As a nation, we currently spend over $2 billion a day importing over 42 percent of our oil from foreign countries. Some oil exporting nations are unfriendly towards the United States with unstable governments that control the supply and pricing of some of the largest oil reserves in the world.
In 2011, we spent more than $400 billion a day importing oil from foreign countries. Some oil exporting nations are unfriendly towards the United States with unstable governments that control the supply and pricing of some of the largest oil reserves in the world. Our dependence on foreign oil is not only an economic challenge but also a serious threat to our country’s national security. To wean ourselves off foreign energy supplies, we need a two-pronged approach in which the United States can first rely solely on North American reserves and then eventually on our country’s own energy resources.
To accomplish this goal, our country needs to adopt a comprehensive all-of-the-above energy plan that taps into our traditional reserves while focusing on research and development of alternative energy resources. We have an abundance of traditional energy resources like oil, coal, and natural gas here in America. Though estimates vary, the U.S. Energy Information Administration found 22.3 billion barrels of oil reserves and 283.9 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves in the United States in a 2009 study. While the United States imports more than 42 percent of our oil, 98 percent of the natural gas consumed here is produced in North America. Fossil fuels are our main source of energy, and we must begin to take advantage of them. To combat this underutilization, we must see through unfounded environmental concerns and overcome the excessive regulatory hurdles.
Permanently opening up new areas of energy development offshore in the outer continental shelf, arctic coastal plains, as well as onshore production of oil and gas resources in the United States will increase domestic production of oil in our country. Coal, a plentiful and low-cost resource, is historically the largest energy source produced domestically and responsible for about half of U.S. energy consumption. Natural gas is an ample resource in Oklahoma, and through hydraulic fracturing we are able to fully utilize our state resources to drive local energy prices down. To wholly capitalize these traditional energy resources, the market needs to be void of cumbersome regulations imposed by federal agencies.
While we rely on these traditional resources, we must open doors to increasing private research and development for renewable and alternative energy such as wind, solar, nuclear, and biofuels. Diversifying supplies as well as increasing conservation efforts are key components to a comprehensive energy plan. Any long-term energy policy must also cut the bureaucratic red tape that impedes the permit processes, new resource explorations, fresh production of energy, new refinery construction sites, and ways to transfer resources across the country through pipelines.
I am working with House Republicans to change the current trajectory of skyrocketing gas prices by applying practical energy policies that focus on energy independence. In the 112th Congress, we passed legislation that would allow for the exploration and recovery of our vast domestic resources and end the de facto offshore drilling ban—H.R. 1229, H.R. 1230, and H.R. 1231. While these bills await reintroduction in the 113th Congress, I will continue to push legislation that will create jobs immediately and in the long run, start down the path to lower gas prices, and reduce our dependence on foreign sources of energy.
The American Energy Initiative
The American Energy Initiative is an ongoing effort by House Republicans to address rising gasoline prices and expand American energy production. This initiative will lower energy costs, grow our economy and create jobs. House Natural Resources Committee Republicans are committed to finding sensible solutions to America’s rapidly rising energy costs and help boost our economy by actively producing our own American energy resources.