Increased energy costs are forcing some Kentucky businesses to lay off employees. A truck plant in Louisville has temporarily shut down due, in part, to high fuel costs. And Kentuckians across the state cringe every time they pull up to the pump.
Gas prices have nearly doubled over the past two years. In some parts of the country gas costs more than four dollars a gallon. How did it come to this?
President Obama's policies certainly haven't helped. His administration has delayed, revoked, suspended, or canceled many energy development opportunities. No matter how much they say they want lower gas prices, the regulations issued by this administration add up to one thing--a war on American energy production and the jobs that come with it.
President Obama has proposed raising energy taxes of up to $90 billion over the next 10 years--most of which would be passed on to the consumer in the form of higher gas and electricity prices. The taxes could also slow down domestic oil production, enough to put up to 165,000 jobs in jeopardy over the next 10 years.
The administration has issued only 10 permits for deepwater drilling basic exploration projects in the past 11 months. If that current slow pace continues, offshore energy production will decrease by 13 percent in 2011. And fewer deepwater drilling projects mean fewer jobs and billions of dollars lost in investment.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has blocked access to potential offshore resources by refusing to provide permits to explore for oil off the Alaska coast, which holds an estimated 27 billion barrels of oil and would create 55,000 jobs per year.
The administration denied a permit to build a bridge needed to access an oil-producing field in Alaska after the EPA designated a nearby river an "aquatic resource of national importance."
That same EPA is imposing through regulation what it couldn't through legislation, the regulation of carbon emissions--despite Congress expressly voting against giving the EPA any such power. These backdoor regulations could increase the cost of gasoline and electricity by 50 percent and destroy more than a million jobs.
And the administration won't even have a conversation about exploring for oil in a remote, 2,000-acre piece of land in northern Alaska that could bring approximately one million barrels of oil to market per day.
America contains enough untapped oil that we could easily replace our imports from the Persian Gulf for more than 50 years on domestic supplies alone. The problem isn't that we need to look to foreign countries for energy, as the president has proposed. The problem is that the liberal Democrats in Washington won't let us use the energy we already have.
It's time to show Americans their government is serious about a sustained commitment to expanding domestic energy that will lower gas prices and create jobs.
Republicans have proposed two simple ideas that would provide real relief at the pump. First, we should seriously reform the rules and regulations holding America back from increased domestic energy production. And second, we should block any new regulations that would drive up the costs of energy production.
Together, these two steps would unlock our energy resources and promote job growth. Plus, they're just common sense. Unfortunately, common sense is a rare thing in Washington these days--perhaps rarer than domestic energy.