The President's proposal today is another page from the Administration's energy policy that was literally written by the oil industry: give away more public resources to the very same oil companies that are raking in record profits and sitting on 68 million acres of federal lands they've already leased.
The President's speech at a time of record gas prices had no ideas for more efficient transportation or renewable American energy--only more addiction to fossil fuels and dependence on an oil industry earning record profits:
- The fact is there are 68 million acres onshore and offshore in the U.S. that are leased by oil companies--open to drilling and actually under lease--but not developed.
- The fact is if oil companies tapped the 68 million federal acres of leased land, it could generate an estimated 4.8 million barrels of oil a day - six times what ANWR would produce at its peak.
- The fact is 80 percent of the oil available on the Outer Continental Shelf is in regions that are already open to leasing--but the oil companies haven't decided it's worth their time to drill there.
- The fact is that drilling in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge wouldn't yield any oil for 10 years--and then would only save the consumer 1.8 cents per gallon in 2025.
- The fact is that America uses a quarter of the world's oil consumption every day--but only 1.6% of the world's supply--so there's simply no way to drill a solution.
- Technological and economic barriers, not legal and regulatory barriers, are preventing energy companies from developing oil shale on a commercial scale. Even after $10 billion of research and development, industry officials have stated unequivocally that they are not yet ready to produce oil shale on a commercial scale.
- Six companies already control nearly 200,000 acres of oil shale lands - on private lands - in Utah and Colorado that they are not yet developing commercially because they don't have the technologies to do so.
- We currently have excess oil refining capacity. According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), our refineries are currently running at 88% capacity - well below the 95-98% capacity use rates we've seen this time of year for the last decade.
- No new oil refineries have been built in the past 30 years because major oil companies have not sought to build them:
1. ExxonMobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, BP and Shell have publicly stated that they had no plans to build new refineries. Instead, they prefer to expand existing facilities.
2. Shell, ConocoPhillips and BP all testified that they were unaware of any environmental regulations preventing them from building new refineries or expanding existing ones.
3. Internal memos from oil companies make it clear that oil companies decided that they needed to reduce refinery capacity to drive up their profits.
The New Direction Congress is committed to bringing real relief to those feeling the pinch from high gas and diesel prices and ensuring the needs of families and businesses are put before the interests of Big Oil companies. We will continue to work to develop other innovative legislation that addresses high energy costs and our shift to a more energy efficient economy. The American people deserve a cleaner, greener, more energy efficient future.