WASHINGTON, November 19 -

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Mr. Chairman, for the first time in nearly 20 years, the United States is producing more crude oil than it imports. U.S. oil output is soaring due to the fracking boom in North Dakota and, yes, in Texas and some other areas. That is the reason.

The Energy Information Administration said this week that oil production by barrels is up 11 percent from last year and 63 percent over the last 5 years. If this trend continues, with the expanded use of renewables, and, of course, the completion of the Keystone XL pipeline, it is entirely possible that we could see total energy independence in this country in the next 10 years. Imagine what our foreign policy could be if we were energy independent. We could make Middle Eastern oil, turmoil, and politics irrelevant.

However, all of this progress has been made despite the current administration. How ironic it is the administration takes credit for all the oil production boom when it does everything it can to stonewall this boom.

Oil and natural gas production on Federal lands is down 40 percent compared to 10 years ago. Most of the new drilling is on private and State land, not Federal land. Under this administration, 2010 had the lowest number of offshore leases since 1984. Imagine what we could do if we could speed up the permitting process on Federal land.

To address this, H.R. 1965 expands onshore oil and natural gas production on Federal lands and streamlines the leasing and permitting process, among many other commonsense provisions, to help get the government out of the way of progress.

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