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Public Statements

Thornberry: Gas Prices a Burden to Many

Statement

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Date:
Location: Unknown

One issue affecting nearly everyone in our area is gas prices. There is no doubt high energy prices have placed a burden on many Americans.

Some predict we will see near or above $5 per gallon at the pump by peak driving time this summer. Many experts think recent turmoil overseas is one reason for rapidly increasing gas prices. And while things happening in the Middle East drive up the world price of oil, the president has only made things worse with his anti-fossil fuel agenda.

The federal government does not directly control the price you pay at the pump. We do know, however, this administration has prevented actions that could promote stable prices through more domestic production of oil and gas. Among other things, the president has limited drilling off our shores and on federal lands. He continues to threaten tax increases on the oil and gas industry; he has vetoed the full-length of the Keystone XL pipeline; and he has sent EPA regulators to harass drillers. The administration also is working hard to discredit fracking and other successful technologies like horizontal drilling. Unfortunately, the cost of energy will continue to increase if the president continues this course.

Look at what has happened over the past three years. In 2009, the administration listed carbon dioxide as a hazardous pollutant, opening the door for the regulation of carbon dioxide emissions under the Clean Air Act. The decision, in effect, granted more regulatory control to the EPA and its bureaucrats in Washington to govern through regulation.

In 2010, the president effectively reinstated the ban on offshore drilling, placing the entire Pacific Coast, the entire Atlantic Coast, the Eastern Gulf and parts of Alaska off limits to future production until 2017 at the earliest. In 2011, the president proposed a budget that included over $60 billion in direct tax and fee increases on American energy production. Already in 2012, the president announced a plan to close more than 1 million acres of public land in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming to oil shale development.

Many White House officials argued domestic oil and natural gas production is up. It has, in fact, increased on private lands, but it has decreased on land controlled by the federal government. The reality is, the increase has been in spite of this administration, not because of it. Energy production on private lands is up because of improved recovery methods like fracking, not the administration's policies.

The more stable the supply of energy, the more stable the price. It is that simple. Americans are tired of excuses for tying our own hands and not producing all of the energy we can here at home. My proposal, the "No More Excuses Energy Act of 2011" (H.R. 1023), encourages responsible domestic energy production of all kinds in the United States. The bill seeks to remove some of the most burdensome regulatory roadblocks that limit our domestic energy supply. The bill requires the President to designate at least 10 sites for oil or natural gas refineries on federal lands; it opens up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for drilling; and it removes carbon dioxide from the list of pollutants in to the Clean Air Act.

A study by the American Petroleum Institute found changes in federal energy policies could add nearly 1.1 million energy-related jobs over the next decade. The study notes that federal regulation changes could lead to projected federal revenues of $803 billion by 2030.

We can -- and should -- create jobs and bring down the cost of energy by implementing common-sense domestic energy policies. It is time to stop making excuses and get the government out of the way. It is the right thing to do for gas prices, for the American people, and for the economy.


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