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Moving Ahead For Progress In The 21st Century Act -- Continued

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. CHAMBLISS. Mr. President, I rise today to speak about our Nation's energy policy.

Georgians, as well as folks all across America, are shocked every time they pull up to the gas pumps, both at the price of gas per gallon and at the jaw-dropping total cost each time they fill up their tanks. With rising food prices and a weak economic recovery, skyrocketing gas prices could not come at a worse time. This situation illustrates why it is imperative for Congress to focus on creating a policy to expand and diversify our energy sources so the American people are no longer held hostage by prices at the pump.

The necessity of congressional action has become all too clear as gas prices continue to rise and unrest in the Middle East threatens the global economy. We cannot afford to keep sending hundreds of billions of dollars per year to foreign countries, many of which are not America's friends, to meet our energy needs. Doing so poses a threat to our national security and further harms our Nation's struggling economy.

Unfortunately, the President and his administration have made some decisions that contribute to rising gas prices and that prevent us from being able to take advantage of vast energy resources located right here in North America.

First, the President's recent decision to reject the Keystone XL Pipeline was extremely disappointing. Canada is a trusted ally and friend to the United States, and by tapping into its vast oil reserves, we could have substantially lessened our need to import oil from other, potentially hostile, nations. Not only would this project instantly have created many jobs, it would also have helped secure our Nation's energy future.

In addition, the long line of burdensome regulations coming from the administration threatens both economic growth and energy costs in the United States. Instead of navigating through this unprecedented regulatory environment, more and more industries will choose to take their business overseas. This could potentially include refiners and other businesses essential to domestic energy production. In fact, we are already seeing the movement of the deep oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico to China--a classic example of what could happen even more so in the future.

Rather than hindering domestic production of oil and gas, we must encourage the development of the abundant energy resources we have right here in the United States, and we must do so in an environmentally responsible manner. I will continue to support domestic oil and gas exploration and production. It is an essential component of a comprehensive energy policy that will enable America to become more energy independent.

As I hear more reports of new oil and natural gas deposits found within our borders and off America's shores, I am stunned that we are not doing more to encourage the development of these resources. I can't think of a better means of improving our economy, by both reducing America's energy imports and encouraging job growth. Unfortunately, the administration continues to hold up and unnecessarily delay the approval of drilling leases and permits. Now is not the time to tie up valuable and much needed American energy production in bureaucratic redtape.

A responsible energy policy that includes increased domestic energy production; improved energy efficiency through technology; improved conservation; and a diversified energy supply with the use of renewable fuel sources will keep gas prices low, lessen our dependence on foreign oil, and strengthen our economy. I am hopeful we will take action on some form of comprehensive energy legislation during this Congress. For the sake of our national security and our economy, we need to tackle this issue now instead of procrastinating and letting others handle it.

I made this same speech 4 years ago when we saw gas prices approach $4 a gallon. Here we are 4 years later with the same hurdles standing in front of us with respect to the lack of a long-term energy policy in this country. So I hope that in a bipartisan way we can develop an energy policy, even if it is short term and even if it is narrowly focused, that will provide relief to Americans with respect to the rising gas prices, which are going to impact every single product that is made in America today.


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