Last month I was pleased to join over 135 other Republican Members of Congress on the floor of the House of Representatives to do the will of the American people by calling for a comprehensive energy policy. It is indisputable that the American people want us to develop our nation's resources to reduce our nation's dangerous reliance on foreign sources of energy. This is demonstrated in poll after poll and exemplified through the meetings I have with constituents.
Unfortunately, the Majority in Congress has failed to bring any legislation to the floor that would increase domestic energy production and lower energy prices. Instead they have proposed "No Energy" legislation which actually pushes $19 billion in energy tax hikes onto American consumers, manufacturers and small businesses.
Specifically, this "No Energy" legislation does not permit responsible exploration of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, known as ANWR, potentially producing a million barrels of oil a day. In contrast, the American Energy Act, which I have cosponsored and which takes an all of the above' approach to developing traditional sources of energy as well as promoting alternative sources and encourages conservation, would provide for opening only 2,000 of the 19 million acres of the refuge, or the equivalent of an area one-fifth the size of Dulles Airport in an area the size of South Carolina for oil exploration and drilling.
Furthermore, this legislation does not even address some of our most promising domestic alternative and renewable energy supplies. The legislation does nothing to encourage the production of more nuclear power which provides CO2 emission-free energy. Additionally, coal is one of our nation's most abundant resources, yet the development of clean coal technologies is completely ignored by this bill.
The "No Energy" legislation prohibits environmentally responsible exploration of American oil shale resources unless states "opt-in" to such a system and the bill does not allow local communities to share in the revenues generated from oil shale exploration.
While the legislation may remove some of the barriers that prevent drilling along the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), it does not provide the traditional revenue sharing between the federal government and states for the income generated from the development of this vital resource. Without allowing coastal states to share in the revenue, they will have no incentive to develop these important resources.
This "No Energy" legislation does nothing to address the energy concerns of our country. The legislation only makes the situation worse and it is the product of a flawed process that does not have bipartisan support. If we really want to make our country energy independent, this Congress must pass an energy bill that allows and encourages the development of our nation's resources. Americans are tired of Congress playing politics when they are in desperate need of relief from high energy costs. It is time for Congress to get serious and allow Americans increased access to their energy resources.