Reps. Howard Nielson and Jim Hansen, R-Utah, joined other House Republicans this week to introduce a bill outlining their party's energy strategy.

It calls for streamlining of regulatory processes to assist development of oil, natural gas, clean coal technology, hydroelectric power, nuclear energy and unconventional power sources. It also calls for more conservation.It is all designed to reduce America's dependence on foreign oil. The nation now imports about 55 percent of its oil, the highest since the Arab oil embargo of the 1970s.

"Events in the Middle East have shown us that it is past time for this country to develop an energy strategy. It is important that this strategy be comprehensive, promote conservation, efficiency and development of our own energy resources," Nielson said.

Hansen added, "Once again the actions of a tin-pot despot have sent ripples through the American economy. Despite the vast energy resources available in this country, congressional inaction, bureaucratic red tape and narrow-minded special interests have all combined to create our addiction to foreign oil."

Nielson said that development of oil shale and tar sands in Utah could be important to reduce dependence on foreign oil.

"The world has 1,462.5 billion barrels of recoverable oil shale, 72.7 percent of which is in the United States. We need to seriously look into developing these sources," he said.

"For example, I think projects such as the Seep Ridge Project in Uintah County are ones we need to look at. In that project, oil shale is imploded with a special burning process that causes the oil to flow. The shale itself remains in place and there is little or no disturbance to the environment."

Hansen noted that the bill is being introduced too late for realistic hope of passage before Congress adjourns, but he said it could help shape future debate on the nation's energy needs and "let people of America know the Republicans are providing leadership through solutions, not leadership through rhetoric."