March 21, 2001
12:00 AM
WASHINGTON, D.C. - “The United States has lost control of its energy future. If we fail to regain control, we risk threatening our economic prosperity, our national security and our very way of life,” said Chairman Frank H. Murkowski today during a hearing on the current and future energy trends facing America. Murkowski explained that demand for all forms of energy is rising rapidly, and that supply is not keeping up with demand. The nation’s energy supply is limited by a government regulatory structure that has not kept pace with technology. The Chairman also pointed out that the country’s aging infrastructure has not kept up with the growing energy needs. The U.S. does not have enough transmission capacity to get the power where it is needed most. Murkowski cited the need for more refineries, saying that America’s oil and gas refineries are running at near capacity, and suggested that regional fuel shortages may be a possibility again this summer. “As a result of all of these factors, at no time in our history have we relied upon others for our energy security more than we do right now. Twenty years ago, we imported one third of the oil that we use, now that figure is over half, with 57% our of oil coming from foreign sources,” said Murkowski. “That trend is expected to continue. We need only look to California as an example of what can happen if we become too reliant on foreign sources of energy. Electricity had to be imported from out of state because there wasn’t enough energy to meet new demand. When no power could be imported, prices skyrocketed. There just wasn’t enough energy to keep their economy running.” “The problems in California have spilled over into other states throughout the West. Soon New York will face the same problems of blackouts and higher energy prices without new power plant construction. The problems in California – and soon New York – could quickly become national issues,” the Chairman said. “We must use all of our energy options to meet America’s future energy needs. We can’t simply produce or conserve our way out of this crisis. We must also recognize the balance between our desire to protect and conserve natural resources and our growing energy needs. Clearly we must act, and implement a national energy strategy – one that will ensure a clean, secure and affordable energy supply for all,” Murkowski said. ###