ARLINGTON, Va. — U.S. President George Bush’s declaration to kick-start offshore drilling in order to reduce the nation’s dependance on foreign oil was welcomed by the American Trucking Associations.
The administration needs congressional approval. The ATA followed up by urging Congress to follow suit and lift the executive ban on offshore drilling.
"We need the ability to explore new, untapped areas for domestic energy supplies," said ATA President and CEO Bill Graves. "The U.S. has an opportunity to improve our energy situation and continue to support economic growth, while providing consumers and businesses with the essential energy they need."
U.S. companies are seeking permission to drill for oil and natural gas on the Outer Continental Shelf, 100 miles off the U.S. coast.
Restricted areas of the Outer Continental Shelf contain at least 18 billion barrels of oil and 76 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. This is enough oil to power 40 million cars for 15 years and enough natural gas to heat 60 million households for almost 20 years.
The government of Cuba, meanwhile, has already granted leases to foreign corporations for oil exploration just 60 miles off Florida. If the U.S. were to develop these resources, U.S. technology and U.S. environmental regulations will ensure that the environment is protected, says the government.
Consumers have struggled with high energy costs for everything from gasoline to home heating oil. The cost of diesel fuel has also pushed the prices of food and consumer products higher as the higher cost of transportation adds to product prices, notes the ATA.
Given current fuel prices, the trucking industry is on pace to spend an unprecedented $170 billion on fuel this year.
Other resource rich areas, remain under moratoria, preventing exploration and production off most of the U.S. coastline.
"These restrictions deny American consumers access to vast domestic energy supplies. Expanding access to new areas would ensure adequate domestic energy supplies because areas currently restricted contain large, untapped resources of oil and natural gas, which are critical to sustaining U.S. economic growth," says ATA.
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