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Declare Independence from Foreign Oil

Jul 1, 2008

232 years ago on the Fourth of July, our 13 small, but united, American colonies stood up for freedom against the strongest empire the world had ever seen. We declared our independence from an oppressive regime, and declared a rebirth of freedom where the Almighty guarantees “certain unalienable Rights” that include “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Five years later, under the leadership of General George Washington, rag-tag, ordinary, and patriotic Americans defeated the mighty British Army, and those words declared in the Declaration of Independence became the foundation that generations of Americans built upon to make America the greatest force of good in the world. We grew from colonies to the world’s shining light of freedom and prosperity.
This Fourth of July, as we gather around our barbeques and look to the sky to see the fireworks pop, we will be reminded of the sacrifice from those American patriots. We did not back down in the face of overwhelming adversity, and instead fought to defend our way of life. We are a nation built on hard work and an inherent willingness to solve overwhelming challenges.

Today, with the same vigor of our Founding Fathers, we can once again declare independence –independence from foreign oil. We transfer an estimated $500 billion a year to OPEC countries for oil when we could instead rely on American-made energy that is produced by innovation, hard work, and a smarter energy plan. We can produce more energy in America in an environmentally-sensitive manner, and some estimate that 38 billion barrels of untapped American resources in the deep ocean and on land can be developed. Other studies point out that there could be up to one trillion barrels of additional resources available if American oil shale is developed. But we can’t utilize these American energy resources until we make reasonable changes to Federal law to allow for responsible production, which is why my colleagues and I are working together to pass energy production bills that would do that. 

Energy drives many aspects of our daily lives, and we are all painfully paying more for those everyday activities, like picking up our kids, buying groceries, air-conditioning our homes, and taking a vacation. We are all paying close to five dollars a gallon for gas, and while there are some that have accepted high prices as a reality, I believe it is time to stop the partisan rhetoric and move forward with solutions to achieve energy independence and lower gas prices. The gas pump does not discriminate between Republicans and Democrats – we all pay more for gas.  So, instead of walking away from solutions and pleading with Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, and other OPEC countries to sell us more oil, we should instead move forward with solving American problems with American ingenuity. We must ask ourselves whether we should stick to the status quo when global oil demand continues to rise, or move forward with new solutions that will make available an increased supply of American energy.

We can help secure America by increasing production of American energy by lifting the ban on energy exploration, and taking action to drill now, all in an environmentally respectful manner.  We can also help secure America by aggressively supporting the development and production of more renewable and clean energy, so that we have more sources of American-made energy that can fuel our economy for generations to come.  Together we can build upon our foundation of freedom and self-reliance, strengthen our country, and declare independence from foreign oil.