WASHINGTON—Republicans put the the blame squarely on Obama and the administration today for high gas prices, which have soared recently above the $3.50 per gallon mark.
“The Obama administration has consistently blocked American energy production,” said House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) Thursday during the Republican’s weekly press briefing.
Republicans announced the America Energy Initiative (AIE), what will be an ongoing effort to block current government policies House Republicans say are interfering with domestic energy production.
“The AEI will be a sustained ongoing effort by House Rep in the weeks and months ahead,” said Boehner.
Boehner and others argued that increased local production will bring costs down at the pump, and protect the country from price volatility in the Middle East oil markets, where the United States gets a significant portion of oil.
“We have tremendous known resources under our jurisdiction, on federal lands, on the outer continental shelf, and certainly in Alaska,” over 160 billion in known reserves, said Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-Wash.).
“This administration has gone 180 degrees away from utilizing these resources,” he said.
Lease approvals, including in Alaska, have been slowed down or canceled, and nuclear energy projects are ranging 10-12 years for approvals, Boehner and other Republicans chairing energy-related committees said.
After the BP oil spill in 2010, a presidential moratorium on offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico was imposed to allow regulators to make drilling safer for people and the environment.
Boehner said it is time the “de-facto moratorium on future drilling in our country” ended.
Potential Versus Risk
The American Petroleum Institute, which represents 450 oil and natural gas companies in the country, has stated their members are prepared to make multibillion dollar investments, and create hundreds of thousands of jobs, “if federal and state policies would allow it.”
Oil and gas industries currently supports 9.2 million U.S. jobs and represents 7.5 percent of the economy.
The biggest potential for U.S. domestic energy is in the extraction and utilization of natural gas from shale rock, as well as offshore oil drilling.
A new technology, known as hydrofracking, allows natural gas trapped in shale, often located thousands of feet below the ground, to be recovered.
The process has raised serious environmental concerns due to the high volume of chemicals mixed with water that must be pumped into the ground to extract the gas, and the danger of the fluid contaminating ground water supplies.
Oil and natural gas provide more than 85 percent of all the energy used in the United States. The DOE predicts that our reliance on these fuels is likely to increase over the next 20 years.
Republicans are warning that domestic supplies are decreasing, and will decline more in the future under the current slowdown in approvals.
The way we are going, there will be half a million less barrels of oil in 2012 than we were producing in 2009, said Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas).
Read More… A new Energy Direction