Energy policy fact check

The soaring price of oil is taking its toll on all aspects of American life. To effectively address this crisis we must be committed to the development of a comprehensive energy policy utilizing all the resources at our disposal. That includes conservation, development of alternative energy sources and increased production of traditional fossil fuels. It is in this spirit that I was happy to accompany Republican Leader John Boehner this past weekend on a tour that gave us a first-hand look at some of the resources available to help us address our current dilemma

On Sunday nine of my Congressional colleagues and I viewed the bleak coastal plain at the north end of the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve in Alaska. Under this patch of land is more than ten billion barrels of oil. Stretching to the horizon was … well not much. There is hardly a more remote and empty place on earth than ANWR.

Our trip also included a stop at the Department of Energy’s research lab in Denver, where scientists and engineers are developing new ways to use alternative energy technologies like solar and wind power. What’s my impression of all this? Obviously we need to do all of it – find new alternatives, conserve what we have and explore and drill for domestic oil and gas reserves in ANWR, offshore and in the oil shale deposits of the west.

I’ve had the privilege in recent weeks of helping lead the fight for these policies in Congress.

I managed the floor debate against a foolish and misguided effort by Congressional liberals to suspend existing leases on federal lands unless oil companies complete drilling there immediately. That’s nonsense. It takes time to explore and prepare production, and many of those leases are dry.

I also introduced a bill to speed approval by the Bureau of Land Management of pending drilling permits on federal land. It can take 300 days or more for those permits to be processed. My bill would get them OK’d now bringing more oil and gas production on line when we need it.

The harsh reality is that it will be years – in some cases decades – before those promising alternatives we saw in Denver will be widely available. In the meantime we’re going to need affordable oil and natural gas, and we have two basic choices produce more of our own or continue to depend on foreign countries to meet our energy demands.

Modern drilling technology is safer and cleaner than ever. We need to find and extract more of the oil and gas we know exists in ANWR, offshore and in the immense oil shale deposits out west. If we don’t, the damage to our economy and our nation is only going to get worse. I’ll continue this fight for a sensible energy policy in Congress. 

About the Author:
Mary Fallin was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2006, she is only the second woman in Oklahoma history to serve in Congress.  In 1994 Fallin was elected as the states’ first woman and the first Republican Lieutenant Governor, an office she held for three terms.  As Congresswoman, Fallin currently serves on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, the Committee on Natural Resources, and the Small Business Committee.