Congressmen: We Need Energy Independence

Hazleton Standard Speaker

Two congressmen who represent this area say there are enough energy resources within North America to provide the gasoline and oil the country needs without being worried about supply from the Middle East costing more or being cut off.

At separate events Thursday, U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, R-11, and U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., said America has to change its energy policy to rely on domestic oil supplies so the price can be regulated more effectively.

“It’s a huge problem,” Toomey said about gas prices as he was questioned at Hazleton Casting Co., which he toured Thursday morning. “It’s a real problem for family budgets. That’s why we need to develop domestic energy sources.

“We have a tremendous amount of oil in the United States itself and in North America, much of it which we choose not to develop. This is the reason why prices occasionally get very, very high, and the reason we are overly dependent on oil from the most dangerous part of the world, the Middle East.”

Toomey said America should also look to Canada for oil.

“It is important we go ahead with Keystone Pipeline so we access Canadian oil, which diminishes our dependence on oil more from the most dangerous part of the world, and diminishes interruption in supply,” he said. “The more domestic production there is, the less to worry about an interruption in supply, and (we would have) lower prices.”

Barletta, speaking at a Greater Hazleton Chamber of Commerce Red Carpet Breakfast, said America has to cut its strings with foreign oil suppliers.

“We send $1 billion a day to foreign countries for oil,” Barletta said. “We’re relying on Brazil and the Middle East, sending American dollars and jobs to countries many (of which) don’t like us.

“We have all the energy we need right here, which would keep our dollars right here, in the United States,” Barletta went on. “Right here in Pennsylvania, we can be a leader not only in the country, but in the world, not only in natural gas, because below the gas there is oil.”

Barletta also lauded the Keystone Pipeline.

“America needs to be energy independent,” he said. “At same time, we are holding up oil from Canada.”

He said there is a bill in the House that proposes using royalties on domestic oil to rebuild the country’s infrastructure.

“Our highways are funded through gas tax,” Barletta said. “Everything we’re doing is to use less gas – less miles per gallon, electric cars. In a country that needs more money to fix its infrastructure, we’re relying on something that brings in less money every year.

“So we’re going to supplement that from offshore drilling for oil,” he said. “We also want to protect the environment. We can do that. We can find that balance. We’re going to take those royalties and put them into rebuilding American roads and bridges.”

Gary Danish, a past chamber chairman of the board, pointed out that gasoline made in the United States is sold abroad – instead of in this country.

Barletta said government regulation sometimes make it more expensive to sell gas here than somewhere else.

Danish also told Barletta he believes the reason behind the high gas prices is that “oil companies are hiding behind speculators. All it is is greed.”

Barletta also said the government can provide many incentives to get people to move away from using oil, but the Senate is ignoring many of the bills the House passes.

“We need to put partisan politics aside, and send people to Washington to put people before their party,” Barletta said.

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