As Pickens Warns of Rapidly Rising Oil Costs and Foreign Imports, American Public Calls For Deep Sea Exploration

67% of Americans Support Offshore Exploration, 64% Believe It Will Reduce Prices

June 17, 2008
12:29 PM
WASHINGTON – On a day when legendary Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens warned the Senate that the price of oil and the rate of foreign imports will continue to rise unless we take immediate action, a new poll released today has found that an overwhelmingly majority of Americans support deep sea exploration to increase American energy production.
            Pickens, who was testifying at a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing about the need to develop transmission lines for increased renewable electricity capacity as part of a comprehensive strategy to reduce dependence on foreign oil, fingered America’s increasing reliance on foreign oil as the most pressing energy problem facing our country.
            His remarks came as a new poll conducted by Rasmussen Reports found that 67 percent of Americans support deep sea exploration off of America’s coast, with just 18 percent opposed.  In addition, 64 percent believe offshore exploration will reduce the price of gasoline.  The full results of the survey are available at
            “The results of today’s Rasmussen survey demonstrate that the American people want relief from high prices immediately.  A vast majority of Americans now support deep sea exploration because they understand that the best way to reduce gas prices is to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.  I have introduced legislation which gives state Governors the authority to allow exploration off of their coasts in exchange for a percentage of the revenue.  The Senate should act on this idea immediately to begin tapping the 14 billion barrels of oil off the coast of the Atlantic and Pacific that can be developed in an environmentally responsible way,” said Domenici.
            “In his testimony today, T. Boone Pickens noted that we are exporting hundreds of  billions of dollars a year overseas to purchase foreign oil—from friends and enemies alike.  He also predicted that the price of oil will continue to rise and that over the next ten years, we will export trillions of dollars out of this country.  I was pleased to hear about his plans to develop alternatives to oil, and I completely agree that we must bring renewable energy technologies online to meet our long term needs.   For at least the next 40 years, however, we still will need large quantities of oil, so we should build a bridge to the energy future by increasing American production of oil and natural gas now,” Domenici continued.
            Domenici is the author of the American Energy Production Act (S.2958), which has 21 cosponsors and would produce up to 24 billion barrels of oil by developing resources in Alaska and offshore.  In addition, the legislation would lift the moratorium on issuing regulations to develop trillions of barrels of oil shale, which could make America the Saudi Arabia of oil shale.
            Domenici is also a strong advocate for the development of renewable energy technologies.  He was the primary sponsor of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which contained some of the largest tax credits for renewable energy resources like wind, solar, biomass and geothermal.  Currently, the Senator is pushing for the extension of renewable energy tax credits set to expire at the end of 2008.