Independent Tribune - Put American Know-How to Work to Meet our Needs
By Larry Kissell
America must begin aggressively and immediately drilling for oil on the 68 million acres, 33 million of which are offshore, where oil companies hold leases. We must stand up to the energy companies and not only demand they start drilling, but that they make American oil available to Americans first.
The United States exportation of finished petroleum products--including gasoline, diesel fuel and jet fuel--soared to 1.592 million barrels per day in May. May's gasoline exports were almost double 2007 levels, and were the most since 1945 when America was providing fuel to other countries at the end of World War II.
Oil companies in America should uncap potentially productive oil wells that were capped when the price of oil was substantially lower than it is today. Oil companies must be made to uncap productive wells, drill where leases are held and make American product available to Americans first before we should allow them to purchase leases along North Carolina's Outer Banks.
Among the most serious challenges facing our nation are those of high energy costs and the long-term supply of energy, including gasoline. For many years, politicians in Washington have failed to lead our great nation down a path of energy independence by deferring to the major energy corporations' wishes rather than representing the interests of consumers. Our nation needs a long-term, comprehensive energy plan that maximizes utilization of existing resources as well developing alternative energies and increasing the efficiency of fuel consumption.
While I support an immediate and aggressive drilling policy, no amount of drilling will keep pace with the ever-increasing global demand for oil. America needs an energy policy designed to reduce our nation's participation in the global bidding process for the ever-dwindling oil supply. Our nation must begin to make a greater investment in research to develop alternative fuels. Biofuels, wind, solar and other renewable, natural, energy alternatives should be part of such a plan. That plan must include the reallocation of resources to ensure that grain grown for fuel is in addition to that needed to keep food prices stable. We do not need to burn food for fuel, but a national plan to increase production of fuel-producing plants would cut dependency on foreign oil, allow farmers to sell more on the world market, and protect food prices from over consumption of grain for fuel. American farmers have fed the world. I believe in the near future they will play a major role in fuelling the world as well.
During the 10 years Robin Hayes has been in Congress, gas prices have gone up from $1.22 a gallon to nearly $4 a gallon. Working families and small businesses are suffering due to the increase in global demand for oil and our government's failed response to the crisis while oil companies and their stock holders reap record profits. I vow to represent the interests of consumers over the interests of the oil corporations.
In addition to maximizing oil leases and supplies, our nation must also maximize our foremost resources: the skills and effort of the American people. As I have been saying for two years, we need to put American know-how and ingenuity to work to meet our energy needs. Only by regaining control of our energy destiny can we hope to rebuild our economy and secure our nation's place in the world. Green collar jobs, the exportation of new technologies and the savings of trillions of dollars now being shipped to hostile nations for oil will bolster our economy and help keep us free and in our rightful place in a leadership role in the world throughout the new century.