WASHINGTON - September 1 - "Our hearts go out to the victims of Katrina and their families. However, this is a time to lend a hand, not point fingers or to make political gain
- which is what politicians who favor drilling the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and off our coasts are trying to do.
"Hurricane Katrina spotlights the danger of our dependence on oil, and how fragile our reliance on it is. This one event has seriously affected the production, refinery capacity, and price of oil in the United States. We can decrease the effect of future disruptions by reducing our dependence on oil, not putting up more rigs and drilling our special places. The fact is, we cannot drill our way to oil independence - the United States is responsible for 25% of the world's oil consumption, and yet we have less than 3% of the world's oil supplies. Additionally, the current lack of refinery capacity is the result of a conscious decision by the oil industry in the 1990s to limit supply to increase profitability - and they have succeeded. Exxon is the most profitable company in the world, and just last quarter posted profits of $7.84 billion.
"The answer isn't on the supply side of the equation - it is on the demand side. Making our cars, SUVs and other light trucks average 40 mpg would save more oil than we currently import from the Persian Gulf or could ever get from the Arctic Refuge combined. Taking this step would save consumers money at the pump, cut America's oil dependence, and curb the heat-trapping pollution that causes global warming."