WASHINGTON, DC - Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, commented on President Bush's call for increasing America's oil and gas production. President Bush outlined a four-point plan focusing on expanding exploration of the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), developing oil shales, opening ANWR, and expanding refining capacity.
"As American's are facing $4.00 gas at the pump, now is the time for common sense energy solutions," Senator Inhofe said. "I applaud President Bush's call to increase American energy production. While Congress has been slow to respond, I am delighted to see more and more voices joining in support of increasing domestic energy.
"I certainly welcome the President's appeal for increased refinery capacity which follows my own introduction of the Gas PRICE Act, designed to increase domestic fuel supplies, streamline the permitting process for refineries, and lower the price of gas at the pump. Yet each time I have called for a vote, Democrats were there to block it. Unfortunately, the Democrats and their liberal special interest groups have successfully blocked nearly every effort to increase domestic energy production or refining capacity in the last twenty years. If Democrats had supported my Gas Price Act in 2005, we might already be on our way to increased refining capacity.
"Until we explore and develop domestic energy resources and increase domestic refining capacity, the cost of gas at the pump will increase. As America faces mounting energy challenges, now is not the time for politics as usual -- now is the time for common sense solutions. Congress needs to wake up and realize the American people are demanding affordable energy.
"America's quest to bring down the cost at the pump and increase energy security must include the lifting of the ban on drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) and in ANWR. It's long past time America utilizes its resources using environmentally sound technology. A growing number of leaders who had previously opposed more drilling and expanding domestic energy are now reconsidering."
Senator Inhofe recently joined in cosponsoring the American Energy Production Act of 2008. This legislation will increase access to domestic supplies, expand the nation's refinery capacity, and promote market-based alternatives for our energy future. The bill includes key provisions of Senator Inhofe's Gas Petroleum Refiner Improvement & Community Empowerment Act of 2007, legislation designed to improve the permitting process for the expansion of existing and construction of new refineries. The bill also includes the repeal of Section 526 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. Earlier this year, Senator Inhofe introduced legislation repealing Section 526, which prohibits federal agencies from contracting to procure nonconventional, or alternative, fuels that emit higher levels of greenhouse gas emissions than conventional petroleum sources.
Senator Inhofe is being recognized for his role in promoting America's energy independence. A June 18, 2008, editorial in The Oklahoman stated, "Credit Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Tulsa, for leading the opposition effort [against the failed Climate Tax Bill]. During a similar debate a few years ago, Inhofe had trouble getting much help from his friends. More than 20 Republicans joined the debate to underscore Lieberman-Warner's folly - owing to the current energy picture and Inhofe's personal tenacity. [...] Better late than never in joining Inhofe and others in getting America's energy resources on line - as every other nation on the planet already is doing."