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High Energy Costs Put Squeeze on Holidays

November 19, 2007
Weekly Columns

As the holidays are approaching, Oklahomans are preparing to gather together with their families and friends around warm fires, busy kitchens and TV's dedicated to weekend football.  While each of these activities are meant to help us celebrate and enjoy fellowship with our loved ones, the high cost of energy - particularly gasoline, is placing an added burden on some families that could prevent them from enjoying the holidays to the fullest.  This problem is, unfortunately, not limited to automobile travel since airlines and other modes of transit are also forced to charge more to pay the soaring cost of fuel.  This makes it harder for families to afford to visit relatives and friends for the holidays.

High gas prices are being reported across the nation this year and things are no different in Oklahoma.  Recently, the cost of gasoline has risen to over $3 per gallon, with some experts predicting costs of nearly $4 per gallon before Christmas.  There is little question that this will affect some families' options for holiday travel.  But what makes it all the more infuriating is the simple and obvious fact that it doesn't have to be this way.  Instead of habitually relying on foreign sources of oil, the United States could – and should – take advantage of our own abundant sources of domestic resources.

I believe it is absolutely shameful that we refuse to develop our own resources in places like Alaska and off our shores while we continue to be dependent on foreign sources like Hugo Chavez, Vladimir Putin and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.  How high do prices have to soar before Congress gets serious about developing an energy policy that places the economic and national security interests of the United States first?  We have the natural, technical and intellectual resources to be energy independent.  Unfortunately, the current leadership of Congress is controlled by radical ideologues who oppose all policies that would bring about energy independence.  They are against drilling in ANWR and off the Florida coast, they are against developing modern and safe nuclear technologies, they oppose clean coal technologies and they fight against additional natural gas capacity.  Some even oppose wind generated energy because they find the wind turbines unsightly.

 Americans have the right to expect better from their Congressional leaders.  They have the right to develop their own domestic resources so they aren't continually and unnecessarily paying more and more to travel and heat their homes. And they have the right to not be forced to spend ever increasing amounts of their hard earned money to line the pockets of despotic regimes who secretly or even overtly hate the United States and everything we stand for.  Unfortunately, under the current leadership of the House, who are beholden to radical anti-energy interest groups, these rights will continue to be unrealized.

 While there are certainly other factors involved, I do not believe it is purely a coincidence that as energy prices continue to soar to record highs that the job approval rate of Congress has plummeted to historic lows.  As I have said many times, becoming energy independent is a critical economic and national security priority.  And just as Nero fiddled while Rome burned, so too does this Congress fiddle while America burns Hugo Chavez's oil.