DeMint: Americans Win Important Energy Victory

September 24, 2008 - Washington D.C. - U.S. Senator Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina) made the following statement after news that the bans on offshore drilling and oil shale will expire on October 1st, American Energy Freedom Day. Senator DeMint also announced new legislation and released a letter to Senate Democrat Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) urging him to allow consideration of his proposal that will expedite drilling leases, ensure states share in energy revenues, and prevent endless litigation from frivolous environmental lawsuits. American reserves offshore are estimated to hold over 20 billion barrels of oil and 97 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. And in the west, oil shale is estimated to be between 800 billion and 2 trillion barrels of oil -- that is more than three times the proven oil reserves in Saudi Arabia alone.

"This is a major victory for Americans who are suffering at the pump, now that Democrats ridiculous opposition has run out of gas,” said Senator DeMint. “Now it is time to ensure drilling is expedited and prevent liberals from tying energy production up in endless litigation."

On October 1st, American Energy Freedom Day, bans on oil shale and offshore drilling for oil and natural gas in America will expire and the U.S. Department of the Interior will be able to begin the leasing process for these areas. However, the leasing process has been delayed by years of bureaucratic red-tape and endless lawsuits by environmental groups like EarthJustice who have challenged nearly every energy lease.

Also, Senator DeMint believes states must be able to share in revenues from the energy production, as most Gulf Coast states enjoy today.

Below is a letter Senator DeMint sent to Senator Reid this morning:
September 24, 2008

The Honorable Harry Reid
Senate Majority Leader
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Reid,

I was pleased to learn that Democrats have reluctantly decided to allow the bans on offshore and oil shale energy exploration to expire next week, giving Americans the freedom to access their own energy supply. This is a major step forward.

Now we must enact legislation that directs the Administration to expedite leasing in these new areas, arranges for appropriate state revenue sharing, and prevents frivolous lawsuits from stalling critical energy exploration. If Congress is serious about increasing our domestic energy supply, expediting production is a critical step in achieving that goal. I will ask the Senate to adopt this legislation this week, and I hope you will not block this important economic stimulus.

It has been suggested that Democrats plan to use environmental lawsuits to block exploration until they can reinstate these energy bans after the November elections. This would be a major mistake. I hope you will work with me to protect and expedite access to this new energy supply.

Jim DeMint
United States Senator