Breaking the Oil Addiction

Addiction is a dangerous thing, and tough to break.

Right now, the United States has an addiction to foreign oil -- an addiction that is not only crippling our economy, but is also funneling hundreds of billions of dollars to foreign governments and corporations. It's the biggest problem in America that no one seems serious about discussing and solving.

Part of breaking that habit is acknowledging just what kind of problem we have, and who benefits from it. That's why we've been working together to build support for country-of-origin labeling at the pump -- so that we know where that $4/gallon is coming from, and move beyond acknowledging our problem to solving it.

Today, I am introducing legislation in the House that would require a label that clearly states the nation of origin for the fuel you're pumping. The legislation, dubbed "COOL for Fuels," will require the Department of Energy to conduct a study and implement its recommendations to ensure American consumers have the ability to decide at the gas pump whether they want to purchase domestic fuel products or gas produced by potentially hostile oil-producing nations.

The numbers are clear: Foreign oil isn't a winning investment for our country. In April, we nearly shut down the government in a dispute over a final total of just over $40 billion in budget cuts; meanwhile we send over $300 billion overseas every year to cover our ravenous consumption of foreign oil.

In the long term, solving this problem is going to involve bringing that money back home and investing in new infrastructure and new technologies -- the backbone of a clean energy economy that will power a new era of innovation and growth.

But to do that, we need to end foreign oil's influence in the short term. And without incremental steps toward breaking our addiction to foreign oil, we'll not only be pumping billions of dollars to foreign nations but taking a huge step backwards away from building a strong and sustainable green economy. Instead of winning the future, we'll be exporting it.

Americans need to know what this addiction is costing us in real terms, and country-of-origin labeling is a commonsense way to get that message across. And that's why we hope you will sign on as a citizen co-sponsor of Congressman Braley's country-of-origin labeling legislation.

In capital not reinvested in new technology at home, in the damage to our environment and the health of our communities, and in American money that goes to states known to sponsor terrorism, our addiction to foreign oil is one of if not the greatest immediate and long-term threat to America's national security.

We've got a lot of work to do to fully break this addiction, but it's our sincere hope that this can be a real first step.