From Erika Bolstad in Washington D.C. --
With the unrest in the Middle East as his springboard, Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell lashed out at the Obama administration's stance on domestic oil production, saying it was having a tangible effect on the country's foreign policy.
In a speech at the National Press Club, the Republican governor called the federal government "openly hostile" for red tape in oil-producing states, including the delays in allowing Shell to drill exploratory wells on leases the company purchased in the Arctic in 2008.
"If it looks like a moratorium and walks like a moratorium....maybe it is," said Parnell, who is in Washington this weekend for the National Governor's Association winter meeting.
Parnell said there's a direct link between the economic recovery and the failure to use Alaska's oil reserves as a national security buffer against the uncertainty in Libya and other oil-producing countries in the Middle East. Higher gasoline prices are exactly what's not needed right now for a recovery, Parnell said.
"This is the moment our government must re-examine its 'no new wells' policy when it comes to oil exploration and development here at home," Parnell said. "The U.S. foolishly imports more than 63 percent of our oil. That leaves us vulnerable to the economic shock of disruption of these oil supplies and it drives down that economic recovery."