Rep. Fred Upton in The Washington Examiner: House is moving forward on American energy solutions

September 21, 2011

When Republicans regained a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, we embraced the parallel goals of job creation and energy security. Both are essential to America's long-term economic competitiveness, and both can be achieved by expanding the production of American energy.

By embracing a strategy that is open to all-of the-above energy sources, House Republicans have successfully passed legislation to tap into America's vast energy resources and prevent regulations that threaten to drive energy costs up and drive jobs overseas.

In the past several months, the House has made significant progress under the banner of the American Energy Initiative, which reflects our multifaceted approach to expanding American energy production.

I hope to see these landmark pieces of legislation become law, but I fear that hope may be misplaced. Senate Democrats continue to block progress on numerous pro-jobs, pro-energy bills coming out of the House.

Consider just three of the positive energy solutions passed by the House, bills that originated in the Energy and Commerce Committee and are now stalled in the Senate.

The Energy Tax Prevention Act will prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from imposing a cap-and-trade-style national energy tax under the Clean Air Act. With as many as 1.4 million jobs by 2014 estimated to be at risk under a new greenhouse gas regulatory regime, the Energy Tax Prevention Act is essential to protect our economy from massive job losses and the higher energy costs that would accompany these costly new rules.

Stopping the Obama administration's anti-energy policies is as important is advancing pro-energy solutions as we work to ensure families have access to affordable energy and businesses remain competitive in a global marketplace.

Other legislative proposals aim to expand America's energy capacity by increasing access to safe and secure resources.

The North American-Made Energy Security Act will expedite the final permitting decision on the Keystone XL pipeline, a vital artery that would strengthen the energy partnership between the U.S. and our ally to the north.

If constructed, the pipeline will bring more than 1.4 million barrels per day of safe and secure oil from Canada and North Dakota to U.S. refineries, and in the process, create more than 100,000 jobs here in the U.S.

A Department of Energy sponsored study has said this increased supply could "essentially eliminate" our oil imports from the Middle East. The only thing standing in the way of our access to this massive energy supply is approval from the Obama administration, which has sat on the pipeline's permit application for nearly three years.

The vast Canadian resources are not the only energy supplies the Obama administration is leaving on the table. Massive resources on Alaska's Outer Continental Shelf are also being ignored.

To jump-start production of these valuable American resources, the Jobs and Energy Permitting Act is needed to eliminate the bureaucratic delays that have stalled important offshore energy production.

Alaska's Beaufort and Chukchi seas are estimated to contain up to 28 billion barrels of oil. The development of these waters alone could produce up to 1 million barrels of oil per day of domestic energy and create more than 50,000 American jobs, but we have yet to see a single well drilled due to EPA's obstructions.

The American people sent us to deliver job-creating energy solutions, and that is exactly what we have done. These bills are designed to cut through the red tape preventing America from harnessing our energy potential.

All three Energy and Commerce bills received strong bipartisan support in the House and, if given a vote, would likely draw support from both sides of the aisle in the Senate as well.

We cannot afford to wait any longer to develop America's resources. Recent conflicts in the Middle East demonstrate the urgent need to eliminate our dependence on energy supplies from hostile or unstable parts of the world.

And every day that goes by without moving forward on American energy production is a missed opportunity to create jobs and spur the economy. Shovel-ready energy projects continue to be put on hold while millions of Americans remain out of work.

The House has produced tangible solutions to create jobs and break down the barriers to much-needed energy production. It is time for the Senate to advance these bills and the president to sign them so Americans can get back to work and back on track toward a more energy secure future.

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