With gas prices rising faster and earlier than ever before, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) sent the following letter to President Obama today urging him to follow through on his new-found support for an all-of-the-above energy policy and reconsider his opposition to bipartisan House-passed bills that remove government barriers to energy production.
Dear Mr. President:
It is critical that we find common ground to help our still struggling economy. Recent positive economic data is being overshadowed for many American families by soaring energy costs that are increasing their cost of living, so we must work together to find energy and economic solutions.
I was encouraged that you recently came out in favor of an all-of-the-above energy policy -- the approach Republicans have championed for many years. Utilizing the vast energy resources we have here at home can have a positive impact on energy costs, as well as create millions of good, high-paying jobs.
However, using the words doesn't make your energy policy all-of-the-above.
Over the last three years, your administration has blocked, slowed, and discouraged the production of critical American energy sources. From an offshore drilling moratorium to a de-facto one put in place through the permitting and leasing process, American energy and the jobs it creates have too often been shelved. You have rightly noted that oil production alone cannot solve our energy challenges. That's why we've also been disturbed by regulations proposed by your administration, such as the Utility-MACT rule, that would increase costs and limit the supply of other domestic sources of energy. These rules, the most expensive in EPA history, stand to cost 180,000 American jobs per year and would force the premature retirement of 12 percent of America's coal-fired energy generation.
These actions are bad for energy prices and bad for jobs. As your own Council on Jobs and Competitiveness recently reported, "as a nation, we need to take advantage of all our natural resources to spur economic growth, create jobs and reduce the country's dependence on foreign oil."
You have defended your administration's record by citing today's historically high level of domestic oil production. But, as we both know, that production can be attributed mostly to the policies of your predecessor as well as a boom on state and private lands, which lie largely outside of federal control. On federal land, energy production fell 11 percent last year, and your draft five-year plan for off shore exploration projects a decline in federal leasing and permitting.
Our goal should be to responsibly increase the supply of all American sources of energy to help lower prices and create jobs. That means breaking down government barriers to the natural resources we have here -- all of them.
Taking this issue seriously, the House recently passed, over your objection, a host of bipartisan solutions to increase the supply of multiple sources of American-made energy. As part of an all-of-the-above solution, the legislation would:
* open the most promising areas off shore to exploration and production;
* decrease delays in production permitting;
* encourage development of 1.5 trillion barrels of oil shale in the Rocky Mountain West;
* make available three percent of land in the Arctic coastal plain, known to be rich in natural resources;
* remove regulatory barriers to the development of renewable energy sources on federal lands; and
* require approval of the Keystone XL pipeline.
This work builds on previous bipartisan bills passed by the House to break down barriers imposed by the administration on various sources of American energy production. As part of your new support for an all-of-the-above approach, it is my hope that you will reconsider your opposition to these bills and work with us to create jobs and increase our domestic energy supply.
Finally, as you know, the builder of the Keystone XL pipeline has announced it will reapply for a presidential permit to bring oil resources from Canada into the United States. The current turmoil in the Middle East and its effect on gas prices reminds us how dangerous it is to rely so much on that region for our energy supply. To provide greater energy security, I would urge you to change course and expeditiously approve the pipeline permit as soon as the application has been filed. We can't wait for this project to get started.
There are bipartisan majorities in Congress for an all-of-the-above approach, but it cannot become a reality without your participation. As President, you hold the most influence over the supply of American-made energy. It's my hope that you will work with Republicans to make the all-of-the-above approach you've stated you support a reality.
I look forward to discussing this important issue at the earliest convenience.