Speech on Rising Gas Prices and America's Need for a Credible Energy Policy

March 6, 2012

From earlier today on the House Floor: 


Mr. Speaker, before being appointed to office, President Obama’s Energy Secretary Steven Chu stated:  “Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe,” this at a time when gasoline prices in Europe were $ 8-10 dollars per gallon.  

Last week, the Energy Secretary made headlines when he seemed to say the Administration’s goal is not to lower gas prices.

Considering the goal is not to lower gas prices, this may be the first time that the Administration’s energy policies match the rhetoric.  

Despite the President’s rhetoric about the need for increased domestic production of fossil fuels, to date his Administration has seemingly done everything it can to block production.

But the purpose of these remarks is to highlight not the administration’s statements but instead their policies.

Let’s look at the record, starting with some positive things that happened just before President Obama took office, and continuing through 2012 to present day.

At the peak of the 2008 gas price spike, President George Bush removed 18 years of Presidential executive orders restricting offshore oil and gas energy development.  In removing this restriction not one additional barrel was drilled but a massage was sent to the market.  A stong message to the market that America finally recognizes that the taxpayers owned assets in oil and is willing to use them.  What a message that would be if we sent a similar message today. Back in 2008 that’s when we began to see this drop begin to start.

In September of 2008, Congress allowed its 26 year ban on offshore drilling to expire.  Prices at the pump dropped dramatically soon after.

Then President Obama Took Office.

In February of 2009, the Administration rescinded oil shale lease plans put in place during the Bush administration to aid production of oil on U.S. government lands.

In June of 2010, House Democrats’ passed a cap and trade national energy tax, which would have dramatically increased gasoline prices.

In November of 2009, the Administration unilaterally shortened lease terms on some OCS leases.  This policy not only discouraged oil and natural gas production but also decreased much needed government revenues.

In March of 2010, the Administration canceled the remaining lease sales in seas off the Alaska coast, eliminating development of reserves that the government estimates could be as large as 65 billion barrels of oil.  

In May of 2010, the administration canceled the Virginia offshore lease sale, which had bipartisan support from the VA governor and the VA congressional delegation.

The administration also canceled the remaining 2010 Gulf of Mexico lease sales.

In December of 2010, the Administration extended the moratorium on leasing off the Atlantic and Eastern Gulf of Mexico through 2017.

In January of 2012, the President Rejected Keystone XL pipeline.  Estimates show the Keystone XL pipeline would add 1.1 million barrels a day of friendly Canadian oil to our Gulf of Mexico refineries.  

Moving forward with a credible energy policy can only be achieved if we all have a shared understanding of the facts. Global demand for oil is increasingly driven by the developing economies such as China and India. In the U.S., our demand is down 6% year over year, and prices are still skyrocketing. It’s going to stay that way.  Eighty-five percent of the world's energy consumption comes from hydrocarbons – oil, coal and natural gas. While renewable energy is needed and new consumption efficiencies should be encouraged to meet future energy demand, hydrocarbons will be the dominant source of fuel for the world's economy for many decades to come.  

No one can deny that before we can create an energy supply that is substantially more diversified, we’re going to need more fossil fuels to get us there. We’re not running out of Natural Gas. In 2000, shale gas represented just 1 percent of American natural gas supplies. Today, it is 30 percent and rising.   We are not running out of oil. Former CEO of Shell John Hofmeister stated last week on State of the Union, “We use 20 million barrels a day every day in a full economy in this country. We only produce 7. We used to produce 10. Let’s go back to 10. We know how to produce 10. We have the oil to produce 10 for decades to come.”

Unfortunately, this Administration is preventing the U.S. from developing additional energy supplies to meet our demand. As a result, families are struggling with rising energy costs and higher gas prices at the pump.