Statement Of Roger Zion, Honorary Chairman, 60 Plus Association, To Senate Energy And Natural Resources Committee, U.S. Senate

February 26, 2003

In 1973, I served as the Chairman of the House Republican Task Force on Energy and Resources.

I gave a speech on the House floor in which I said: “If we don’t make maximum used of domestic energy sources, we will be held up by the Arabs and our National Defense will be threatened.” At that time we were importing 35% of our oil. Now it’s over 60%.

As the 108th Congress resumes debate on comprehensive energy legislation we believe that the following issues must be addressed:

• The US must increase its domestic production of natural gas.

• Congress should also enact legislation to streamline natural gas pipeline construction to enable gas to enter the mid-continent and Northeastern markets, enhance gas supply and distribution capabilities, and relieve system constraints.

The Inupiat Eskimos of Alaska have this to say, ” In 1969, when oil was first discovered on our lands, we sought for self-determination in order to be able to protect our resources. Since then, we have had over twenty years of working with the oil industry here. We enacted strict regulations to protect our land and the oil companies have consistently met the standards we imposed.”

The Arctic Natural Wildlife Refuge provides a valuable source of domestic petroleum that significantly enhances the national security of the United States.

Political instability in the oil producing regions of the world, particularly the Persian Gulf area, creates considerable uncertainty regarding the reliability of imported sources of oil. As part of a sound national energy policy, it is imperative for the federal government to refrain from restricting development of domestic supplies in cases where the necessary resources are amenable to commercial development.