Mr. Chairman, my home State of North Dakota is rich in natural resources, and we have seen tremendous economic opportunity from the Bakken field. Through EMPOWER North Dakota, we were able to adopt a long-term energy plan in our State. It encouraged new energy development; and it created high-paying, high-quality jobs in the energy industry. In fact, today our unemployment rate is the lowest in the Nation.
We can have the same success on the national level, but to do so we need a long-term commonsense plan that is a national energy policy that must work to increase America's energy production, lower gas prices, and ultimately break our dependence on foreign oil.
America's families and small businesses are hurting. Gas prices are over $4 a gallon. Energy bills are hindering business growth. National unemployment remains a very high 9 percent. There is enormous potential in the gulf for energy development that can help turn our country's problems around. Our addiction to foreign energy is not sustainable. It threatens our national security. It's time to invest our resources that we have here in the United States. We need to lower energy costs and get Americans back to work.
As a member of the House Energy Action Team and a proud North Dakotan, I'm committed to working hard towards a national long-term energy policy. Let's pass this bill, get the gulf back to work and break our dependence on foreign oil.