now with proven technologies. We can do it in a way that protects the environment. We can do it in a way that provides real relief to Americans who are hurting economically. And we can create thousands of new, good-paying jobs in the process. Instead of sending billions of dollars to foreign oil producers, wouldn't it be better to take control of our energy future and keep our money at home?
It's time to unlock America's natural energy resources. It's time to give our citizens a real energy plan that will deliver real results. It's time to take control of our energy future.
The U.S. Chamber's Institute for 21st Energy is devising a plan to do just that and will present it to the presidential candidates this June. Stay tuned ...
02 May 2008 - Donohue Lays Out Common Sense Approach to Energy, Climate Change