In response to President Obama's statement that he wants the United States to become one of Brazil's best oil customers, U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., today sent a letter to President Obama strongly urging him to switch his focus from helping Brazil's economy to helping America's economy.
Isakson wrote in the letter that Obama shouldn't be promising to use American tax dollars to subsidize the development of Brazil's oil reserves, but should instead be seeking to explore and develop America's domestic energy resources and to lift moratoria on offshore drilling in the United States. Focusing on America's energy resources would lessen our dependence on foreign oil, stimulate the U.S. economy and bring much-needed relief at the gas pump, Isakson wrote.
The text of Isakson's letter to the President is below.
March 22, 2011
The White House
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President:
I am writing to respectfully express my strong concern with comments made by you in a March 18th op-ed in USAToday, and in a March 19th speech at the CEO Business Summit in Brasilia, Brazil.
In your March 18th op-ed in USAToday you wrote about your upcoming trip to South America. In referencing Brazil you said: "Brazil holds recently discovered oil reserves that could be far larger than ours, and as we seek to increase secure-energy supplies, we look forward to developing a strategic energy partnership."
During your March 19th remarks in Brasilia you referenced the creation of a "Strategic Energy Dialogue" with Brazil and the fact that Brazil has chosen to explore and recover its own energy sources. You then said: "By some estimates, the oil you recently discovered off the shores of Brazil could amount to twice the reserves we have in the United States. We want to work with you. We want to help with technology and support to develop these oil reserves safely, and when you're ready to start selling, we want to be one of your best customers. At a time when we've been reminded how easily instability in other parts of the world can affect the price of oil, the United States could not be happier with the potential for a new, stable source of energy."
I commend the Brazilian government for the steps it is taking in exploring and recovering all of its own energy resources. In doing so, Brazil is ensuring its own energy security, creating jobs for the Brazilian people, and strengthening and stimulating the Brazilian economy.
As you know we have significant secure-energy supplies here in the United States. Instead of subsidizing the development of Brazil's oil so that we can one day import it, now more than ever is the time we should be developing exploring all of America's energy resources, ensuring America's energy security, creating jobs for the American people, and stimulating the American economy. Instead we have moratoria on abundant oil and gas resources in our coastal waters and, with the exception of a few recent permits, the Gulf of Mexico as well as the Arctic. We also have a ban on recovering energy from areas in our Western states where scientists estimate that oil shale reserves could be three times as much as the amount of oil in Saudi Arabia, and we recently put on hold an over 1,600-mile pipeline from the Canadian oil sands to Houston's refineries that would supply 500,000 barrels per day of oil and create over 13,000 jobs in the United States.
In the State of Georgia my constituents have seen an average increase in their gas prices of 20 cents per gallon in the last three months alone. The negative effect skyrocketing oil and gas prices have had on Georgia's, and the nation's, economy is staggering. Compounding these concerns are the fact that demand from developing nations such as China and India is dramatically increasing and supplies are facing regional instability from events in places such as Egypt, Libya, and the rest of the Middle East.
I believe it is time for your Administration to stop artificially constraining domestic exploration of oil and gas through these moratoria. I urge you to lift the existing moratoria so that we can recover and develop our own sources of energy and not subsidize and import additional foreign sources of energy. I appreciate your consideration of my views and stand ready to work with you in any way possible.
United States Senator