Doc Hastings: Explore Domestic Oil Drilling Now

Tuesday, 08 Mar 2011 04:57 PM

By Hiram Reisner

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House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings says as gasoline prices continue to be pumped up, the United States should utilize more of its own oil resources and his panel will hold hearings this month to explore the possibilities.

Hastings, R-Wash., also told Fox News’ Neal Cavuto on Tuesday that we should consider drilling in protected areas, despite protests from critics who — among other things — claim that attaining permits to do so is an elongated process.

“We should do this from a policy standpoint within our country,” Hastings said. “And I think we need to start now — particularly when we look at the unrest in the Middle East. That has long-term implications that we all know, and we can’t project what’s going to happen.

“But certainly we should recognize that it is in our best interest to be less dependent on foreign sources,” he said. “And so, we need to utilize that, and start that process right now.”

Cavuto noted that the White House and some on Capitol Hill are pressing for alternative energy sources and asked whether Hastings’ call will fall on deaf ears.

“There is no question that this White House . . . they have gone 180 degrees from opening up our resources,” Hastings said. “I mean, one of the first things that Secretary [Ken] Salazar at Interior did was to suspend leases, active leases. And after the 2008 $4-a-gallon gasoline that we all experienced, the moratorium that was in place — both congressional and executive — went away.

“But essentially this administration has went ahead and put a moratorium on," he continued. “That’s going to be a problem politically, no question about it. But there is no doubt in my mind that if gasoline continues going high — $4, $4.50, $5 — the American people are going to demand that we take action here in the United States.

“It is foolish for us to ignore the resources we have in our country right now,” he said. “I’m in favor of all of the above — I’m in favor of nuclear, and hydro, and wind, and solar.

“But at the end of the day, we need to recognize the resources that we have and we need to pursue them.”

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