The American people were justifiably outraged last year as Congressional leadership continued its No-Energy Policy amid gas prices that climbed over $4 per gallon. We were able to claim a small victory when the offshore drilling ban was allowed to expire. That victory, however, may be short-lived, as the Obama Administration reviews the five-year offshore drilling plan.

That is why I joined numerous colleagues in writing a letter to President Obama urging him to allow areas in the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) to remain open for oil and gas exploration and development. It is unconscionable that we keep these energy resources locked away in this current economic environment. Not only would these resources reduce our dependence on foreign oil, it would provide jobs for Americans in a time when unemployment is on the rise. A recent ICF International study estimates that developing these currently untapped sources of energy would create more than 160,000 jobs by 2030. In addition, it is estimated that $1.7 trillion of government revenue would be raised by tapping the oil and natural gas under the deep oceans off our coasts.

Environmentalists would have us cut off our noses to spite our faces. New technology makes exploration and development of offshore energy much more environmentally sound. And using our own resources means less oil and gas traveling thousands of miles in tankers, reducing their "carbon footprints" and chances of spills.

Energy independence, national security, jobs, and government revenue all benefit. As we did last year when the offshore drilling ban finally ended, we must make our voices heard. Now is the time.