Cochran, Wicker Continue Calling for Increased Domestic Energy Production

July 23, 2008

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker, both R-Miss., today went to the Senate floor to urge their colleagues to pass legislation that increases domestic energy production in response to record-high gas prices.  The senators made their remarks during debate on legislation intended to curb oil speculators which is currently being considered.  Cochran, Wicker and a number of their colleagues want the Senate to use this opportunity to broaden the debate and allow for votes on amendments that would increase the production of American energy sources. 

The following are excerpts of the senators’ floor comments:

Sen. Thad Cochran:

“What we're urging is to not just take the shortsighted look the majority party has put before the Senate, but to take a bold stance.  We should come out for developing more American energy, and not rely on expensive foreign sources.  We can develop our offshore resources far from the coastline in the Gulf of Mexico, for example, and add to our energy supply.  That will bring down costs.  We need to do real things.  We need to conserve more.  We need to look for alternative sources of energy.  And the Republicans have suggested plans and programs to do just that.”

“We don't have time to waste.  This is the point.  We have proposals to utilize more of our own energy here.  We can do it.  Senators need to realize that unless we produce more of what we need here at home, we're going to continue to be subject to the decisions being made overseas by those who have the oil.”

“Senate Republicans are not interested in structuring votes designed for failure and political cover.  This issue is too important for that.  We need to address this vital issue now.  Energy and gas prices should not be politicized and we're not going to walk away and give up on this debate.  We're here to stay and to fight.”

Sen. Roger Wicker:

“The average price of gas in my home state of Mississippi is currently between $3.80 and $3.90 per gallon.  Only a year ago, it was a dollar less.  Many people don’t understand why these prices have risen so dramatically, and there are a variety of viewpoints.  But it all comes back to our unwillingness to produce more energy in the United States.”

“What the people of the U.S. need, and what our nation deserves, is a comprehensive, long-term plan for domestic exploration, conservation, and the introduction of renewable and alternative fuels.”

“There is no more important action that this body should be taking than to address this issue with pragmatic solutions to the problem.”

Both Sens. Cochran and Wicker are cosponsors of the  Gas Price Reduction Act (S. 3202), legislation that allows for deep sea exploration of the estimated 14 billion barrels of oil off our Atlantic and Pacific coasts.  The bill would also lift the moratorium on oil shale development in the Rocky Mountain West, where there is an estimated two trillion barrels of recoverable oil in only three states.  Additionally, the measure would increase investment in electric car technology and strengthen the ability to prevent speculators from artificially driving up the price of gas.