As America's need for energy grows, it's important we take a pro-active approach that focuses on innovation and long-term solutions to our mounting energy crisis. Recently, we have seen gas prices jump to record levels and people are paying upwards of $4.00 per gallon at the pump. High gasoline and energy prices have and will continue to have serious implications on an already lagging economy. While politicians in Washington, D.C. fail to act, Kansas farmers struggle to pay for diesel fuel, Kansas families stretch their budget to drive their kids to daily activities, and Kansas businesses are forced to pass higher energy costs onto you, the consumer, in the form of higher prices. Politicians of both parties have talked about ending our reliance on foreign oil over the past several decades. However, once again, when it comes to making tough decisions, Washington has failed us.
Because of excess regulation, it's been 30 years since we've built an oil refinery in the United States and partisan politics has halted any expansion of domestic oil production. Congress needs to approve exploration in ANWR, as well as pursue offshore drilling. Simultaneously, tremendous advances in technology have brought within our reach the prospect of clean and safe nuclear energy, effective fuel cell technology for our vehicles, and harnessing the energy-producing potential of our oceans. Even so, politicians focused on yesterday's solutions are still fighting stale political battles. They ignore these advances and fail to act. The time for real action and bold solutions in Washington has come. We need to vigorously pursue each of these options as well as alternative solutions such as wind energy and biofuels that can increase our domestic production and bring new jobs to our rural communities. If we really believe energy is a matter of national security, as I do, we need to take action now that includes long-term solutions, not just sound bites and quick band-aid fixes.