Dems put oil just out of our reach

Our economy is slowing, primarily because of the high price of oil, which does indeed follow the natural laws of supply and demand.

This price is set by oil-futures traders at the stock market, not the oil companies, and certainly not President Bush. After the costs of refining and marketing, the largest costs placed on gasoline are taxes. These taxes, already large, are about to grow considerably, thanks to the Democratic Congress, and will certainly be passed on to the consumer, just as they are now. The House-passed energy bill is estimated by the Congressional Budget Office to raise energy costs on the average family by $3,000 annually.

Congressional Democrats and the environmentalists are absolutely responsible for all this. We have not built a new refinery in this country since 1978 because of them! Yet, the Democrats hold hearings on the oil companies to hide their own culpability!

In Alaska, in a small corner of what is known as the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve, we have a proven supply, at minimum, of 11.5 billion barrels of crude oil. More than 7.7 billions of those barrels are recoverable at a cost of approximately $24 per barrel, and the remainder are recoverable at some higher price. There also are trillions of cubic feet of natural gas in these deposits. Yet, congressional Democrats have placed this supply totally off-limits.

On the outer Continental Shelf off our Florida coast also are large oil deposits that we have been denied access to! Yet the Chinese have obtained permission from Cuba to extract this oil, tapping reserves that should be America's!

These are proven reserves, verified by U.S. Geological Survey, and not a figment of anyone's imagination. It's there -- we just can't touch it because the environmentalists and congressional Democrats say "No!"

Robert Smock, Hephzibah

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