We’ve all seen the television ads saying every year America spends $700 billion on foreign oil, constituting the largest transfer of wealth in human history. It’s no coincidence that Congress is now considering the largest government bailout in American history. The current energy situation is bleeding the American economy and jeopardizing American security.
This week, Congress will likely pass legislation authorizing $700 billion to bailout Wall Street. Our economy is struggling. But, just a week ago, the Democrat-led Congress blocked the creation of thousands of American jobs, denied the American economy an influx of more than $900 billion, and refused close to $600 billion in federal taxes.
Despite the clear necessity for more American-made energy, and the overwhelming public support for increased domestic drilling, the Democrat energy bill kept much of our known resources in the Outer Continental Shelf off limits and failed to open ANWR and the Western United States to development. Their plan will not lead to the production of a single barrel of oil.
And, as a result, their plan will also not create much needed jobs or pump much needed money into our sluggish economy. For every one direct job in the oil and gas sector there are more than 4 jobs in other industries. It’s estimated that increasing American oil production by just one million barrels per day would lead to an increase in employment of 128,000 jobs. Boosting oil production by two million barrels a day will create an annual increase in Gross Domestic Product of $164 billion and consequently generate 270,000 jobs. And, development of the ANWR Coastal Plain alone would lead to 735,000 jobs throughout all fifty states. Tragically, the Democrat plan makes all of this impossible.
Instead, we’re creating jobs and wealth in other countries. And, all too often we benefit countries like Venezuela, an open enemy of the United States, or oil sheiks in the Middle East who bankroll Al-Qaeda.
The U.S. unemployment rate is at a four year high. In July, employers announced a 26% increase in planned job cuts. Sales for the auto industry fell 13% in just a year.
American families are struggling to make ends meet. More than three quarters of people say that the rise in prices at the pump is a financial hardship. Yet, for every $50 these Americans put in their tanks, they are now sending $19 overseas. And, that’s not the only place Americans are feeling the pinch. Food prices have risen by 5% in just one year—the largest increase in almost 20 years.
Nancy Pelosi and Democrat leaders can put a stop to this, but they have chosen not to. Although they have agreed to allow the moratoria on oil shale development and offshore drilling to expire, as scheduled, on October 1, 2008, they have not addressed obstructive environmental litigation. As a result, oil production will be blocked. For the past several years, fringe environmental groups have challenged 100% of leases in the Alaskan OCS, the entire five-year national OCS leasing program, and thousands of onshore leases in Alaska and the lower 48 states, effectively blocking any new production.
An amendment I attempted to offer to the Democrat plan would have allowed for expedited judicial review of environmental challenges to leases, but it was rejected. The Democrats don’t actually want drilling to occur and the radical environmentalists are their last line of defense. Speaker Pelosi and Democrat leaders have endangered the American economy so as to cater to fringe environmental special interests.
America must transition from fossil fuels towards clean renewables, yet this shift cannot happen over night. We cannot wean ourselves off the old energy source if the new is not yet viable. In ten years, the oil and natural gas industry invested $1.2 trillion in numerous long-term energy initiatives. The best way to speed the transition from fossil fuels to alternatives is to strengthen the American economy thereby encouraging critical investment in the new industries that will power our nation in the future.