Congress should return to session as soon as possible and be allowed to vote on OCS drilling

Even though I am scheduled to be in Texas today, I chose to remain in Washington to participate in the GOP effort to draw attention to America’s current energy situation, and to the fact that we in the House were prevented from voting on a substantive, comprehensive energy plan in June or in July.

This week’s activities will involve everybody who is near the Capitol. There will be no television or audio coverage because the cameras, the microphones, and even the lights have been turned off (and I suspect the air conditioning will be eventually turned off) in order to squelch this attempt by House Republicans to call attention to this important issue. We will be on the House floor and the steps of the U.S. Capitol Building talking with visitors about the current energy crisis we are facing, and the Democrats’ inaction.

It is disappointing that we have reached this point. For months, we have been attempting to get a simple up-or-down vote on environmentally sensitive drilling for oil on the Outer Continental Shelf. There has been a groundswell of support for this among the American people, as well, as gasoline prices have climbed over the $4 mark per gallon. The problem and solution are quite simple. We import millions of barrels of crude oil every single day from countries that – at best – are not our allies. It is only logical to conclude that every barrel we are able to produce here at home is a barrel that we don’t have to buy from someone who may turn and invest that money in terrorist operations against our country.

Simply having the ability to replace the barrels of oil we import every single day from foreign countries with American-produced crude oil is, in my view, enough of a reason to drill on the Outer Continental Shelf. As has long been proven, we can do that drilling in an environmentally-sensitive and responsible way.

This is the question: Do we want to produce American resources of crude oil and other energy, or do we want to continue depending on energy purchased from countries which, as I mentioned before, are at best not our allies?

This week’s efforts, while Congress is out of session, are being made in an attempt to draw attention to this issue. We would prefer the President or Speaker to call Congress back into session this August; however at the very least, we hope to put additional pressure on Speaker Pelosi to grant an up-or-down vote on drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf once Congress returns to session in September.

Drilling alone will not solve our energy problems. There must also be nuclear, coal, coal-to-liquids, solar, and wind components to this comprehensive, “all of the above” energy plan. However, if we are to solve the current crisis, drilling must be a component, as well.

Congress should return to session as soon as possible and be allowed to vote on this measure.