Latta: Unleashing America’s energy potentialWritten by Guest Author | | GuestAuthor@toledofreepress.com
While trouble abroad has typically led to greater pain at the pump, Americans have experienced relatively stable gas prices over the past few months despite foreign crises. With the national average price for regular gasoline down more than 10 cents from last month, today’s fuel prices are both a contradiction of the past four decades’ trends and an example of the benefits that can result from increased domestic energy production.
American innovation in advanced energy development technologies has unleashed an abundance of domestic energy resources. In 2013, U.S. energy production rose more than the combined increases in the rest of the world to reach its highest level in 24 years. This is why the United States is now the number one producer of both oil and natural gas in the world.
This energy renaissance is not only strengthening North American energy security as domestic resources replace imports from hostile environments in Middle Eastern countries, but it is also fueling expansive job growth throughout the energy industry. While the energy industry supports nearly 10 million American jobs today, that number is expected to grow by 3 million by 2020. For Ohio’s Fifth Congressional District, this energy renaissance has already increased local business’s global competiveness, resulting in expanded operations and new jobs at home.
While President Obama likes to take credit for this positive growth, the energy boom has occurred despite his many efforts to suppress expanded development and innovation. His administrative agencies have put forward costly regulations intended to diminish energy exploration on federal lands and created unnecessary obstacles for developing critical energy infrastructure.
Over the past five years, almost all of the U.S. energy growth has occurred on state and privately owned lands. In fact, U.S. crude oil production has decreased by 6 percent on federal lands, while production on state and privately owned lands has increased by 61 percent. Jobs boosting projects, like the Keystone XL Pipeline, are continually subject to a barrage of unjustified delays. In addition, even with plans to allow for seismic testing in the Atlantic, the President continues to block 85 percent of U.S. offshore areas from energy development opportunities.
While energy manufacturers, producers and end users have just begun to feel the benefits of the energy renaissance, these benefits would be much greater if the President moved away from his anti-development agenda and toward a pro-growth energy policy where the United States could take better advantage of our vast energy resources. Unfortunately, the Administration has yet to embrace our new energy landscape and continues to push an agenda rife with market-distorting principals and bureaucratic red tape. These actions undermine energy employment potential and guarantee a continued dependence on oil from hostile, foreign regions. They also guarantee that while energy prices have remained stable, they will also remain high.
To address this, the U.S. House of Representatives recently passed three important pieces of legislation that lay the groundwork for a national energy strategy that would help the United States take better advantage of its abundant, domestic energy resources, promote North American energy independence, curb gas prices and create jobs.
First, H.R. 4899, the Lowering Gasoline Prices to Fuel an America that Works Act, would allow the United States to responsibly expand production of its own energy resources.
In addition, H.R. 6, the Domestic Prosperity & Global Freedom Act, would bring certainty to the U.S. Department of Energy’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) export approval process, increasing natural gas production and setting a timeframe by which the agency must act on an application to export LNG to our allies. It is also estimated that the legislation will bring more than 30,000 jobs to Ohio by 2035.
Finally, H.R. 3301, the North American Energy Infrastructure Act, would help build the energy infrastructure needed to fully enhance our domestic production, transport and use.
In addition to the passage of these three bills, I have also introduced H.R. 3033, the Energy Security and Employment Act, to immediately curb increased gas prices and create downward pressure on the cost of oil by allowing America to take advantage of its vast domestic oil resources, spurring job growth and energy investments.
Together, this legislation will foster an all-of-the-above energy strategy that will make energy more affordable, bolster our energy security and create American jobs. Now is the time to take advantage of our energy resources and unleash our energy potential by establishing the United States as a global energy leader – locking in domestic prosperity for our nation and Ohio.
Rep. Bob Latta (R) is the U.S. Representative for Ohio’s 5th Congressional District. For more information, visit latta.house.gov.
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