Congressman Has Been Fighting to Reduce America's Dependence on Foreign Oil
Congressman Phil Hare (D-IL) today voted in favor of the Drill Responsibly in Leased Lands (DRILL) Act, legislation to accelerate drilling in largely untapped domestic reserves and compel oil companies to drill on previously leased federal land or forfeit their permits.
The DRILL Act speeds the development of more than 20 million acres of non-refuge land in Alaska for the production of oil and natural gas. This areaknow as the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A)is predicted to contain 10.6 billion barrels of oil, more than the Artic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).
"Unlike ANWR, which is protected by law from drilling as an environmental preservation area, NPR-A is already designated for oil and gas production," Hare said. "Simply put, we can produce oil from Alaska without trampling on an environmental treasure. It's not an either-or proposition."
The DRILL Act also reinstates the export ban on Alaskan oil and facilitates the construction of a pipeline to the continental United States so product can be quickly moved to market. "The President should act to speed construction of oil pipelines from Alaska so that American oil can reach American consumers more quickly and safely, helping to lower the price at the pump," Hare said.
Finally, the "use-it-or-lose-it" provision of the DRILL Act forces oil companies to either begin the process of drilling on leased land or lose their permits so other willing companies can do the work.
"The same oil companies begging for a chance to drill near our beaches and in our wilderness refuges have failed to make use of the land they already have," Hare said. "The fastest way to boost domestic oil production is to actually use the land already set aside for that purpose."
Experts estimate that the 68 million acres of drillable land could produce enough oil to double domestic production and cut imports by a third.
Hare said that responsible drilling is only a small component of a 21st Century energy policy. "With gas prices over $4.00 a gallon, everything must be on the table," Hare said. "Above all, we must reduce our dependence on foreign oil through the use of alternative and renewable energy sources like ethanol, biodiesel, wind, solar, coal and safe nuclear power."