Expand domestic energy, U.S. lawmaker says

March 4, 2011 at 7:41 AM
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WASHINGTON, March 4 (UPI) -- Washington's refusal to open more land for domestic energy exploration is a "misguided policy," a Republican lawmaker from Michigan said.

U.S. Rep. Candice Miller, R-Mich., said it was unfortunate that Washington was "making it more difficult" to take advantage of domestic energy reserves.

"This misguided policy causes American energy consumers to pay ever higher prices at the pump and to heat their homes," she said in a statement. "This is absolutely the wrong approach and we cannot afford to continue this path."

The crisis in Libya is helping push energy prices to post-recession highs. Gasoline prices in parts of the United States hit $4 per gallon, though the country gets only a small percent of its energy from Libya.

Washington, meanwhile, has blocked the development of some parts of Alaska and the Outer Continental Shelf. By some estimates, there are around 10 billion barrels of oil and 15 trillion cubic feet of natural gas locked in the Alaskan shelf.

Miller said that opening domestic resources would create American jobs and ease the U.S. dependence on foreign energy.

She said she is proposing a measure that would use leases and royalties from domestic energy exploration to help pay for research in renewable energy.

"The time to take action is now," she said in a statement.

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