U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), Texas' senior Senator, along with Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Kit Bond (R-MO) today led a Republican effort, urging the White House to tap new domestic energy sources and expeditiously complete the Administration's five-year plan for offshore oil and gas development. Sens. Hutchison, Murkowski, and Bond were joined on the letter by 32 of their Republican colleagues in the U.S. Senate.
"American families are struggling under some of the most challenging economic times in a generation. One of the key ways we can relieve stress on working families is to ensure low energy costs over the long term," said Sen. Hutchison. "I urge the Administration to take the steps necessary to develop our domestic and abundant OCS resources, which have been off-limits since 1982. These resources, when paired with American ingenuity, will help free the U.S. from dependence on foreign energy, strengthening our economy and national security. We must begin with the swift development of offshore oil and gas, as well as leveraging renewable resources and increasing energy efficiency."
"Responsible development of the OCS is key to improving our energy security and reviving our economy," Sen. Murkowski said. "In this time of economic uncertainty, we cannot afford to ignore the rich natural resources just off our shores. Used correctly, those resources can both keep energy prices low and create high-paying jobs for thousands of Americans. What we need is a balanced energy policy - one that incorporates more domestic production of both conventional and renewable energy sources, along with strong environmental safeguards."
"We cannot afford to deny Americans new energy supplies and just wait for the return of $4 a gallon gas to act. It is critical that the Administration taps into 100 billion barrels of oil just off our shores, increasing America's oil supplies, reducing our dependence on foreign cartels, and keeping energy prices low for struggling families," Sen. Bond said.
In a letter to President Barack Obama, Sens. Hutchison, Murkowski, and Bond wrote:
Decreasing our nation's dependence on foreign oil was a prominent part of your campaign energy platform and has our full support. In addition to improved energy efficiency and the development of renewable resources, tapping new domestic sources of conventional energy will help relieve stress on family budgets, put Americans to work, and free us from dangerous and unstable foreign regimes. To achieve these substantial benefits, we urge you to limit any delay and complete as expeditiously as possible your Administration's five-year plan for offshore oil and gas development.
Experts have estimated that our Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) contains roughly 100 billion barrels of untapped oil. Combined, production occurring off of our Atlantic, Pacific, Gulf and Alaska coasts could displace OPEC imports for approximately 50 years. These areas also contain tremendous reserves of clean burning natural gas - enough supply to last for decades. Production of these resources will help keep energy prices low for consumers and businesses. Conversely, restricting access will burden individuals and our economy by keeping prices higher than they need to be.
The federal government is responsible for the prudent stewardship of the natural resources that lie beneath our public lands and the OCS. Failure to utilize these valuable resources has left America overly dependent on foreign countries and threatened our energy, economic, and national security. We can no longer continue on this unsustainable path of self-imposed debility.
Decades of experience with modern drilling technology show that it is possible to balance the production of domestic resources and the protection of our environment. An affirmative decision by you not to reinstate the Presidential Moratorium on U.S. offshore oil production, along with your leadership in delivering a new offshore drilling plan in an expeditious manner, will benefit all Americans. We also encourage you to continue the practice of revenue sharing with producing States in order to return a fair share of royalties to them and maximize the resources brought to market.
We thank you for your consideration of this important issue.
In addition to Sens. Hutchison, Murkowski, and Bond, the letter was signed by Sens. Alexander (TN), Barrasso (WY), Bennett (UT), Brownback (KS), Bunning (KY), Burr (NC), Chambliss (GA), Coburn (OK), Cochran (MS), Corker (TN), Cornyn (TX), Crapo (ID), Ensign (NV), Enzi (WY), Gregg (NH), Hatch (UT), Inhofe (OK), Isakson (GA), Kyl (AZ), McCain (AZ), McConnell (KY), Risch (ID), Roberts (KS), Sessions (AL), Shelby (AL), Thune (SD), Vitter (LA), Voinovich (OH), Wicker (MS).