Opponents spar over U.S. oil drilling

April 18, 2012 at 7:37 AM

WASHINGTON, April 18 (UPI) -- Tapping into unconventional oil resources in the United States could spur economic growth, though a critic said it won't do much to lower energy prices.

The U.S. House Committee on Science, Technology and Space heard testimony on domestic energy resources. High energy prices in the United States have sparked political debate.

Karen Harbert, president and chief executive officer at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said tapping into unconventional oil resources would boost employment, lower fuel prices and bolster U.S. energy security.

"The three states of Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah alone contain more oil from oil shale than all of the conventional oil contained in the Middle East," she said. "Yet it is the current policy of our government to ignore the value of these resources, sacrificing the revenue, jobs and huge security dividends Americans would realize from developing them."

Harbert said Washington is creating roadblocks to domestic oil and natural gas production, which she claims pushes investors overseas.

Daniel Weiss, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, said oil and natural gas production in the United States was at historic highs under the current administration.

"Whenever oil and gasoline price spikes occur, 'big oil' and its political allies revive their demand for 'drill, baby, drill,'" he said."But because oil prices are set by this world market, more domestic drilling cannot alter the world price."

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