August 2008: Government Affairs

Words: Dan KamysAugust 2008 Government Affairs

Tackling High-energy Costs

Rep. Sam GravesCongressman Sam Graves R-Mo.

High-energy costs are hurting our economy. It costs workers more to drive to a jobsite, and contractors are spending more on building materials. There are fewer new construction projects, because people are focused on paying their fuel bills, rather than expanding their business or building a new home.

In my northwest Missouri Congressional district, high gas prices are hurting businesses and families alike. The MCAA member companies and their employees in my district are feeling the pinch as well.

The soaring costs of energy prices in the United States are simply out of control. Across the country, families and businesses are paying more than $4 a gallon for gas. Americans are paying a staggering 71 percent more for fuel than they did at this time last year, and this is simply unacceptable. Unless we address our energy crisis, our economy will continue to suffer.

The time for Congress to act is now. If we continue to ignore our energy crisis, it will only get worse. It is simple supply and demand. Unless we go after our own American energy, our country and our economy will be held hostage by foreign oil.

Simply put, we must take advantage of our domestic production capabilities. We need to Americanize our energy supply. Right now, we are banned from drilling in Alaska, where there are an estimated 10.8 billion barrels of oil*, more than twice the amount of proven oil reserves in the entire state of Texas. If we open drilling in this area, the United States will increase its domestic oil production by 50 percent*. By passing legislation that would open ANWR, we would have a projected savings of between $.70 and $1.60 per gallon*.

We also have vast energy deposits sitting unused off our coasts. Currently, a vast majority of the Outer Continental Shelf remains under the lock and key of the federal government. By allowing drilling offshore, the projected United States savings would be between $.90 and $2.50 per gallon*.

Congress also must cut the red tape that is preventing new refineries from being built. It has been more than 30 years since the last refinery was built. Recently, I introduced H.R. 5866, the Streamlining America's Various Energy Needs Act that would expedite the process of building new refineries. Building new refineries would save about $.15 to $.45 per gallon*.

These are real solutions to our energy problem that will help Americans save real money on energy prices. While there is no silver-bullet solution to our energy crisis, we need to be fighting high-energy costs on all fronts. By increasing supply in addition to securing more money for research and development, nuclear power, and alternative fuels, we will finally begin to get fuel prices under control.

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