With the price of gas well over $4 a gallon nationwide, with no end to the high prices in sight, what is Congress doing? Voting on legislation to regulate the import, export, transport, and sale of “nonhuman primates.” This is not a joke, though it must seem like one to the American public. Instead of voting on a single bill to increase American made energy this week, Congress instead voted on H.R. 2964, the Captive Primate Safety Act.

The American people must be rightly furious that Congress continues with their business as usual, as if families aren’t paying $70 to fill up their minivans so they can drive to work, or take their kids to soccer practice.

In light of this situation, House Republicans have taken to utilizing a little used procedural tool called a discharge petition, in order to highlight the difference between our conference and the Democrat Majority on the very serious issue of energy security.

We have teamed up to offer a discharge petition to H.R. 2279, a bill that would expand our domestic oil refining capacity by setting aside three closed military bases to use as sites to build new refineries.

A new refinery has not been built in the United States since 1976, and the refineries that we do have are operating at or near capacity.

In fact, in 2007, according to the Energy Information Administration, the United States imported 148 million barrels of finished gasoline for use in our cars and trucks. That is on top of the billions of barrels of crude oil we imported.

For too long, we have not taken the proper steps to strengthen the energy infrastructure here in the United States that will make us energy secure.

Instead, for decades now, we have depended on oil, both crude and refined, from abroad. Often times, this oil comes from unfriendly nations, and the money we send to these states gets used in nefarious ways against our very own interests.

The time has come to make the investments in our nation’s energy infrastructure to help reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

There is no doubt, we must continue to invest in the future with renewable and alternative technologies like wind, solar, biomass, geothermal and the like. But we need more time to invest in these technologies.

In fact, renewable energy sources—hydroelectric, geothermal, wind, solar, and biomass— only met about 7 percent of America’s total energy needs in 2006, according to the Energy Information Administration. No matter how much we would like to say we can quickly wean this nation off it’s addiction to fossil fuels, there simply is no quick fix.

Rep. Joe Pitts and Rep. Phil English

Rep. Joe Pitts represents the 16th Congressional District of Pennsylvania. Rep. Phil English represents the 3rd Congressional District of Pennsylvania.
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