Mr. BURTON of Indiana. Mr. Speaker, I watched the President on television the other night defending his energy policy, and he said, ``The Republicans say drill, drill, drill, drill, baby, but that's not the answer.''
The fact is that the people of this country are suffering under severe energy prices that are rising at a rapid rate. Everything that we buy is affected by energy prices. I went to the store the other day to buy some apples and some tomatoes. We got three tomatoes for $5, and I think we got four apples for $5. Now, the reason those prices are going up so rapidly is because when you transport those across the country, or you use energy to produce those products, it costs more.
If you talk to the guys that drive these tractor-trailer units, they'll tell you how expensive it is to transport goods and services, clothes, food, and everything else that we buy. So we really need to move toward energy independence.
Now, the administration has had the ability to help other countries explore for oil. We sent I think $2 billion or $3 billion down to Brazil for deepwater drilling, but we cut back on the permits that we could get to drill in the Gulf of Mexico. Because of the environmental ``nut cases,'' as I call them, the President has restricted the ability of the American energy sector to drill for oil in the gulf. We cannot drill for oil in the ANWR in Alaska. I've been up there and talked to the gentleman who represents Alaska in the Congress, Don Young. He'll tell you there's nothing up there that's going to be damaged if we drill, and besides that, you can do it in an environmentally safe way. But we can't drill offshore because they've limited permits. The President is now saying he'll allow some permits, but they are very minimal.
We can't drill on the Continental Shelf. We can't drill in the ANWR. We can't do anything to explore really for additional energy. We have probably a couple hundred years' supply of natural gas that we can drill for and use the fracking procedure, but a lot of the environmentalists are trying to stop that as well.
Our dependency on the Middle East is unbelievable. There's a potential for a major war over there because of Iran's nuclear development program, and we continue to depend on energy from that Persian Gulf area, from the Saudis. They're using a lot of our money to support Wahhabism and the madrassas over there that create radical Islam. So we need to move away from dependency on foreign oil.
In South America, President Chavez in Venezuela--who doesn't like us--is working with Tehran. He's selling his oil to China, and yet we buy an awful lot of our oil from him because we're dependent on him. We need to move toward energy independence.
The President will not allow the gulf pipeline, the pipeline from Canada down to Texas, because of environmental concerns. That's been looked at for 3 years. There's other ways around the potential problem, but he won't let it happen because of environmentalists, the radicals.
Now, we can depend in the future, to a degree, on wind, solar, geothermal, and nuclear, but that's going to take a long time. Even if we use all of those technologies today, it will only be a drop in the bucket as far as our energy needs are concerned. You know who's demanding more and more energy all the time? China and India buy thousands and thousands of barrels of oil a day, so that oil that's coming out of other parts of the world is going to be gobbled up more and more and more by China and India. We need to move to energy independence.
The President says, oh, you know, we can't solve the problem by drilling. The fact is we can. There's a lot of things we can do: the pipeline from Canada, drill offshore, drill in the gulf, drill in the Continental Shelf, use more natural gas, do away with all the regulations that are strangling the private sector as far as energy development. So what does he want to do? He says we've got to raise taxes on energy exploration, on the oil companies. That's going to be passed on to the consumer in higher prices.
This administration, nice guy, good smile, gives a great speech, but he's not solving our problems, and our dependency continues to increase on foreign energy. We need to move toward energy independence, and we need to do it now and not wait until after the election.