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Not a day goes by when I am not asked about rising energy prices. These increased costs affect everyone. A large number of factors have combined to put pressure on energy and gasoline prices, including diminishing U.S. oil production, increased world demand for crude oil, and U.S. refinery capacity that is inadequate to supply gasoline to a recovering national economy. These are serious problems that will not go away with time, and they require real solutions that will restore American energy independence and help ease the pain of record cost fill-up.
Unfortunately, the Majority in Congress has failed to bring any legislation to the floor that would increase domestic energy production, and lower energy prices. Instead they have proposed placing restrictions on the marketplace which has the opposite effect of what is needed. Last week, I was pleased to join with over 100 Members of Congress in introducing comprehensive legislation which will increase the supply of American-made energy, expand and encourage the use of renewable and alternative American fuels, fund research and development of new and innovative energy technologies, and increase energy efficiency and conservation to reduce consumption and protect our environment.
The American Energy Act modernizes the nation’s energy policy by tapping into more of our massive energy resources located in the deep seas on the outer-continental shelf (OCS). This important resource could provide an additional 3 million barrels of oil per day and 76 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Additionally, it would open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, known as ANWR, to energy exploration, which could provide an additional 1 million barrels of oil per day for the next 30 years. The legislation also encourages construction of new oil refineries by reducing the bureaucratic red tape that currently exists and has prevented the construction of a new refinery since the late 1970s.
Additionally, the American Energy Act improves energy conservation and efficiency by providing tax incentives for businesses and families that purchase more fuel efficient vehicles and providing tax incentives for businesses and homeowners who improve their energy efficiency. The legislation provides a monetary prize for development of an affordable, fuel efficient vehicle which can reach 100 miles-per-gallon.
Finally, the American Energy Act promotes alternative and renewable energy technologies by permanently extending the tax credit for alternative energy production such as wind, solar and hydrogen. This important legislation also establishes a renewable energy trust fund using the revenues generated from exploration in the Outer Continental Shelf and ANWR and encourages the production of more nuclear power which provides greenhouse gas emission-free energy.
Energy costs are affecting the daily life of folks all across the country. We must change the direction this Congress has been headed in addressing this issue. The majority of Americans support the proposals included in the American Energy Act and it is time the Leadership in the House brings this important legislation, which will increase the supply of American-made energy, improve conservation and efficiency and promote renewable and alternative energy technologies, before the House for a vote. The Speaker should not be afraid of allowing democracy to work.