We need an energy plan that reduces our dependence on foreign oil. We need a plan that includes conservation, clean coal, natural gas, nuclear, as well as incentives to increase solar, wind and other clean renewable energy sources. And we need a plan that boosts America's domestic production of oil by building more refineries and drilling here and now. Only a comprehensive, all-of-the-above approach can secure America's energy future.
Frustrations are growing as Americans feel real pain at the pumps. Rising gas prices are a serious strain on an economy that is beginning to show small signs of recovery. Families in North Mississippi have been dealing with tight budgets for the last couple years, and rising gas prices severely impact an already tightened family budget. We all know that ultimately gas prices will be passed on in higher prices to the consumer through higher transportation costs, increased costs in groceries and other commodities -- and when there is no extra money in pocketbooks, there's certainly no padding in the family budget to accommodate this increase in the cost of living associated with higher gas prices.
As turmoil in the Middle East continues - coupled with emerging demand from third world developing countries, demand on foreign energy increases and that's going to cause gas prices to further increase. This problem is serious and it needs to be addressed now through exploring more domestic energy production. From the beginning, the Obama administration has failed to initiate a serious energy policy. Instead, this administration has actively taken steps to block or delay American energy production, therefore making us more dependent on unstable foreign countries oil production. I support an all-of-the-above approach that includes more American oil, more American natural gas, coal and nuclear energy.
I believe we need to expand US oil exploration immediately in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska. The Gulf produces nearly 1/3 of our domestic oil. Offshore natural gas produced in the Gulf region accounts for 13% of the total U.S. production. However, a de facto moratorium still exists -- even though the official moratorium was lifted last May and October. Not only has the Gulf lost 12,000 quality jobs because of the moratorium, but these rigs are actively leaving that region and moving to foreign countries such as Cuba, Brazil and Mexico.
In 2008, President Obama put the entire Pacific Coast, Atlantic Coast and the Eastern Gulf Coast off-limits to future energy production. This includes a large portion of Alaska's Outer Continental Shelf, even though expanding production would ultimately create upwards of 1.2 million jobs and generate $8 trillion in economic output. We must immediately begin a long term energy policy and begin to drill today -- and deal with higher gas prices.
House Republicans have introduced the American Energy Initiative to help lower rising gas prices, create jobs and decrease our reliability on foreign oil. Read more about it here.
Updated July 25, 2011