By Senator Scott Brown
Too many people are struggling in this bad economy. Food prices are up. Health care costs are increasing. And now gas prices are out of control.
Many families simply cannot afford higher gas prices, especially if the bread winners are out of work or have seen their incomes decline. For too many, the increased prices at the pump are forcing sacrifices in other areas just to make ends meet.
So what are we going to do about it? And where do I stand?
Unfortunately, last week, Congress voted against moving forward with the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline. In addition to immediately creating 20,000 shovel-ready, mostly union jobs, this project would increase our supply of fuel from Canada and place more fuel in the world market to help lower gas prices over the long term.
I joined a bipartisan group of 56 Senate colleagues,
including 10 Democrats, in voting to support Keystone. It fell just short of the 60 votes that were needed, but it shows that there is bipartisan agreement. We'll never get a handle on our energy problems as long as government keeps throwing obstacles in the path of America's own energy production.
Not only would Keystone put people back to work now and help lower the cost of energy in the Northeast, it would also reduce our dependence on Middle East oil. Right now, we send billions and billions of dollars each day to hostile countries who wish us harm. Weaning our reliance on oil from these nations is vital to our long-term national security.
Too many people think we can simply transition our national economy to exclusively non-fossil fuels in the short term, or that by increasing prices at the pump we can force more people to rely on public transportation and hybrid vehicles. But reality is a very different thing.
For the foreseeable future, no matter how much we invest in green technology, American industry and consumers will be heavily dependent on oil and gas. Middle-class Americans will continue to rely on gasoline to get where they need to go well into the future.
To be clear, increasing domestic supply is only one step we need to take to address our energy crisis. The short of it is that on energy policy, we've got work to do on every front. Oil, gas, coal, nuclear, wind, solar, biomass -- every fuel we can find or develop is going to be crucial as we grow our economy. Even with better conservation efforts, we're going to be a big energy consumer, so we'd better be a big energy producer, too. I believe America is more than equal to that task.
That's why I have and always will support an all-of-the-above approach to America's energy strategy. We need to continue development of reliable and affordable alternative energies so that we can transition away from fossil fuels over time. In the meantime, we need to relieve our dependence on Middle East oil by increasing domestic production and working more closely with our friends in Canada.
In the short-term, we need to take immediate action to halt the ever-increasing price of a gallon of gas. At a time when our economy is teetering on the edge and millions of middle-class Americans are getting squeezed financially, moving forward with the Keystone Pipeline would have brought relief at the pump, put people back to work and established a trading relationship with a friendly neighbor. In short, it's a no-brainer.