Today, America is drilling for ice on Mars, but we cannot drill for oil in America. Energy prices are soaring, and the financial pain that families are feeling at the pump is forcing them to decide what they can and cannot spend. Many in Congress, who act as if they have been living under a rock, continue to ignore the demands of the American people and refuse to do anything to lower these burdensome prices. These skyrocketing gas prices and a risky dependence on fuel supplied by volatile, Middle Eastern nations highlight our need for an American energy policy that emphasizes production and decreases our reliance upon all foreign oil.
The fact is that the vast majority of U.S. energy consumption is based on fossil fuels and the reality is that fossil fuels will be the main energy source in the U.S. for some time. I support a comprehensive, balanced energy policy that encourages free market growth and innovation while researching potential alternative energy solutions. Congress should be seeking ways to expand free markets by increasing domestic energy production and deregulating the energy industry, not imposing additional taxes and restrictions.
America has been blessed with abundant supplies of oil and gas off our coasts and in Alaska and we should not be hesitant to tap into them. However, liberals have opposed developing our coasts 83% of the time while House Republicans have supported responsible and environmentally sound development 81% of the time. As for ANWR in Alaska, liberals have opposed ANWR exploration 86% of the time while House Republicans have supported safe development 91% of the time. Liberals have constantly preached energy independence but will do anything to prevent it. Today, both of these areas are off limits to any development at all!
Currently, The United States is the only developed nation in the world that forbids energy production on its Outer Continental Shelf. Despite a decades-long record of environmentally responsible offshore production, 80% of America's oil and natural gas resources on the Outer Continental Shelf are completely off-limits to exploration and production.
How do we know that these lands contain so much oil? We know because communist China and communist Cuba are extracting it right now. In fact, China is drilling for oil closer to South Florida than U.S. companies are! Yet, liberals continue to refuse to allow access to American oil and gas supplies.
Not only do we need to extract American oil and gas, but we also need to refine our oil and gas much faster in order to help bring energy prices down even further. The environmental groups haven't allowed a new oil refinery to be built in the United States in thirty-two years and it will do little good to increase our use of domestic supplies of oil if we do not have the refinery capacity to quickly convert this fuel into a usable form. I constantly urge members on both sides of aisle to stand up to these extreme fringe environmentalist groups and implement policies that encourage the construction of new refineries in the U.S.
As we Americans tap into our own energy supplies, the federal government must also trust the free market to develop new technologies for the future. I do support a comprehensive, balanced energy policy that encourages free market growth and innovation in search of potential alternative energy solutions, but I do not support any government measures with the intent of forcing industries to develop new technology. Americans have and will always seek to use less gas and spend less on energy. Our free market innovators will meet those demands as long as the government does not get in the way.
Unfortunately, instead of defending hard-working Americans from harmful environmentalist demands and allowing for free market advances, liberals have pushed through a so-called "energy" bill that failed to produce even a single kilowatt of new energy or produce a gallon of gas. They have even proposed raising the federal tax on gasoline and diesel by 50 cents per gallon, on top of the already existing federal tax of 18.4 cents per gallon for gasoline and 24.4 cents per gallon for diesel. Congress must understand that a free economy gives people what they want instead of what some political majority thinks they ought to have. The foundation of any argument against the free market is an argument against freedom itself.
Energy is the lifeblood of the American economy and our economic prosperity is closely tied to the availability of reliable and affordable supplies of energy. Alaska could produce twice the oil of Texas and even more than that is waiting to be drilled off our coasts. It is absurd that many Americans can barely afford the commute to work, much less drive long distances for vacation. I will continue to fight against any efforts by Congress to tax gas, prohibit the extraction of our own fuels, or limit free market development. I promise to keep working to pull Congress out from under the rock it seems to be living under and lead the way towards a more energy-independent future for America.