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'Tis the season to fight higher energy prices

Friday, December 17, 2010

American families are preparing for the holiday season, and doing so by paying the highest fuel prices in two years. Nationwide, gas prices are a hair's breadth from $3.00 a gallon and they are clocking in at $2.99 in Nebraska. This is up from $1.81 when President Obama took office.

In addition to gasoline, heating oil and diesel prices are expected to increase for the first time since 2008, and analysts are predicting oil will hit $100 a barrel soon. At a time when our economy is struggling to recover, such skyrocketing energy costs will be catastrophic.

This is why it makes no sense the Administration recently announced plans to cancel further energy exploration and development in the eastern Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Coast for at least the next five years. These sources of American-made energy are known to contain more than 86 billion barrels of recoverable oil and approximately 420 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas.

This decision has locked away resources which could free us from foreign oil, pay down the national debt, and create American jobs. Keeping these areas off-limits to domestic energy exploration will only create more demand for foreign sources of energy -- weakening our economy at a time it is struggling to recover.

The American public agrees. In a recent poll, 54 percent surveyed believe the new ban on exploration will increase gas prices, while just 11 percent believe gas prices will go down because of the new regulations.

This debate, however, isn't just about offshore energy exploration. According to federal estimates, there is enough oil in deep waters many miles off our coasts and on federal lands to power more than 60 million cars for the next 60 years.

Just a few days ago our nation marked the 50th anniversary of the designation of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). To date, none of the area within ANWR specifically designated for energy exploration and production has been tapped for energy production.

In 1995, then-President Clinton vetoed legislation which would have allowed exploration in a tiny sliver of ANWR. In total, ANWR consists of nearly 19 million acres, but the actual "footprint" of where production would occur is just 2,000 acres. This is the size of a postage stamp on a football field.

This action deprived our nation of what could now be about one million barrels of oil per day -- an amount which would allow us to reduce our imports by almost 10 percent.

Studies have shown allowing exploration of ANWR would lead to approximately 62,000 additional jobs and government revenue would be in excess of $164 billion.

To secure our nation's energy future, it's time for both parties to work together to increase production of all forms of American energy. Unfortunately, all too often Washington focuses its attention on a single energy-source-of-the-day -- whether it is oil, solar, or some other form of energy. This approach is shortsighted.

We need an "all-of-the-above" approach to our energy policy, which includes American energy sources like oil, coal, gas, bio- and alternative fuels, wind, solar, hydropower, and geothermal. Without an affordable, sufficient energy supply, our economy will continue to struggle to right itself. It's just that simple.

Two summers ago, Americans experienced sticker shock every time they filled up. This Christmas, let's give Americans a holiday gift they deserve -- the time is now to expand exploration of all American energy resources.

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Dear Representative Smith,

Do you really believe that having additional sources of oil and gas quantities will translate into lower prices at the pump? If that were true wouldn't the price of our Agriculture crops drop as production increases, leading to a reduction of prices showing up in our grocery stores? Like every "for profit business", goods and services are marketed to achieve the highest possible profit margin -- this includes Oil and Gas Companies.

You make the comparison of a "postage stamp on a football field" when talking about the footprint for the proposed development in ANWR. A similar comparison could be made about the Keystone XL pipeline being "a hair on a giant chalkboard". It's the potential for environmental damage that is the concern with ANWR as well as the Keystone pipeline, not the total area it encompasses -- good try at deflecting though.

You say studies have been shown that allowing development in ANWR would lead to 62,000 jobs and government revenue would be in excess of $164 billion. Whose study are you referencing? It wasn't many years ago the same thing was being said about the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (NPRA). It has now been downgraded to 10% of its original estimate -- imagine that.


Speaking of studies, following is a state and county by county breakdown of the direct benefits to Nebraska from the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. Maybe you would like to explain to us Nebraskans looking for work why this is such a bad idea for us and such a good idea for Alaska.


Your comparison of recent gas prices left out a few facts. If you had gone back about six months earlier to 7-7-2008 you would have noticed that gas prices were at $4.10 per gallon during the Bush administration. In fact, in March of 1981 it was $3.40 a gallon.


It makes every bit of sense to put a moratorium on all offshore drilling until procedures and processes can be developed that guarantee we won't see any more catastrophes like the recent one in the Gulf of Mexico. Our country is still trying to figure out how to handle the long term impact from the environmental damage, health concerns to our citizens, devaluation of property values, loss of jobs and a contaminated food chain. You can't eat that oil.

Best Regards

-- Posted by Geezer on Mon, Dec 20, 2010, at 6:15 PM

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U.S. Rep. Adrian Smith
Washington Report