NATIONAL ENERGY SECURITY INTELLIGENCE ACT OF 2008 -- (Extensions of Remarks - July 23, 2008)
HON. RUSH D. HOLT
OF NEW JERSEY
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
TUESDAY, JULY 22, 2008
* Mr. HOLT. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the National Energy Security Intelligence Act of 2008, H.R. 6545.
* Our Nation is in the middle of an energy crisis. Oil and gas prices are continuing to climb past $4 a gallon, and it is unlikely that gas will ever be cheap again. We will never be able to meet our domestic demand even if we drill on every square inch of our public and private lands. The United States possesses only 2 percent of the world's oil reserves, yet consumes over 25 percent of the world's oil. In order to meet our demand we import 22 million barrels of oil a day from some of the most volatile regions of the world. There is no denying that our national security is weakened by our dependence on foreign fuels.
* While it is intuitive that our reliance on the international market for our oil and gas supply has an effect on the stability of our economy and our national security, we do not have up-to-date intelligence information on what this dependence means to our national and global security. The legislation before us today would require a National Intelligence Estimate, NEI, of the long-term and short-term outlook for oil and gas prices, supply, and demand as well as an assessment of how our dependence on foreign fuels affects both our short-term and long-term national security. I would like to commend my colleague from Louisiana, Representative DON CAZAYOUX, for introducing H.R. 6545. This legislation would provide us with the information that we need in order to make informed decisions about the relationship between crude oil and natural gas prices and our national security.
* The National Energy Security Intelligence Act would also study the national security implications of potential use of energy resources as leverage against the United States by Venezuela, Iran, or other potential adversaries as a result of increased energy prices. One of the most damaging ways Iran could leverage oil prices higher would be to disrupt or even cut off the flow of oil from the Persian Gulf. As chairman of the House Select Intelligence Oversight Panel, I believe it is essential that this NIE address Iran's ability to attack shipping and oil production infrastructure in the Persian Gulf region. Twenty years ago, Iran's efforts to disrupt shipping in the gulf led directly to a military confrontation between our countries. Published reports indicate that Iran has greatly expanded its sea mine stocks, its ballistic missile force, and other assets that could be used to disrupt oil production and shipment through the gulf. The NIE must address these issues if we are to have a full picture of Iran's potential to drive oil prices higher through military action. I support this bill, and I urge my colleagues to do likewise.