We just finished up another busy week in the House. As a member of the House Energy Action Team (HEAT), I'm focusing on a series of energy-related jobs bills our conference has brought forward in recent weeks. I have been a strong proponent of these bills for two major reasons: 1) they bring America closer to independence from Middle Eastern oil; and 2) they would create thousands of American jobs by allowing oil and natural gas exploration to continue in Alaska, the Gulf Coast Region and elsewhere.
On Wednesday the House passed the most recent of these bills, HR 2021, the Jobs and Energy Permitting Act, which would end permitting delays that have stalled American oil production off the coast of Alaska. According to estimates, this common-sense legislation would create more than 54,000 jobs and produce up to 1 million barrels of oil a day.
At a time when millions of Americans remain out of work, I believe it is imperative that we take advantage of our existing vehicles to job creation, and that's exactly what the Jobs and Energy Permitting Act would allow us to do.
One day after we passed HR 2021, President Obama announced his decision to open up 30 million barrels of America's Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), a short-sighted and patently political move.
The President's decision troubled me not just because the SPR should only be used during national emergencies, but because the Administration has repeatedly refused to consider Republican efforts to expand American oil and natural gas exploration. Americans deserve an energy policy focused on results, not politics.
I continue to be encouraged by the progress our firefighters have made in tackling the fires that have affected thousands of Arizonans in recent weeks. The Wallow Fire, which has burned more than 530,000 acres, is now 67% contained; and the Monument Fire, which has destroyed over 29,000 acres, is now 59% contained. While the many Arizonans who have lost homes remain in our thoughts and prayers, we are grateful to our heroic firefighters for the continued progress they've made.
Have a nice weekend.