November 1, 2001
Senate Swamp 1:30 p.m.
Contact: Hugh Newton
STATEMENT BY ROGER ZION, Chairman of the 60 Plus Association, a national senior-citizen organization.
Rep. Zion is a former Indiana congressman (1967-75) and was head of the Republican Task Force on Energy and Resources when President Nixon faced the first Arab oil boycott in 1973.
“To get right to the point, to be brutally blunt — it’s time the Senate leadership quit demagoguing and come to grips with the energy legislation they have bottled up. Our economy depends in no minor way to the passage of an energy plan. Much more important our security depends on it.
In 1973 I was head of the House Republican Task Force on Energy and Resources when we faced the first Arab oil boycott. At that time oil imports were 35% of the total consumed in the U.S. In 1996, just after the Gulf War, it was 46%. It’s now over 50%.
The need to develop alternatives to Middle East oil is more urgent than ever. You would think all 535 members of the House and Senate would understand this issue. After all, it’s only common sense. But apparently not to Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), who decided recently to spike the president’s far-reaching energy plan — rather than let it come to the Senate floor for debate and a vote, because he opposes oil and gas exploration in the so-called Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). So the energy plan now just sits, languishing in legislative limbo.
We desperately need an energy policy that encourages domestic production, not political gesturing. So I say to Senator Daschle and his allies, stop demogaguing and start drilling.”