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Jackson Cit Pat: Common-sense energy legislation must continue to be a priority

July 24, 2014
Opinion Editorial

The U.S. contains more oil, coal and natural gas resources than any other nation in the world, yet hardworking families across Michigan are still struggling to pay the price at the pump. With these abundant resources and a workforce yearning for new opportunities, Americans shouldn't be forced to choose between filling the gas tank or putting food on the table.  Providing relief to American families and reaching our full energy potential requires a true all-of-the-above energy agenda, which is why I've continued to work with my colleagues in the House to advance common-sense legislation that lowers energy prices and creates good-paying American jobs.

Despite President Obama's repeated claims that he agrees with all-of-the-above energy plan, his Administration's actions tell a different story. Just last month, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed a plan to impose excessive new regulations on existing power plants which they've admitted will raise your monthly power bill.

A new national energy tax lacks commonsense and the support of working families across our country. We shouldn't be simply punishing the use of a valuable resource which helps American families and manufacturers at a time when coal accounted for nearly 40 percent of all electricity produced nationwide last year and we have enough of it to meet demand for almost 300 years.

The president has also proposed a five-year lease plan that would shut off access to 85% of our offshore drilling areas despite reports that drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf alone would create 1.2 million jobs each year and billions of dollars in economic output.  Meanwhile, he's been stalling for years to approve the Keystone XL pipeline despite 60% of Americans being in favor of it, strong bipartisan, bicameral and union support

While the president and Senate may be delaying in developing a true all-of-the-above energy agenda with misguided policies, the House has been passing bill-after-bill to unleash our nation's energy and create more jobs for all Americans. Already this year the House has passed legislation to support domestic energy production, encourage energy efficiency, and lower taxes on the oil and natural gas. 

This past month alone we've voted to lower gas prices by increasing domestic energy and gas production on federal lands and in offshore waters. Additionally we've sought to create a modernized cross-border approval process for electrical transmission lines and natural and oil pipelines while also expediting exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG).

With gas prices at a six-year high and other energy prices causing day-to-day hardships for many of us, the president and Senate need to join us with our common sense approach in ushering a new energy renaissance which will lower energy bills and create jobs for a healthy economy. Let's develop an American energy policy that rewards and develops the resources we have right here at home. 

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