Drastic times may call for drastic actions according to Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.).
DeMint told participants in a “national Tele Town Hall meeting” on July 9 there was a movement among senators to shut down the Senate floor if an up-or-down vote was not held on the offshore exploration for oil and natural gas. The senator maintained the added energy was an issue of national security to prevent the nation from being held “hostage” by OPEC.
“One of the things that we’re looking at here – a few of us have been meeting about ways that we might just close down the Senate floor until we get a vote on offshore exploration, as well as developing the supplies of oil and natural gas that we have, you know, around the country,” DeMint said. “We’re trying to come up with some way that we can just – we can get the attention and create a sense of urgency that was just expressed because that is very true,” he explained during the call organized by Americans for Prosperity.
Earlier on July 9, Cybercast News Service reported Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi sent a letter to President George W. Bush, urging him to release oil held in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The move would be “in order to expand available supplies and help reduce the record prices that are helping push the economy toward recession,” she said.
DeMint called Pelosi’s efforts “ironic” and “hypocritical” because of her previous stance on offshore drilling. On June 16, Pelosi said she opposed Bush’s efforts to open up more offshore federal lands for drilling and called the proposal “another page from the administration's energy policy that was literally written by the oil industry.”
“[T]his is supply and demand,” DeMint said. “It’s really ironic and even hypocritical that Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats think we ought to pull oil out of the ground from our national reserve but not pull it out of the ground in other places,” DeMint said.
“We’re burning the same oil – there’s no difference in the environment. There’s no difference in the environment if we burn OPEC oil versus burn our own. So, their hypocrisy is starting to catch up with them. But we do need to drill now and we’ll pay less if we drill now.”
However, DeMint didn’t completely rule out Democrat calls for conservation and alternative energy. He remained open to such programs.
“We can still come up with programs to use less and to conserve and come up with alternatives,” DeMint said. “But in the short-term, we’ve got to let the world know that we’re going to have our own energy supplies so that we won’t be held hostage by OPEC.”