As the summer months quickly approach and families start to plan vacations, our country continues to struggle with high energy costs. Since energy is vital to every sector of the U.S. economy these increased costs are affecting everyone. With the national average for a gallon of gasoline hovering around $4.00, the need for comprehensive energy legislation is quite apparent.
We've grown dangerously dependent on foreign oil sources and we can't allow this to threaten our economic security. This serious problem has proven it will not go away with time. Just as there was no one cause for our current energy crisis, there is no one silver bullet for getting us out of it. It will require comprehensive legislation which promotes increases in the supply of American-made energy, expands and encourages the use of renewable and alternative American fuels, funds research and development of new and innovative energy technologies, and increases energy efficiency and conservation to reduce consumption and protect our environment.
Without expanding domestic energy production, our nation will continue to see energy prices skyrocket. For this reason House Republicans have introduced the American Energy Initiative with the goal of lowering gasoline prices, creating American jobs, generating revenue to help reduce the debt and deficit and strengthening our national security by decreasing our dependence on foreign energy.
Over the last week the House of Representatives acted on three critical components of the American Energy Initiative which will work to restore American energy independence and help ease the pain of high gas prices. All three of these bills will expand offshore energy production, including off the coast of Virginia. By lifting the President's moratorium on drilling along the Outer Continental Shelf, known as the OCS, we could triple American energy production and it is estimated that enactment of these three pieces of legislation could create as many as 250,000 jobs in the short-term and 1.2 million jobs in the long-term.
Lifting the ban on drilling in the OCS is an important component to any long-term strategy to reduce our dangerous dependence on foreign oil. But more must be done. Congress should encourage the industry to develop all our resources including renewable and alternative energy sources, such as wind, solar, biofuels, coal-to-liquid, and hydrogen, while also developing traditional sources such as increased, refinery construction and nuclear construction.
Energy costs are affecting the daily life of folks all across the country. Abundant and affordable energy is the key to a strong economy and so Congress must continue focusing on policies that will increase the supply, security and diversity of American energy, promote conservation and put real alternative fuel sources in the hands of consumers to lower costs.