We Should Produce Our Own Energy, Not Build Second Navy (Rep. Joe Barton)

The report by the Government Accountability Office paints tankers as targets for terrorism, and who can disagree? As long as we rely on tankers in a time of suicide bombers and America-haters, the ships and their cargoes will need protecting. But we won’t need to spend billions of taxpayer dollars turning the Coast Guard into a second navy for the purpose of protecting Middle Eastern energy from Middle Eastern terrorists if we can summon the political will to produce our own energy from our own reserves. Simply accepting the inevitability of soaring natural gas imports is hardly a good idea, much less necessary, when America has vast reserves of energy available within our own boundaries.

Today’s is the second report in response to our request. The first, delivered in March, made the case for continued research on technical safety issues, and that makes perfect sense. Most Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) safety experts surveyed by GAO say that the protection zones already required of tankers and terminals will do their job of protecting the public in the unlikely event of an incident, whether accidental or intentional. Fortunately, LNG shipments have an excellent record for safety, and more than 40,000 tankers have delivered the product over nearly half a century without even a major spill, much less a disaster. That's good, and it's also the minimum that we should expect. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission seems ready and able to apply the latest science in its licensing decisions, and I support continued research to provide up-to-date science as a policy that’s only prudent.