March 30, 2011

Rahall Statement on President Obama’s Goal of Reducing Foreign Oil Imports

Washington, D.C.– U.S. Representative Nick J. Rahall (D-WV), top Democrat on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, today released the following statement after President Obama outlined plans to reduce foreign oil imports:

“I fully support the President’s ambitious but achievable goal of reducing foreign oil imports by one-third over the next decade – it is in both our national security and best economic interests to do so.  With all the recent turmoil in the Middle East, and Americans being pinched at the pump, we need to increase domestic supplies of energy that aren’t beholden to political unrest and civil upheaval.

“As the former Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, I am particularly pleased that the President has endorsed the commonsense “Use it or Lose it” approach that I began pushing when gas prices skyrocketed in 2008.  I crafted legislation, which the House approved three separate times, which would require Big Oil to explore and produce domestic energy resources from their federal leases instead of just sitting on the land hoping that prices go even higher before putting a drill in the ground.

“A report released this week by the Department of the Interior confirms that, despite Big Oil’s claims, a majority of their acres under lease aren’t even being explored – let alone producing any oil or gas.

“In addition to what was outlined today, the President should not forget about the commitment he made to clean coal technologies in the State of the Union.  America sits on the largest reserves of coal in the world, and coal will be an essential component of our Nation’s energy security future.  Despite attempts by Republicans to slash investments in clean coal technologies, I will continue to lead the fight to ensure that America harnesses its most abundant energy resource.”