Conservatives are declaring October 1 “Energy Freedom Day” to mark the expiration of a congressional ban on offshore drilling and domestic shale oil exploration.
Traditionally Congress renews the ban at the end of every fiscal year, but this year it was allowed to terminate.
“Energy Freedom Day is a victory for the American people that stood up and made their voices heard in Washington. Thanks to millions of Americans demanding action, the bans on American energy have expired and we can begin to produce our own oil and natural gas to lower gas prices and reduce our dependence on foreign oil,” Sen. Jim DeMint (R.-S.C.) said. “Opening up American energy is an important step to get our economy moving again. The federal government and states could reap over a trillion dollars in revenues that will help reduce the tax burden on Americans.”
There is estimated to be more than 20 billion barrels of oil and 97 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in offshore locations and somewhere between 800 billion and 2 trillion barrels of oil shale in the Western states.
DeMint and Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R.-Tex.), chairman of the Republican Study Committee, spearheaded the “Energy Freedom Day” effort. Together, they launched a bicameral campaign to publicize the energy ban and its end date through an aggressive internet-based campaign.
DeMint introduced the “Drill Now Act” to the Senate Monday to “permanently open offshore drilling and oil shale, expedite the leasing process to allow drilling to begin as early as 2009, ensure state revenue sharing, and stop frivolous lawsuits that delay energy production.”