STATEMENT BY CONGRESSMAN WM. LACY CLAY (D) MO IN RESPONSE TO PRESIDENT BUSH'S CALL TO END FEDERAL BAN ON OFFSHORE OIL DRILLING AND TO OPEN UP THE ARTIC NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGEE TO OIL AND GAS PRODUCTION
Note: The following is a first-person statement by Congressman Wm. Lacy Clay (D) MO
"The President's argument, like his energy policy, is nonsensical. We cannot drill our way to energy independence. The truth is that oil companies are currently sitting on 68 million acres of public lands they have already leased, but President Bush wants to award them with even more.
Since 1999, the number of drilling permits issued has gone up 361%, yet gas prices keep skyrocketing. Expanding domestic oil production will do little to bring down the price of gasoline. Americans are suffering under the Bush energy policy that was written by Vice
President Cheney and the lobbyists from big oil and gas companies $4 a gallon gasoline; $134 per barrel oil; increased reliance on foreign sources of energy and on hydrocarbons that contribute to climate change.
We use one quarter of the world's oil consumption every day and we possess less than 2 percent of the world's supply. Our transportation sector -- cars, trucks, trains and planes - account for 96% of our domestic oil needs. Sound public policy is necessary to address our long term energy needs if we are to achieve lasting economic stability and national security.
Our nation must move toward a new, cleaner, and more affordable energy future that focuses on renewable and increased energy efficiency.
After several decades of intensive extraction, proven U.S. reserves stand at about 22 billion barrels. In contrast, the Middle East has 740 billion barrels in proven reserves. Whether or not our pristine public lands are opened to oil drilling, our domestic oil resources are not adequate to meet our energy needs. Drilling in the Arctic refuge would produce, in total, less than 1% of the oil that Americans will consume over the next 50 years or about the amount we will consume in six months.
The United States needs federal energy policies that will reduce energy consumption by increasing energy efficiency. I recently voted for the Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act, this measure will end unnecessary subsidies to big oil companies and spur investments in clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency.
It will extend and expand tax incentives for renewable electricity, energy and fuel, as well as for plug-in hybrid cars, and energy efficient homes, buildings, and appliances. These programs are critical to the creation of hundreds of thousands of jobs in the field of alternative energy development. This energy legislation is now pending action by the Senate.
I have also cosponsored the Gas Price Spike Act of 2008. This bill would implement a windfall profits tax on gasoline and diesel. This tax would be placed on key oil industry profits that are above a reasonable rate of return. Oil companies that collect excessive profits would have to pay a stiff tax on those excessive profits and this threat of heavy taxation will let oil companies know that price gouging does not pay."