Upton Kicks Off Debate on Domestic Energy and Jobs Act

June 20, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC - House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) delivered the following statement today on the House floor in support of H.R. 4480, the Domestic Energy and Jobs Act. Two legislative proposals approved by the Energy and Commerce Committee are reflected in Title I and Title II of the bill.

Remarks as Prepared for Delivery

”The price of gasoline and the unemployment rate both remain far too high, and American families are struggling as a result. That’s why I support H.R. 4480, the Domestic Energy and Jobs Act, and I urge my colleagues to do the same. This bill is truly a win-win - the steps it takes to expand supplies of affordable domestic energy will create many jobs in the process.

”It’s no secret that I don’t see eye-to-eye with President Obama on energy policy, but perhaps the most inexplicable energy policy move this administration has made was the June 2011 decision to withdraw 30 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve with no plan to replace them. It is hard to understand why the President would take oil from the nation’s emergency stockpile while at the same time keeping off-limits the far greater amounts beneath federally controlled lands and offshore areas. It’s like a couple pawning their wedding rings for cash while ignoring a major gold discovery in their backyard.

”The amount of untapped oil in areas kept out of reach by the Obama administration is estimated to exceed the entire Strategic Petroleum Reserve dozens of times over. And these estimates are not mere speculation. Indeed, the recent increases in oil production on state and privately owned lands demonstrate the tremendous energy development potential on federal lands. But that potential will only be realized if the administration’s roadblocks are removed.

”Title I of this bill does just that. It requires that the next time the President withdraws oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, he must also commit to more oil leasing on federal lands and offshore areas. The result would be greater supplies of domestic oil and lower prices, not to mention thousands of new energy industry jobs.

”Gaining access to untapped oil resources is part of the equation, but before that oil can reach consumers at the pump, it needs to be refined into gasoline and diesel fuel. Title II of this bill will help American refiners so they can keep fueling our country. Because what refiners really need is a little common sense - a little regulatory certainty. It would be an understatement to say the Obama administration’s regulators have not been friendly to domestic oil production, and the truth is, they have been no better to the refiners who produce the fuels we use.  In fact, EPA is moving ahead with a number of new regulations affecting refineries and other facilities - regs that are likely to drive up the price at the pump and jeopardize refining sector jobs.

”Title II requires that we learn about the consequences before imposing additional red tape.  It sets up an inter-agency committee that will analyze the cumulative effects of several upcoming EPA regulations on fuel prices as well as jobs. It also defers the finalization of three measures until after the analysis is completed.  

”The good news is that a future of chronically high gas prices is not inevitable. These policies I have discussed and numerous other provisions in this legislation will together move us toward more secure, affordable American energy and the American jobs that go with it.

”This nation can increase domestic energy supplies, lower future prices at the pump, and create many more jobs. H.R. 4480 takes major steps to usher in this brighter future, and I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting it.”    

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