Black Activist on End of Congressional Ban on Oil Exploration: ‘Energy Freedom Day’ Great for Families and for Energy Independence

Washington, D.C. – On October 1, 2008, a congressionally-mandated ban on offshore oil exploration and expanded development of oil from shale rock in the American West officially expires.  Supporters of increased domestic energy production are calling it “Energy Freedom Day.”

With the end of the ban, the federal government can begin issuing leases for new exploration along American coastline thought to contain 18 billion barrels of oil and 55 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.  As the process of separating oil from shale is perfected, land in the American West could yield between 800 billion and two trillion barrels of domestic oil – more than three times Saudi Arabia’s proven reserves.

Deneen Borelli, a fellow for the Project 21 black leadership and an expert on energy issues and urban communities, has made the following comments regarding the prospects of new domestic energy sources that became available on Energy Freedom Day:

“Energy Freedom Day” is a great day for America’s families and for its national security.  New exploration provides opportunities to meet our demand for affordable, reliable and plentiful energy. Affordable energy is the lifeblood of our economy and essential to the quality of life of all Americans.  It is especially important for those in urban communities already facing challenges such as single-parent households, substance abuse, violence and failing public schools. In its September 2008 report, the Energy Information Agency predicted a 25 percent rise in heating oil prices and a 17 percent rise in natural gas prices this winter as well as a 9.5 percent projected increase in electricity costs in 2009.  This means poor families will be forced to spend a larger portion of their income on such necessities with a smaller amount left over.  This will undoubtedly leave some households with choices that pit utility bills against proper food, health care and savings for retirement and higher education.  This is a cruel choice that is unacceptable in this day and age. Our nation’s standard of living depends on reliable energy.  Despite the current boasts about the possibilities of wind power and other renewable energy sources, 85 percent of our nation’s energy now comes from fossil fuels while energy from renewable sources provides only about seven percent.  It cannot replace fossil fuels anytime soon.

Eliminating congressional restrictions on access to our nation’s abundant supply of natural resources will increase supply and lead to a multitude of benefits that include jobs, affordable energy and reduced dependence on hostile foreign governments.  There is no excuse to subject America’s economy and national security to the whims of the Middle East.  Energy Freedom Day should be celebrated to ensure “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

Borelli’s most recent commentary on the costs of environmental regulation, “Global Warming Policies Cool Minority Economic Engines,” can be found at

Project 21, a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research, has been a leading voice of the African-American community since 1992.  For more information, contact David Almasi at (202) 543-4110 or [email protected], or visit Project 21’s website at

The National Center for Public Policy Research is a communications and research foundation supportive of a strong national defense and dedicated to providing free market solutions to today’s public policy problems. We believe that the principles of a free market, individual liberty and personal responsibility provide the greatest hope for meeting the challenges facing America in the 21st century.