|The future of our nation’s energy supply has become a topic of great interest, both in Congress and throughout our country. A growing and thriving economy requires stable and affordable energy supplies, and, like many Idahoans, I am concerned about the energy future of the United States. As long as the United States is dependent on other nations for sources of energy, our energy supply will be directly impacted by conflicts in regions with high oil supply, foreign political environments that are unfriendly to the United States, and increased demand for oil on the world market. As a nation, we must continue looking for ways to reduce energy prices and improve our energy independence.
I believe a key part of the effort to free ourselves from our dangerous dependence on foreign oil should include the development of domestic sources of oil. For example, there are billions of barrels of oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), in the Outer Continental Shelf, and on federal lands that hold oil and gas reserves, but current law forbids oil and gas leasing in many of these areas. I think this is a mistake. By refusing to develop these resources ourselves, not only do we threaten our own nation’s security by increasing our dependence on a volatile, foreign-based energy supply, but we push the responsibility of producing that oil to countries with far less stringent environmental regulations. New technologies will enable us to do oil and gas exploration and production in an environmentally sound manner and with proper consideration for the needs of fish and wildlife populations, leaving a very small footprint.
Any effort to achieve energy independence must be comprehensive in nature, and I believe that developing domestic sources of oil and gas is an important part of a plan to address our country’s energy needs. I take our nation’s energy crisis seriously and, as Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Water Appropriations and the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus, I will continue to support meaningful and effective energy legislation.