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Atlanta Journal Constitution - Tap into U.S.- Made Energy


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By Lynn Westmoreland and Tom Price

As Georgia families pay a high price to fill up their gas tanks, President Barack Obama is filling up the airwaves with empty rhetoric.

In February 2009, shortly after Obama took office, gas prices in Georgia were about $1.75 a gallon on average. Currently, they are more than $3.80 a gallon. That's a 117 percent increase in just three short years. Many places across the country have seen even higher prices, and some anticipate more drivers could be paying about $5 per gallon by the end of the summer. When the price of gasoline rises, the price of everything else is soon to follow.

There are many reasons that contribute to a dramatic jump in gas prices. About 76 percent of the cost of gasoline is based on the price of crude oil. So when the price of crude rises, so does the price of gasoline. Certainly the instability and uncertainty in the Middle East have contributed to the rising price of crude oil. That being said, the demand for oil has and will continue to increase as more nations require more energy to power their economies.

We all learned in our high school economics class that when demand is high and supply cannot keep up, the price of goods will rise. To meet this demand, we should start at home.

Some estimates put more than 800 billion barrels of untapped oil in onshore and offshore reserves in the United States. Putting even a fraction of that on the market would help increase supply and impact the price of crude oil and thus the price at the pump. It would signal a future of greater supply to meet demand with America helping to lead the way. In addition, we need to look at new ways to secure oil from our allies rather than relying so heavily on unstable and unfriendly countries.

TransCanada estimates the Keystone Pipeline would have brought 700,000 barrels of oil each day from Canada, our largest trading partner in the world. Plus, the U.S. State Department estimates construction of the pipeline would have created 5,000 to 6,000 direct jobs. Unfortunately, Obama blocked the project, thus killing jobs and reinforcing our reliance on overseas oil to help meet our needs.

The United States is energy-rich with natural resources to feed and power us. Yet Obama continues to bow to the fringe of his party who want to end the use of traditional forms of energy.

We have an administration doing all it can to make sure we keep supplies of traditional American energy resources underdeveloped while throwing billions of taxpayer dollars at companies such as Solyndra, which went bankrupt after receiving $500 million in a loan guarantee.

We support an all-of-the-above energy plan that harnesses all forms of American-made energy and supports innovation. Conversely, the White House continues to say one thing and do another. If the president truly supports an all-of-the-above energy strategy -- as he has claimed -- then he needs to follow through.

He is going to have to accept the fact that Americans need oil to get from home to work each day, to build and move products around the country, and to enable businesses to provide services.

Supporting an all-of-the-above energy policy means the president needs to join House Republicans and open up all forms of American-made energy, even those traditional forms of energy his friends might not like.

It's time we start to take advantage of the God-given natural resources this country has and have American-made energy power this nation.

U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, R-Ga.and U.S. Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga.

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