The U.S. House of Representatives has passed bipartisan legislation to increase American energy production, lowering gas prices and creating jobs. U.S. Rep. Greg Walden (R-Hood River) was a strong advocate for these three bills, which passed the House with bipartisan support. Walden issued the following statement after voting on the final bill:
"As summer driving season gets underway and chaos builds in the Middle East, families in Oregon continue to pay more and more at the gas station every time they fill up the tank. Everywhere I go in our state, families, farmers, ranchers, and small business owners tell me just how much of a burden skyrocketing energy prices are on their budgets. There's a better way. We can increase energy production to reduce energy costs so that Oregonians can keep more of their hard-earned paychecks and make America more prosperous and secure.
"That's why I strongly supported bipartisan legislation passed by the House this week to increase the supply of American energy. This will lower costs for Oregon families, create good-paying jobs, and keep our nation more secure. America is on track to become the world's leading energy superpower, but we must update our laws and cut through federal red tape to make this dream a reality."
According to AAA, gas prices in Oregon climbed again last week to a statewide average of $3.93 per gallon, well above the national average of $3.66 (making Oregon one of the top 10 most expensive states to buy gas). That average could soon climb above $4.00 per gallon, something we haven't seen since 2012.
The bills passed by the House this week include:
The Lowering Gasoline Prices to Fuel and America That Works Act (H.R. 4899) would open new areas to energy exploration and development on our vast onshore and offshore federal lands. The bill reverses the Obama Administration's policies that have driven federal oil production down six percent and federal natural gas down 28 percent since the president took office. Currently, the U.S. is experiencing an energy boom on state and private lands -- where natural gas production is up 33 percent and oil is up 61 percent since 2009. This is a testament to broken federal lands policy, part of which this bill seeks to fix.
The Domestic Prosperity and Global Freedom Act (H.R. 6) would expedite approval by the Department of Energy of U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports. Currently, 26 export applications are pending at the Department of Energy, some for over two years. The need for increased U.S. LNG exports has received considerable support and attention as the crisis between Russia and Ukraine continues. With Russia continuing to exploit the energy dependence of our European partners, this bill presents us with the unique opportunity to strengthen our allies, weaken our enemies, and create economic opportunities here at home.
The North American Energy Infrastructure Act (H.R. 3301) would establish a clear and efficient approval process for pipelines and transmission lines that cross the borders of the United States with Canada or Mexico. This would prevent another situation like the application for the Keystone XL pipeline which has languished for nearly six years.