By U.S. Rep. Jean Schmidt,
Ohio’s Second Congressional District
It has become an annual ritual. Each summer, gas prices spike – further burdening American families and causing outrage across the United States. President Obama says there is no “magic wand” that will bring oil prices down – and that we need to discuss long-term energy strategies. Instead, we usually resort to a short-term gimmick, like opening the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Summer turns to fall, and we move on to another topic.
Unfortunately, this is no time to move on. Today, the national average cost of a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is around $3.40. And, some 13 million Americans are out of work. Establishing a long-term energy plan can help change all of those numbers for the better.
The fact is that our nation has far more untapped oil than what is in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. There is great potential to develop our own domestic energy sources on federal lands, but we keep getting in our own way. The federal government is making it more difficult to tap the sources of energy. And, once those sources are available, the government throws up road blocks to bringing that energy to consumers.
Last week, the House of Representatives considered a bill, the Domestic Energy and Jobs Act, that seeks to harness our domestic energy resources. It also would help put Americans back to work, lower gas prices over the long term, and reduce our dependence on foreign sources of oil.
More specifically, this bill seeks to stop the Obama administration from hindering domestic oil and natural gas production on federal lands – while cutting bureaucratic red tape and streamlining the federal permitting process.
It also would require the federal government to set longer-term production goals – using an “all of the above” approach to meeting our nation’s energy needs. And, it would make the Environmental Protection Agency consider the effects of its rules and regulations on domestic energy consumers.
This is a common-sense approach for the government to maintain a steady hand in promoting reliable and affordable access to energy.