By Representative Candice Miller
Michigan families and businesses continue to struggle with high energy prices. Whether it is the price to fill up a tank of gas for their vehicle or the extra input to deliver goods, controlling our energy cost is vital to our economic recovery in this country. While it is hard to predict where prices will be in the future, demand for energy will only increase in years to come, therefore increasing domestic supply as well as reducing burden regulations that target energy production will be key to keeping energy cost at an affordable rate and keeping this economy growing.
This past week, the House of Representatives passed the Domestic Energy and Jobs Act which includes a legislative package comprised of a myriad of energy bills that aims to increase access to domestic energy resources and eliminate red tape and government bureaucracy that can drive up energy prices.
For starters, the legislation would halt the overuse of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve by requiring that in order for the President to release oil from the reserve, the Administration must develop a plan to lease more federal lands for exploration and production. The legislation will also require the Secretary of Interior to set production goals on federal land to utilize our resources to meet the county's energy needs.
Furthermore, the Domestic Energy and Jobs Act will remove government roadblocks, such as over regulation, to ensure a reliable permitting process for increasing American energy production. These burdensome regulations are duplicative and unnecessary and only act as obstacles for companies looking to increase production. In addition, the bill will authorize the Secretary to modernize the bidding process by establishing an internet based auction for onshore leases to ensure fair competition, reduce fraud, and secure the leasing process.
Lastly, the legislation will require an interagency committee to conduct a cumulative analysis on certain EPA regulation affecting transportation fuels to better understand their impact on gas prices, jobs, and economy. Most notably, the Domestic Energy and Jobs Act will halt the implementation of the proposed Tier 3 gas regulations that seeks to lower the amount of sulfur in gasoline. This regulation alone could increase the cost to manufacture gasoline by up to nine cents per gallon even after the EPA has declared no measurable air quality benefits.
We cannot expect our country to work its way out of the recent recession unless we take control of our energy cost. I believe, as most other Michiganians do, increasing our domestic energy resources that makes America less dependent on foreign oil is good for our national security and our economy. Enacting the Domestic Energy and Jobs Act is a necessary step in meeting this goal.
The 10th Senate District held by Rep. Miller includes the counties of Lapeer, Sanilac, Huron, St. Clair and Macomb.