By Rep. Steve Scalise
We need safe and responsible development of our energy resources so that we can have a healthy economy. When it comes to America's energy reserves, the paradigm has shifted from one of energy scarcity to energy abundance.
America is on the path to unprecedented energy self-sufficiency, a path that has seen technology and innovation in the energy sector drive new energy abundance, diversity and affordability, all of which benefits American families in the form of lower energy costs.
The good news is these technologies and advancements are happening at a time when reports are confirming that our air quality has improved dramatically. We can continue to safely and responsibly explore for American energy while also supporting alternative sources of energy without radical regulations that increase energy costs.
Simply put, America needs to become more energy secure if we want to continue to control our own destiny.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee continues pressing forward with solutions to increase America's energy security and lower prices at the pump, all in a safe and responsible way. Not only are these solutions overwhelmingly supported by the American people, they reduce our dependence on Middle Eastern nations for our oil, and they create jobs and lead to a healthy economy.
Earlier this week, the Energy and Commerce Committee passed a bill to jump-start construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. President Obama's failure to approve this common-sense project highlights his opposition to American energy. For more than four years, Keystone and the 20,000 direct and more than 100,000 indirect jobs have been put on hold. Since Obama refuses to take action, it is now time for Congress to step in and approve Keystone XL.
American families are paying more than $3.50 at the pump for gas. Capitalizing on new technology and producing more American energy are one of the best steps to reduce prices at the pump. According to the Congressional Research Service, the entire increase in domestic oil production between 2007-2012 has come from private and state-owned lands, while production on federal lands -- where Obama administration approval is needed -- has actually declined.
The same is true of domestic natural gas: a 40 percent increase on non-federal lands and a 33 percent decrease from federally controlled onshore and offshore areas.
One of the largest threats to this path of security continues to be ever increasing regulations that unnecessarily limit or impede the safe and responsible production of our energy resources. Radical regulations that take away our energy choices or entangle states and small businesses in wasteful red tape should be eliminated so we can lower gas prices and create jobs.
The ability to successfully unlock our natural resources and capitalize on modern technology will lead to increased American prosperity, more jobs, affordable energy prices and a healthy economy for our nation. Turning our back on new technology and refusing to advance safe domestic energy production is unacceptable.
The time to act is now, and we're proud to be leading the way at the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
Scalise is vice chairman of the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Energy and Power.