- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 10, 2011

Even if we tapped every single source of oil in the United States, we would still be heavily dependent on imported oil (“Obama’s energy transformation,” Comment & Analysis, Monday). We simply cannot drill our way out of the energy crisis.

Much discussion recently has focused on whether the Strategic Petroleum Reserve should be tapped to help quell the rising cost of gasoline, which is currently at an average of $3.51 per gallon, according to AAA. In the short term, this question is a fair one. However, in the long run, whether the country adopts a sustainable energy policy that stabilizes prices and diversifies fuel supply or keeps chanting “drill, baby, drill” is the real question we must ask ourselves.

It is nearsighted to claim that President Obama is deliberately blocking access to our nation’s energy resources. As China invests twice what America does in creating clean energy jobs, we continue to import oil from Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Canada and Mexico. By doing this, we are losing first-mover advantage in the marketplace for clean-energy technology and losing key innovators and investors to foreign nations while increasing our demand on government-subsidized oil.

That is why Mr. Obama has proposed eliminating taxpayer-funded giveaways to the “big five” oil companies: Chevron, BP, Shell, Conoco Phillips and ExxonMobil. Those companies combined had a profit of $75 billion last year alone. What did we get in return? Sticker shock at the pump and holes in our wallets. We cannot choose to invest in big oil companies at the expense of cleaner, sustainable technologies and the jobs that come with them.

Sitting before the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, Energy Secretary Steven Chu recently outlined how we can reduce our dependence and therefore lower the high price of gasoline: higher mileage standards for cars, electrification of vehicles and diversification of fuel supply.

We Americans are better than the fuel we put into our vehicles.

REP. PAUL D. TONKO

21st Congressional District, New York

Amsterdam, N.Y.