A path to lower gas prices
By Congressman Scott Tipton
U.S. House of Representatives
As Americans make plans to celebrate our nation’s independence next week and prepare for summer trips, they’re noticing rising gas prices.
Many people are facing gas prices above $3.50 a gallon and some are already paying over $4 a gallon at the pump. These rising fuel costs have a ripple effect across our economy, impacting families already struggling to pay the bills, small businesses operating on tight margins and senior citizens living on fixed incomes.
Fortunately, this doesn’t have to be the case.
Nature and entrepreneurial ingenuity have created the potential to allow America to take complete control of its energy future. We can enhance the value of our energy resources by removing overly-burdensome, redundant, bureaucratic and regulatory barriers that stand in the way of responsibly developing our nation’s energy production infrastructure.
This week, in the House of Representatives, we passed the Lowering Gasoline Prices to Fuel an America that Works Act of 2014 (H.R.4889). This common-sense package seeks to put into place a responsible American energy plan that reduces gas prices and other energy costs for consumers, while spurring economic growth and job creation.
Incorporated in this vital legislative package under Title II, my Planning for American Energy Act (H.R.1394) seeks to establish common-sense steps to create an all-of-the-above American energy plan for using federal lands to meet America’s energy needs. The bill allows for energy development on public lands in order to promote the energy and national security of the United States, and it specifies that all energy resources including wind, solar, hydropower, geothermal, oil, natural gas, coal, oil shale and minerals needed for energy development be within in the plan. These goals would be accomplished responsibly, without repealing a single environmental regulation or review process.
Unlocking our vast natural resources right here at home will lead us closer to energy independence. Yet, since President Obama took office, energy production on federal lands has declined significantly. In fact, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, oil production is down 11 percent and natural gas production has decreased by 28 percent on federal lands since 2009.
Additionally, the drastic increase of burdensome federal energy regulations imposed by this administration is having a detrimental effect on small businesses, jobs and consumer prices across the board. A recent study showed that the regulatory burden imposed on Americans costs our economy about $1.75 trillion annually.
Colorado and our western neighbors are home to vast energy reserves that, if tapped and developed responsibly, could fuel our nation’s economic recovery and ensure the United States remains competitive in the world market. By promoting a common-sense regulatory framework, embracing domestic energy research and development, and applying environmental and safety standards already on the books rather than adding costly new mandates, we can help meet America’s energy needs right here at home.
America’s energy capabilities are being strangled, and rising gas prices are one of the consequences. This doesn’t have to be. A true “all-of-the-above” energy strategy that unleashes our abundant resources will lead to affordable energy for families and small businesses for years to come.
Our nation and the future prosperity of its citizens require a true all-of-the-above domestic energy plan that responsibly increases production on federal lands while streamlining efficiencies and reducing red tape. That is exactly what H.R.4899 will accomplish. This legislation puts people to work, keeps energy costs low for families and businesses, and strengthens our national security.
Scott Tipton represents Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. He lives in Cortez.