America has the world's largest fossil-fuel reserves in the world. I view our fossil fuels as a valuable asset to be used, not an embarrassing liability to be restrained. In Congress, I will support policies that unleash our energy producers, put America on the path to energy independence, and reduce our dependence on unreliable and hostile countries.
We must open federal lands and the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) to more exploration and production. The oil-and-gas reserves in the Gulf of Mexico, the Arctic Ocean, and federal public lands in the West and Alaska are a tremendous untapped source of economic growth. Greater exploration and production will increase the reliability of our supplies and reduce prices, create high-paying jobs that can't be sent overseas, and reduce the deficit through higher lease and royalty payments. In Congress, I will work not only to open these lands and the OCS, but also to ensure that regulators act on drilling and production permits in a timely, responsible manner.
I strongly oppose all forms of a "cap and trade" schemes, which are nothing more than a massive new tax on energy. Cap and trade would handcuff our economy and make America less competitive in the world, because emerging markets like China and India will never adopt such a destructive tax. Manufacturers will move to those countries, which will also cost American jobs. I will fight tirelessly against cap and trade, both in Congress and against the EPA's abusive use of the Clean Air Act to implement cap and trade unilaterally.
I will also fight against regulatory obstacles to energy production. The federal government should not regulate hydraulic fracturing, which has opened vast new reserves of shale gas here in Arkansas and across the country. Shale formations have unique characteristics and states should set local policy for their own formations. We also must eliminate the barriers to building nuclear plants in America. Nuclear energy is the most efficient and cleanest form of energy, but we've lost a generation of nuclear-energy production because of onerous regulatory roadblocks. And we must eliminate obstacles to building refineries, which directly contribute to high gasoline prices by artificially reducing domestic supply.
Finally, I support alternative energy sources like solar and wind--but only if they can compete and succeed in the market on their own merits. Just like we don't need the federal government telling us what light bulbs we can use, we don't need it picking winners and losers in the energy sector. If alternative energy sources are economically viable, they will attract the private investments needed to succeed. The government shouldn't subsidize them, nor should it artificially increase the cost of oil and gas by singling the industry out for tax hikes and regulatory burdens.