Monday, July 21, 2008

Latham: Open Up Domestic Waters For Energy Exploration

U.S. Rep. Tom Latham, R-Iowa, says domestic energy supplies can be bolstered to provide consumers relief.

Latham is co-sponsoring legislation that will both end the moratorium on drilling off American coasts and allow for states to drill for oil and natural gas.
This legislation ultimately increases America’s petroleum and natural gas supplies while decreasing the price of gas, thereby re-ducing our nation’s dependence on foreign oil, Latham said.
“Americans are rightfully fed up because their leaders in Washington have absolutely failed them on this issue,” Latham said. “Gasoline, diesel, and other en-ergy costs are at price levels never seen before in our history, and our families are hurting over this. I am committed to forcing a wake up call on the leadership of Congress that we must act now to increase the supply of energy resources that we control here at home and lower the price at the pump.”

The legislation Latham has co-sponsored, the Deep Ocean Energy Resources Act, if passed, would open up 85 percent of the outer continental shelf (OCS) to energy development.

Currently there are two moratoriums on drilling in the shelf, which prohibit en-ergy development in waters from 3 miles off our coast-line to waters beyond 200 miles off the coasts.

In 2006, the U.S. Department of the Interior estimated there to be 8.5 billion barrels of oil and 29.3 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the OCS. The potential for another 86 billion barrels of oil and another 420 trillion cubic feet of natural gas has been classified as undiscovered resources.

In the meantime, while this bill sits in committee waiting for a vote, Cuba is has enlisted China as a drilling partner in the Florida Straits. The United States is the only country in the world that prohibits energy production on its OCS.

“Each day in this nation 85 percent of our energy comes from fossil fuels, and that needs to change,” Latham said. “I have always been, and will continue to be, a strong supporter of alternative energy research and production, but we need to turn our attention to the immediate need of increas-ing our domestic supply of affordable fuel that gets Iowans from point A to point B without busting their family budget.”

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