Energy and Gas Prices:
Our energy challenges affect both the country's immediate economic health and our long-term security and competitiveness. During these difficult economic times, higher gasoline prices and utility bills have caused an additional burden on families already struggling to make ends meet.
Here are some steps to increase American energy production, provide families with relief at the pump, and create American jobs:
Increase Onshore Production: Here in South Texas, onshore production at the Eagle Ford Shale has supported around 12,600 full-time jobs in the region last year alone, according to a study by the Center for Community and Business Research at the University of Texas at San Antonio.
The success of the Eagle Ford Shale could be replicated in areas around the country, but regulations imposed by the Administration are significantly decreasing onshore oil and gas production. Since 2005, Bureau of Land Management oil and gas leasing in the Rocky Mountain West has fallen by 67 percent.
Utilize Natural Gas Resources: I support the development of natural gas as an energy resource: it's clean, low-cost, reliable, and readily available. It is versatile because it can be used for industrial and residential heating, power generation, and as fuel for the growing transportation sector. There are large, untapped natural gas deposits right here in the U.S. Increasing domestic exploration and production would help reduce our dependence on foreign oil.
Support Offshore Drilling: After last year's oil spill in the Gulf, the Administration placed a moratorium on new shallow and deepwater drilling permits. But since the moratoriums were lifted, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) has issued only 37 new shallow water permits and one new permit for deepwater exploration. Production in the Gulf of Mexico is expected to fall 15 percent this year, and 26 percent in 2012, according to the Energy Information Agency.
The Administration should act now to expedite the drilling permit process and immediately restore shallow and deepwater drilling operations in the Gulf of Mexico. I recently co-sponsored a bipartisan resolution in the House, calling on the Secretary of the Interior to address America's energy needs and streamline the approval of drilling permit applications.