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Monroe Evening News: U.S. needs all-the-above energy policy

November 18, 2013
Opinion Editorial
From transportation to job creation, an abundant supply of energy is critical to the health of our economy, especially in Monroe County where DTE Energy and CMS Energy employ more than 600 people combined. But uncertainty about high energy costs is making it harder for Michigan's businesses to grow and for families to live within their budget.

If we want to see a return to stable energy prices and increased job growth, we need to step away from the president's expansive regulatory agenda and instead get serious about implementing an all-of-theabove energy plan.

This year certainly has seen its share of troubling proposed energy regulations for manufacturing states such as Michigan. In June, the president issued a memorandum directing the Environmental Protection Agency to further regulate existing fossil fuel-fired power plants. Just three months later, the EPA announced proposed greenhouse gas standards for new fossil fuel-fired power plants despite the fact that U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide emissions are at the lowest level since 1994 and almost 40 percent of all electricity nationwide is produced by coal.

In a state that has more than 30 coal-fired plants, the Obama administration's and EPA's decision to target these type of plants hits too close to home. If we walk away from coal as a significant component of our energy portfolio, we will inevitably lose manufacturing and energyrelated jobs that have long relied on this affordable energy source.

That's why I have continued to work with my colleagues in Congress in support of an all-of-the above energy plan that recognizes our nation's ample supply of natural resources. America is a nation abundant in natural gas, coal and oil. We use about one-fifth of the world's oil supply but only produce about 50 percent of what we use.

The Alaskan National Petroleum Reserve alone contains more than 2.7 billion barrels of oil and more than 114 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. New practices allow energy producers to more easily extract these resources from the ground while doing it cheaper, safer and with less disruption to the landscape.

However, we also need to enact common-sense policies to enable the use of these resources and allow us to maximize their potential and impact. That's why I have continued to fight for approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline and increased offshore energy production. Keystone XL alone is estimated to create tens of thousands of jobs, and in spite of ever-increasing support from Democrats and unions, the president has blocked every one of our bipartisan efforts to see it completed.

Meanwhile, legislation that would require the administration to move forward with offshore energy production in areas containing the greatest amount of oil and natural gas resources remains stuck in the Senate.

It's also important to support market-based strategies that encourage alternative-energy sources such as wind, solar, cellulosic ethanol, biodiesel, hydrogen and other clean alternatives, in addition to promoting conservation. Nuclear energy is also a viable part of our energy portfolio and remains an important component of increasing our energy production. Right now, the 104 nuclear reactors in America provide us with 20 percent of the nation's electricity and 73 percent of our carbon-free electricity even though no new nuclear reactors have been built since 1978.

My main focus in the House is to create jobs, and communities such as Monroe understand how vital affordable energy production is to helping grow and foster a healthy economy. The president and Senate need to listen and work with their colleagues in the House in a good faith, bipartisan effort to allow for an all-of-the-above energy policy that meets Michigan's needs.

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