The issue of Energy is important to our district and to my work in Congress.
Over the past decade, Americans have become increasingly familiar with the day-to-day financial strain caused by exorbitant energy prices. Consider, for example, that approximately 80% of American communities receive their commodities solely by truck. When gas prices exceed three dollars per gallon, a domino effect occurs, and the entire American economy is burdened.
Our current energy policy is not just detrimental to our economy; it is detrimental but to our national security interests, as well. The sad fact is that by purchasing oil from certain Middle Eastern nations, American money finds its way into the hands of terrorists, and ultimately we are subjecting ourselves to the whims of radical regimes who happen to control a large amount of oil. This dilemma has become more apparent as we see additional unrest in the Middle East – many countries that have access to much of the oil in the region.
Over the past two decades, numerous bills and initiatives have come before Congress to unlock the more than 10.4 billion barrels of oil in ANWR, and to strike the current moratoria on oil and gas exploration along the Outer Continental Shelf (estimated to contain 85.9 billion barrels of oil along with 420 trillion cubic feet of natural gas). These efforts have been opposed largely on the grounds of environmental damage that would occur under such exploration. However, 21st century arctic technology, including 3-dimensional (3-D) seismic technology that enables exploration while protecting sensitive environments, continues to meet and exceed environmental and safety challenges.
It is critical, now more than ever, to unlock America's vast supplies of domestic energy in order to provide for our growing energy needs while reducing our dependence on foreign oil and preventing critical energy shortages in the future. Our energy problem will not be solved by any one policy; we need a well-rounded, comprehensive approach to energy reform that immediately addresses the lack of domestic production, for the short term, and encourages research into alternative forms of energy, for the long term.
ANWR: In 1980, Congress and President Carter created the nearly 20 million acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), but set aside a portion of ANWR’s northern coastal plain for the purpose of future energy exploration and development. Energy exploration would be limited to just 2,000 acres, the equivalent of only 0.01%of ANWR’s total acreage. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the mean estimate of recoverable oil in ANWR is 10.4 billion barrels.
- That’s more than twice the proven oil reserves in all of Texas.
- That’s almost half of the total U.S. proven reserves of 21 billion barrels.
- That represents a possible 50 percent increase in total U.S. proven reserves.
- EIA also estimates daily ANWR would provide 1 million barrels per day for 30 years.
- ANWR energy production would also create as many as 1 million new jobs for Americans in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Oil Shale, Tar Sands, Heavy Oil, and Coal-to-Liquids: Petroleum is no longer just available from traditional reservoirs. It can be extracted from shale and other formations which are abundant throughout North America. Some observers have described the United States as the Saudi Arabia of oil shale, with about 1.8 trillion barrels of oil recoverable from U.S. shale. Tar sands are also plentiful, with 11 billion recoverable barrels in the U.S. and far more in our ally to the north—Canada. Additionally, there are nearly 100 billion barrels of heavy oil (a thicker crude oil) in the U.S., and America’s voluminous coal resources could allow coal-to-liquid production making diesel and jet fuels from gasified coal)without affecting the coal supply for electricity.
Expanding our Refineries: Oil refineries are critical to the production of gasoline from crude oil. Yet no new refineries have been built in America since 1978. I will continue to support legislation such as H.R. 2471, the Refinery Streamlined Permitting Act of 2007, which would make it easier for the private sector to expand capacity at existing petroleum refineries, or to build entirely new ones. We must remove as many impediments to increased refining and production as possible.
OCS: There have also been repeated proposals, for which I have and will continue to advocate, to expand deep sea energy exploration and extraction on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS)— the lands under the waters surrounding the United States--most of which are statutorily off limits to energy development. Indications are that such expansion could yield 86 billion barrels of oil.
Researching Alternative Energy: In addition to producing our own oil and utilizing safe, clean, effective forms of alternative energy (such as nuclear power, with which France powers about 80% of its own electricity needs), we must also apply American ingenuity to the task of developing new, efficient, sustainable forms of energy, with which we can decrease our dependence on fossil fuels.