Wicker Presses for Action to Address High Gas Prices

May 16, 2008

WASHINGTON – With gas prices in Mississippi nearing $3.80 in parts of the state, Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) today reiterated his support for immediate congressional action to increase domestic energy production in order to provide short- and long-term relief at the gas pump.  Wicker’s call for action came at an energy forum held on Capitol Hill, where he joined a number of his colleagues in discussing potential domestic energy sources with a panel of national energy experts.

“Families in Mississippi and across the country are struggling with the cost of gasoline,” Wicker said.  “The problem has reached beyond the gas pump, and is now inflating prices of food and other day-to-day products families rely on.  The time for action is now.  Congress should immediately move to increase our energy supply by tapping into the vast amounts of energy we have right here in America.” 

Specifically, Wicker has urged for action on the Domestic Energy Production Act of 2008, legislation he recently helped introduce that would produce up to 24 billion barrels of oil – enough to supply America without foreign imports for five years.  Additionally, the legislation would also make billions more barrels of American-made fuel available through the development of coal-to-liquid technology and oil shale. 

Wicker noted that had President Bill Clinton not vetoed legislation in 1995 authorizing production in 2,000 acres in Alaska, we would currently be receiving one million barrels of oil per day – equal to the amount we import each day from Saudi Arabia. 

“There has been a lot of talk recently about the need for a ‘common sense solution’ to reduce gas prices.  The Mississippians I’m talking to agree that it is simply common sense to utilize the billions of barrels of oil we have here are home in order to lower gas prices and decrease our reliance on foreign oil,” Wicker added. 

The American Energy Production Act would: 

  • Allow petitions for leasing activities in the Atlantic and Pacific regions of the Outer Continental Shelf in order to tap into the 14 billion barrels of known recoverable oil in this area.
  • Establish a competitive oil and gas leasing program for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Coastal Plain under the Mineral Leasing Act, providing access to over 10 billion barrels of recoverable oil
  • Mandate that six billion gallons of coal-derived fuels be produced by 2022, starting at 750 million gallons in 2015
  • Lift the one-year moratorium on developing the more than two trillion barrels of oil shale in Colorado, Wyoming and Utah
  • Repeal the $4,000 fee for new applications for permits to drill that was established in last year’s Omnibus Appropriations Bill.