Guest Editorial on Energy Prices from United States Senator Ge…

Voinovichs View


Lowering Gas Prices: Find More, Use Less


All of us know that Ohio families are hurting terribly from sky-high gasoline prices and everything else that goes up along with rising fuel costs, including food prices, travel expenses and the overall cost of living. It’s impossible for me to visit a gas station these days without coming across people who are downright angry and frustrated.


I want you to know that I share that frustration – in fact, I’ve been frustrated for 10 years in the Senate as I’ve voted time and time again to take steps to avoid this crisis but to no avail.


I have voted 10 times to safely open ANWR for exploration, to lift the moratorium on drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf, to tap our shale oil resources in the west and to increase our refining capacity. But at every turn, we’ve been denied. We’ve been denied by my colleagues who are under pressure from special interests that are thwarting real action in Congress.


And who is pressuring them to keep gas prices high by voting against more exploration? Extremist environmental groups who are completely out of touch with the pain Americans are going through every day.


These groups don’t care about middle-class people and seniors who are getting killed by soaring energy costs. They don’t care that we’re paying more for gasoline, for food and for goods at our local Wal-Mart or Home Depot. They don’t care that our electric and natural gas bills have gone through the roof.


Because of these special interests, Congress has sat on its hands for far too long, and nothing short of a crisis is now upon us.


We now must work overtime to find energy solutions to immediately reduce our dependence on foreign oil and relieve the price at the pump – and I assure you that I am at the forefront of this work.


I’m working to craft a comprehensive plan focused both on short- and long-term solutions and, last month, I co-sponsored the Gas Prices Reduction Act – a bill that would increase American production through offshore exploration and western states oil shale. It also aims to reduce imported oil by making it easier for millions of Americans to drive plug-in electric cars and trucks.


These steps will put America on the path toward lower gas prices and energy independence while stopping the transfer of billions of American dollars overseas to buy oil from countries whose leaders hate us and are harboring and supporting terrorists.


I also recently went on a “High Gas Prices Tour” throughout the state to visit with Ohioans and share some of my work on this alarming problem we face as a nation. Over two days I stopped in Cleveland, Canton, Delaware, Mansfield and Marion to share some of the alarming statistics about the impact high gas prices are having on Ohio families and the economy. And I’ll be hitting the other side of the state soon.


While on the tour, I told whoever would listen that we need to act now. We need to declare our Second Declaration of Independence – this time from foreign sources of energy.


We must act now to tap the 10 billion barrels of oil in ANWR and 85 billion barrels in the Outer Continental Shelf, and the Department of Energy estimates that America’s total oil shale resources could top 800 billion barrels. It’s our duty to use the resources we have while coming up with alternatives for the future.


We shouldn’t be begging other countries for their oil when we are sitting on vast, untapped supplies of our own. You can rest assured that I am working tirelessly in the Senate to help us explore our own resources and move toward a permanent solution to the crisis with the help of alternative and renewable fuels and conservation.


Folks, the chickens have come home to roost, and the time to act is now. If we do, our children and grandchildren can look forward to a future free from the addiction to oil that has plagued our country for decades and has tied our hands economically and politically. Nothing less than our future economic and national security is at stake.