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McCain Addresses Energy Policy

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008; 5:53 PM

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, R-ARIZ.: Thank you all very much. Governor Perry, Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst, and other distinguished guests, I appreciate your joining us today. And thank you all for the warm welcome to Houston.

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Among its other distinctions, this great city is known as the oil capital of America. But people in Houston and all of Texas understand as well as anyone that the high price of oil and gas today is causing great harm all across our economy. People are hurting, small farmers, truckers, and taxi drivers unable to cover their costs, small business owners struggling to meet payroll, the cost of living rising and the value of paychecks falling. All of this, in large part, because the price of oil is too high, and the supply of oil too uncertain. These citizens believe their government has a duty to finally assure the energy security of this country, and they are right.

I first addressed this issue at the outset of my primary campaign. And in just that time -- a little more than a year -- the price of a barrel of oil has more than doubled. And the price of a gallon of gas in America stands at more than four dollars. Yesterday, a barrel of oil cost about 134 dollars. And various oil ministers and investment firms have confidently informed us that soon we can expect to pay 200 dollars for every barrel, and as much as seven dollars for every gallon of gas. That may come as good news in Moscow, Riyadh, or Caracas, where economic growth and rising oil prices are more or less the same thing. But their oil prosperity is our energy vulnerability. And the jobs, family budgets, and futures of the American people should not depend on the whims of foreign powers. Oil and gasoline are the most vital of all commodities in a modern economy. Their price affects the cost of things even more basic and essential. America's dependence on foreign oil is a matter of large and far- reaching consequences -- none of them good.

Whoever controls oil controls much more than oil. And in our time, much of the world's oil supply is controlled by states, regimes, and a cartel for which America's well being is not exactly a priority. Many occupy a violent part of the world -- a region all the more violent for the influence of oil wealth. Their opinion of America runs the full spectrum from indifference to hatred. And yet these regimes are today the masters of the oil market.

Somehow the United States -- in so many ways the most self- reliant of nations -- has allowed and at times even encouraged this state of affairs. This was a troubling situation 35 years ago. It was an alarming situation twenty years ago. It is a dangerous situation today. And starting in the term of the next president, we must take control over our own energy future, and become once again the master of our fate.

The next president must be willing to break with the energy policies not just of the current Administration, but the administrations that preceded it, and lead a great national campaign to achieve energy security for America. So in the days ahead I plan to return to the subject in a series of discussions to explain my reform agenda. And I will set forth a strategy to free America once and for all from our strategic dependence on foreign oil.


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