Our reliance on OPEC oil will be cut by 50 percent. Pickens calls this "a game changer." With our reliance on OPEC down by 50 percent, the oil producers will have to negotiate with us for the price they charge us for oil, not the other way around. What's more, we will have a breathing spell during which to find alternative sources of energy. That breathing spell could last a century or more. There is that much natural gas right here in America. Finally, the energy sector of our economy can and will produce thousands of high-quality jobs.
The way to justify the Nat Gas Act is via national security. American presidents since Jimmy Carter have called for America to be energy-independent. They wanted us to drill for energy, to develop wind and solar, to expand our nuclear potential. Well, all that is fine, but the major justification should be national security. We spend in the neighborhood of $700 billion a year on national security. We can spend a few billion more.
America is vulnerable to terrorists, to Middle Eastern instability, to unfriendly powers around the world. We have a kind of miracle that has been developed over the past few years in natural gas. By passing the Nat Gas Act now, we can end these threats against us. We can become an energy exporter. The bill now has 180 co-sponsors in the House. Seventy-two are Republicans. This is one act of bipartisanship that can make a huge difference in our Nation's security. The time to act is now.