Capitol Words a project of the Sunlight Foundation

  • and

Big Oil Needs To Drill Where They Hold Leases

(Mr. SIRES asked and was given permission to address the House for 1 minute and to revise and extend his remarks.)

Rep. Albio Sires

legislator photo

Madam Speaker, President Bush and congressional Republicans continue to blame today's record gas prices on our refusal to open more land up for drilling. They claim that if we allowed big oil to drill more, gas prices would fall. What Republicans neglect to say is that the number of drilling permits increased dramatically over the last 5 years from 3,800 permits in 2002 to 7,500 last year.

That's right. Big oil is actually getting access to more land to drill, but is doing nothing to bring down the price of gas. Big oil has access to millions of acres of Federal land. But for some reason, they have yet to do any drilling. According to a new Natural Resources Committee report, oil and gas companies hold leases to nearly 68 million acres of Federal land that they are not currently drilling. If big oil really wants to drill more, why aren't they drilling?

Madam Speaker, Washington Republicans are wrong again to rely on big oil to bring down the prices at the pump. After all, while American consumers battle these record prices, big oil is laughing all the way to the bank.