Lower energy costs need action

Published 4:22pm Tuesday, July 1, 2014

By U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne

Actions always speak louder than words. President Obama has talked a lot about lowering energy costs, but in reality his policies only make things worse. From shutting off land for energy production to his continued stalling on construction of the Keystone Pipeline to his self-declared war on coal, President Obama’s energy policies are hitting families where it hurts: their pocketbook.

As the summer months draw on, we are all experiencing the pain at the pump. Today, gas prices are double what they were when President Obama took office. Around the Gulf Coast, we feel the squeeze not only on our pocketbooks when we put gas in our cars, but higher gas prices also reduce the bottom line for many of our tourism-driven businesses.

That’s why last week the House passed a package of bills designed to expand domestic energy production and reduce consumer costs all while growing our economy. As a Member of the House Natural Resources Committee, I have been able to play a leading role in our efforts to lower energy costs for American families.

Among the bills we passed was H.R. 3301, the North American Energy Infrastructure Act. The bill updates the approval process for energy construction projects to make the process more efficient and fair.

According to testimony by an economist and professor from Louisiana State University, House efforts to expand domestic energy production would have “substantial job benefits,” including 250,000 jobs in the short-term and 1.2 million jobs long-term.

Another bill we passed last week, H.R. 4899, the Lowering Gasoline Prices to Fuel an America that Works Act, eases the pain at the pump by responsibly expanding production of America’s own onshore and offshore energy resources. Like you, I have seen firsthand the rising price of gasoline every time I stop to put fuel in my car. By expanding our energy resources and opening more land and waters up to energy production, we can drive down the cost of fuel.

Now those of us along the Gulf Coast understand the risks and benefits of fossil fuel exploration and extraction. We demand that all drilling be safe and every precaution be taken to prevent future environmental disasters like the Deepwater Horizon spill. We also understand the economic importance of oil and gas drilling and certainly feel the impact of excessive regulation and drilling moratoriums through lost local jobs and ever-increasing fuel costs.

I hope the Senate will act quickly to pass these common sense, bipartisan energy bills. Because the American people deserve more than just talk about lowering energy costs, they deserve action.

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