By Representative Candice Miller
Over the last few weeks everyone who drives in Michigan has noticed a tremendous spike in the price of gas at the pump. This increase is due to a pipeline rupture in Wisconsin that disrupted the flow of Canadian crude oil to Chicago area refineries. This is an indication of what can happen when we experience a serious disruption in the supply of oil and gas.
Our economy is dependent on the availability of an affordable and stable supply of energy resources. Unfortunately, President Barack Obama and his administration have stood in the way of expanding our access to this stable supply of energy. Nothing exemplifies this more than when Obama rejected the Keystone XL pipeline, which would provide our economy access to oil being produced by our friend and ally Canada. The amount of oil we would garner from the Keystone XL pipeline is equal to the amount we currently import from unstable Venezuela. If we are interested in improving our economy and supporting hard-pressed energy consumers, then the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline should be an easy decision, but unfortunately the Obama administration seems to be more interested in appeasing environmental extremists. That is a political calculation designed to win over a voter block instead of a decision based on moving our economy forward. That view must change.
While it is a good idea for our nation to explore alternative forms of energy like wind, solar, biofuels and other forms of energy, the fact of the matter is that our economy will be reliant on oil for the foreseeable future. In short, you cannot use a windmill today to power your F-150.
These are the reasons why we must move toward an all-of-the-above energy strategy. We should expand the exploration of oil and gas in the Gulf of Mexico, on the Outer Continental Shelf, throughout the American West and in Alaska. We need to expedite the licensing of new refineries that utilize updated technology and make it easier to produce energy products closer to the consumer. We need the government to not stand in the way of incredible new technologies, such as hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") for natural gas, which is creating an economic boom in places like North Dakota, Pennsylvania, and even in some areas here in Michigan.
Our nation has the resources and capability to become energy independent. What we have lacked is the political will to take advantage of all available domestic energy resources. Instead we continue to export hundreds of billions of dollars every year to many nations that are not our friends.
Given this recent price spike, imagine how high prices would skyrocket if Hugo Chavez cut off the oil we receive from Venezuela, or if the unstable regime in Iran shutdown the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf. But this catastrophe can be avoided. All we need to do is muster the political will.
We have a choice of two futures. One of an America dependent on others for our economic stability and one of an energy independent and strong America that meets its own needs. This fall that choice will be in the hands of the American people.
Congresswoman Candice S. Miller, R-Harrison Township, represents Michigan's 10th District in Washington.