No More Excuses: The U.S. Needs To Tap Into Its Own Oil Reserves

By TIM WALBERG | Posted Friday, June 13, 2008 4:30 PM PT


The Department of Commerce recently announced that the U.S. trade deficit reached $60.9 billion this past April. America’s trade deficit increased by $600 million from April 2007 to April 2008, even though U.S. exports increased by $25 billion.

Why is our country facing a rising trade deficit even though American-made exports grew 19.2% over the last year (April 2007 to April 2008)?

The answer is found at gas stations across the country and in America’s $34.5 billion petroleum deficit, which is roughly half of our monthly trade deficit.

America’s dependence on foreign energy forces us to import about 12 million barrels of oil a day, sending billions of dollars to many countries that do not share our interests.

A barrel of oil has gone from $70 to $140 over the last year, dramatically increasing our trade deficit and shattering the family budgets of millions of Americans.

National Priority

Our country has vast and large supplies of energy, but unfortunately tapping into American energy sources has become controversial and mired in politics.

And while political games are played in Washington, D.C., Americans keep paying more at the pump.

Just as with the Manhattan Project or the race to the moon, breaking our dependence on foreign oil should be a national priority. Congress needs to allow an increase in America’s investment in our overall production of energy.

Last week, I introduced a discharge petition to force a vote on a bill to increase U.S. energy production and invest in alternative sources of energy.

The appropriately named No More Excuses Energy Act, H.R. 3089, would increase the supply of energy produced in America.

Benefits For The Economy

This bill would immediately open up ANWR in Alaska for environmentally sensitive oil exploration.

According to recent estimates, today America would receive 1 million barrels of oil per day from ANWR if President Clinton had not blocked exploration in 1996.

Outer Continental Shelf exploration, new refineries, wind, natural gas and new nuclear power plants are also covered in this legislation.

This bill would return much of our energy production back to the United States and create good paying American jobs, instead of sending hundreds of billions of dollars overseas to prop up countries like Venezuela that are opposed to American ideals.

Despite fuel costs at levels previously only seen in Europe, leadership in this Congress refuses to increase American energy production.

Instead, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and leading House Democrats would rather increase taxes on domestic energy production and increase our reliance on OPEC.

Recently there has been talk in the House of sending lawyers to sue countries such as Venezuela and Saudi Arabia for lower gas prices. Even the best trial lawyers cannot litigate America to lower gas prices.

Since Speaker Pelosi refuses to bring this bill to the House floor, a discharge petition is the only way to force a vote on this legislation.

House rules state that a discharge petition must have 218 signatures (a simple majority) in order to bring a bill to the floor for a vote, and I am working hard to bring both Democrats and Republicans together in support of this bill.

In the coming weeks, House Republicans will show the American people we want to increase domestic energy production. If the leadership in Congress holds us back, we will continue fighting for increased American production.

Cutting Back

Right now, many families in my south-central Michigan district are giving up nights eating out at restaurants or family vacations in order to cover the rising cost of gasoline.

Working families are paying twice as much to commute and pick up their kids from school and sports. If no action is taken, families will soon be giving up much more than they are now.

While many in Congress may gloss over the current energy crisis in America, the majority of Americans cannot.

The American people believe in expanding our American energy supply and developing alternatives to break our dependence on foreign oil. It is time Congress agreed.

Walberg is the Republican representative in Congress for Michigan’s 7th District.


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