Senator Baker believes energy independence is not just an economic and environmental issue; it's a national security issue. The more we rely on other countries for our energy needs, the less secure we are as a country. The key to reducing our dependence on foreign oil is to "Drill, baby, drill!"
Having worked on an offshore oil rig, Gilbert understands the importance of domestic drilling and oil production, including in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). ANWR covers nearly 1.5 million acres, which is around 60% of the size of Arkansas, but oil and gas development would be confined to about 2,000 acres, roughly the footprint of Little Rock National Airport. With this small space, we can safely produce 900,000 barrels of oil every day for the next 30 years. Keeping in mind, we can safeguard our resources with responsible development.
With rising oil consumption, we need new oil refineries. The United States hasn't built a new refinery in almost 35 years. In addition, Hurricane Katrina shut down nearly 20% of our refining capacity. We must not remain vulnerable to natural disasters or attacks by relying on a handful of refineries.
We need to seek alternative sources of electrical power like wind and solar energy. Senator Baker believes the breakthrough technologies that allow exploration of natural gas in reserves such as Arkansas' Fayetteville Shale indicate natural gas will play a much bigger part in America's future energy mix
In the long term, Senator Baker believes that we must reduce American dependence on the ever shrinking supply of fossil fuels, imported and domestic, by replacing them with renewable fuels, such as ethanol and biodiesel.
The bottom line- there's no need to transfer our wealth overseas, when we have a wealth of energy resources here at home.