Easing the Pain at the Pump

In the past weeks and months, we’ve had several stark reminders of our nation’s critical need to develop affordable North American energy. We’ve seen instability in Russia and the Middle East that has huge ramifications for the price of energy. On June 24, the Energy Information Administration announced that a gallon of gasoline averaged $3.70, an increase of ten cents per gallon over the same time last year and an increase of $1.35 per gallon since 2009. This means hardworking families are likely feeling the pinch on their wallets. When we’re at the mercy of foreign countries for our energy needs, we’re less secure. We need North American energy for both our economic and national security.

Tennessee families need affordable energy to get to work, to heat their homes and to grow their businesses. With affordable energy we can create good-paying jobs – both in the energy sector and at businesses, like those in the manufacturing sector, who are energy dependent. In East Tennessee, hardworking men and women rely on vehicles to get to work, to take their children to practice and to run errands. Unfortunately, the price of gasoline remains high as we begin the summer driving season.

This week, the House passed a series of bills to expand access to affordable North American energy. With these bills, we will allow more offshore drilling; eliminate red tape and delays for cross-border energy projects; and increase domestic energy production, creating jobs and moving away from dependence on unstable countries.

The North American Energy Infrastructure Act is a bipartisan measure that would consolidate and standardize the cross-border approval process for oil and natural gas pipelines and electric transmission lines. The bill also eliminates the Presidential Permit requirement for construction of these projects, ensuring that projects that pass the rigorous environmental standards testing cannot be delayed by any administration.

The Domestic Prosperity and Global Freedom Act would expedite exports of U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) to allies by bringing certainty to the Department of Energy’s export approval process. According to the American Petroleum Institute, increasing LNG exports has the potential to create up to 425,000 jobs between 2016 and 2035. This would help boost the economy while also increasing global energy security, particularly at a time when Russia is a huge exporter of natural gas.

Finally, the House passed the Lowering Gasoline Prices to Fuel an America that Works Act. This bill would help ease the pain at the pump for American families and businesses by tapping into the energy resources we have in the United States. Since President Obama took office, total oil and natural gas production on federal lands has dropped. The president likes to tout an increase in overall production, but any increase has been on state and private lands, leaving the resources on our federal lands underutilized while gas prices rise. This bill will require the administration to allow new offshore production in the areas containing the most oil and natural gas, as well as move forward on the lease sales that it has delayed or cancelled. This bill will reform the leasing process, ensuring there are no more unnecessary delays.

When gas prices are down, we see the benefits right here at home, especially in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. In the First District, the tourism industry accounts for more than 19,000 jobs. Domestic and international travelers spent $16.2 billion in Tennessee in 2012, generating billions for payrolls and in state, federal and local tax revenue. Please rest assured I will continue to support legislation to move us toward a true all-of-the-above energy policy that will help lower costs and create jobs.

Feel free to contact my office if we can be of assistance to you or your family. Our contact information can be found on our website, www.roe.house.gov.

Source: Communication from U.S. Congressman Phil Roe, M.D., 1st District of Tennessee