Vote deepens oil dependence
I was disappointed to see that the House of Representatives approved measures last week that will only deepen our addiction to foreign oil and further hurt our economy - and will only cement the likelihood that average Americans will face $5 gallon gasoline at the pump.
Passed in a short-term spending bill, amendments proposed by Reps. John Sullivan, R-Okla., and Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., would block the only commercially-viable alternative we have to OPEC oil: domestic ethanol. It makes no sense to build new obstacles to ethanol when events in North Africa and the Middle East show exactly why we desperately need to foster a domestic renewable fuels industry. This was the wrong decision at the wrong time.
Every year we spend more than $300 billion - or $1,000 a year for every man, woman and child in the United States - for access to foreign oil. It's about 60 percent of the total U.S. trade deficit, and equivalent to half of our national defense budget. With the inherent unrest in the Middle East, that number will only grow as that access is threatened.
But it doesn't have to be this way. Ethanol - produced right here in America - can reduce our dependence on foreign oil, create jobs in the United States, strengthen our national security and improve our environment. Ethanol production creates and supports the growth of more than 400,000 jobs annually, contributing $53.3 billion to the nation's GDP and generating $8.4 billion in tax revenue.
Our U.S. senators have a choice. They have the opportunity to make our nation stronger, more economically secure and environmentally friendlier. But they must oppose the measures by Big Oil's allies in Congress to halt America's energy independence; they must oppose any effort to block American motorists' access to clean, renewable ethanol.