A bus tour promoting domestic energy production and the Keystone XL pipeline stopped Friday at the Oklahoma History Center.
The tour, organized by the Washington-based American Energy Alliance and the Institute for Energy Research, is in its third year to promote energy issues and highlight what the groups call excessive regulation by the federal government.
Organizers invited people to sign the “American Products and Power” tour bus as part of a rolling petition supporting domestic energy and its role in manufacturing. Signers included Rep. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma City.
“We have since the Nixon administration talked about a national energy policy and about being energy independent. Why aren't we there?” Lankford said.
Lankford said the United States produces more than half of its oil domestically. Combined with imports from Canada and Mexico, North American sources account for 79 percent of the oil consumed in the United States. He said new production in the Bakken oil shale field in North Dakota can lessen the dependence on oil from trouble spots around the world.
“We're only 21 percent from being completely North American independent. We can get there,” Lankford said. “The shale revolution is happening in so many different places that no one thought there'd be oil anymore, and it's coming on line in unbelievable amounts at this point.”
Other speakers faulted the Obama administration for a delay on the Keystone XL pipeline, which would take oil from Canadian tar sands to Houston. The southern portion from Cushing to Houston has been approved for construction. The northern leg has been delayed by concerns over sensitive habitats in Nebraska and other regulatory issues.
“It's politics. That's the reason we haven't built Keystone yet,” said James Albert, Oklahoma's deputy secretary of energy. “We need practical policies. We need rational policies. We have a governor here in Oklahoma that understands that and leaders in Oklahoma who understand it.”