Warning that a national energy policy is "more important than ever" in light of the war in Central Asia and tensions in the Middle East, Denise Bode, chair of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, urged Oklahoma's U.S. senators to fight for passage of a national energy policy.
In a letter sent to Sens. Don Nickles and Jim Inhofe, Bode (right) noted that the pressure to create a national energy policy has eased in recent months "as California's rolling blackouts faded in our memories and gas prices eased," but warned that the reliability of oil supplies "will be tested" in the ongoing war on terrorism.
Bode noted that the U.S. State Department is discouraging travel to five of the 11 Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and said "the fact that we depend on this region for much of our oil is alarming."
She noted that the United States now receives 60 percent of its oil from foreign sources.
On the domestic front, although prices of gasoline and natural gas have fallen dramatically in recent weeks, Bode said that situation could mean very high price spikes again in the future.
"The low energy prices of today could result in skyrocketing prices in the near future, as current exploration and development efforts as well as needed investment in pipelines, refineries and other elements of our domestic energy infrastructure are hindered by price and policy, thus setting the stage for another shortage," Bode said.
The possibility of supply disruptions from the Middle East, coupled with a wildly swinging domestic market, could have devastating implications for the United States.
"All this is to say we need our energy bill passed yesterday," Bode said.
She urged federal lawmakers to include a "safety net from taxation" to encourage continued domestic production, similar to the measure included in the energy bill that passed the U.S. House of Representatives.
"Oklahoma has done its part in reducing taxation, foregoing tax revenues to keep Oklahoma production alive during hard times for the good of the whole country," Bode said. "Federal tax relief is also appropriate."
She also stressed the need for weatherization programs to help the poor deal with the wild energy prices swings that Americans "are likely to face until we rebuild our domestic energy infrastructure." Bode noted that low-income Oklahomans who want their homes weatherized through programs offered by the Community Action Agencies of Oklahoma often face a three-year wait.
Bode said the lack of a national energy policy and declining levels of domestic production have indirectly aided the enemies of the United States. …