THE BACHMANN BULLETIN
Last month, I was proud to join my colleagues in the bipartisan passage of legislation to help veterans get the care and services they have earned. Specifically, the Veterans Health Care Policy Enhancement Act, H.R. 6445, prohibits the Department of Veterans Affairs from collecting copayments from veterans who are catastrophically disabled and also expands existing benefits and offers critical protections for these vets.
In addition to putting an end to certain government medical and nursing bills, the legislation would expand counseling services for veterans' families. Presently, only the families of veterans with combat injuries have access to mental health and counseling services. This legislation would expand those benefits to other veterans' families. Also, the bill would require the VA to establish an in-depth plan for helping veterans with acute and chronic pain.
I also joined the House in supporting a federal spending bill providing $47.7 billion in funds for veterans programs in the coming fiscal year. This is for veterans' health care, burial, education, and other services. The men and women who put on the uniform sacrificed so much for us and it is our duty as a grateful nation to support them.
Bachmann Outlines Her All-of-the-Above Energy Strategy in the St. Cloud Times:
Yesterday, the St. Cloud Times ran an op-ed I wrote about my All-of-the-Above energy strategy to help cut the price of gas and put us on the road to energy independence. It's re-printed below in case you missed it:
Put all options on the table
St. Cloud Times, Aug 10 -
Minnesotans deserve the facts about our energy resources and what can be done to bring down energy costs.
In a crisis of this nature, America cannot afford to leave any energy alternative off the table conservation, coal, oil, wind, solar, biofuels, geothermal or nuclear. That's why I support an all-of-the-above energy policy that not only calls for increasing the production and exploration of America's own energy resources, but improves conservation and energy efficiency and promotes new and ever-improving energy technologies.
As part of this comprehensive strategy, I recently introduced the Promoting New American Energy Act, which would accelerate tax depreciation for investments in renewable energy. By encouraging greater investment in energy alternatives, they will more quickly become a greater part of our energy arsenal.
New tax incentives to encourage purchases of energy production equipment and technologies will provide American businesses with the tools needed to increase production and lower our skyrocketing energy costs.
Along with investing in alternative sources of energy, we cannot afford to overlook the abundance of resources we have here in America.
What we have
The Minerals Management Service of the U.S. Department of Energy estimates that we have 86 billion barrels of oil and 420 trillion cubic feet of natural gas along our nation's Outer Continental Shelf.
From the 10-02 Area of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which is the size of a postage stamp on a football field, we can produce at least 10.4 billion barrels of oil, according to a 2005 U.S. Geological Survey. What makes the 10-02 Area so practical for drilling is its location to the already active trans-Alaskan Pipeline.
Trip to Alaska
During my July visit to Alaska, we were told that the pipeline would be processing less than 300,000 barrels of oil per day in 10 years compared with the 720,000 being produced today because we're not fully utilizing our resources.
We can build a small spur of only 75 miles to Area 10-02 to sustain the pipeline and create jobs in the process.
Some critics point to a U.S. Energy Information Administration report that questions the impact of increased supply on prices, but this solitary report does not tell the whole story.
For instance, let's take its projections about drilling in the OCS. The report assumes that the current bans on drilling will remain in place until at least 2012 and production would not start until 2017.
That's wasted time and wasted opportunity, so I have introduced another bill to give the secretary of energy the ability to open our reserves and streamline the refinery process. Legislation like this would go a long way to disprove the EIA's pessimistic assumptions.
Opponents of drilling in ANWR and the OCS claim that oil companies are sitting on 68 million acres of leased lands that they're not using.
In reality, there is not 1 acre of these 68 million that is not in some stage of the leasing process. The problem is that Congress has created so much bureaucratic red tape that it takes close to 10 years before a company can start producing.
Critics also claim that increasing supply will not affect energy prices.
However, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke stated unequivocally that just a 1 percent increase in supply could lower prices by 10 percent.
A 1 percent increase in world oil supply represents 870,000 barrels of oil a day. The USGS estimates that ANWR alone would provide us with 1 million barrels of oil per day for 30 years.
We also have 1.23 trillion barrels of shale oil in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. Comparable to Saudi Arabia's estimated reserve, these lands alone could offset our imports from a region that does not have our best interests at heart.
That is why I have introduced legislation to put in place a process that will help develop these resources faster.
Economists like Bernanke also agree that prices would drop the moment legislation was passed because the commodities market responds to indicators of future supply.
Energy independence can't be achieved through drilling alone, nor from only conserving energy or investing in alternative sources of energy. True energy independence will only be achieved with a strategy that includes all of the above.