By Representative Paul Gosar
People throughout Arizona and across the nation are suffering from the effects of our down economy. Prices at the pump continue to rise and electric bills are increasing as we enter the heat of the summer. More than 11 million Americans are still without work and a staggering 90 million have fallen out of the labor force. People are counting on their elected officials to take action and get this economy moving again.
If we focus on sustainable resource development we can jumpstart this economy. We must embrace an all-of-the-above energy policy, which encourages responsible development of our natural resources and expands domestic energy production.
An all-of-the-above energy policy must include renewable sources like wind, solar, hydropower and biomass, along with coal and domestically-produced oil and natural gas.
Here in Arizona, we are poised for an economic boom.
The Secretary of the Interior recently announced the approval of three renewable energy projects in Arizona and Nevada, which is welcome news for the area.
For example, the Quartzsite Solar Project, located in La Paz County, was recently approved. Once operational, this solar project will expand domestic energy production on our public lands and provide reliable power at lower energy costs for Arizonans. The project is also expected to create nearly 500 good-paying jobs.
Western states like Arizona contain millions of acres of public lands prime for economic development.
To facilitate this type of development, I introduced the Public Lands Renewable Energy Development Act. This bill streamlines the development process for projects on U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management lands -- like the Quartzsite Solar Project -- and ensures the states and local communities benefit the most from their construction and electricity generation.
By developing our natural resources, we create the economic growth required to put our nation back to work. Arizonans understand the relationship between renewable energy and America's economic revival and it starts by embracing a true all-of-the-above approach to energy policy.
U.S. Congressman Paul Gosar is a Republican from Arizona's Fourth Congressional District and a member of the House Natural Resources Committee.