Issues | Energy

America faces some significant challenges with respect to energy policy.  In the future, our demand for oil, natural gas, and electricity will increase.  At the same time, our nation’s energy infrastructure is in need of improvement with the electric transmission grid, oil and gas pipelines, refineries, and generation facilities in need of modernization.

Meeting these challenges in a safe, reliable, environmentally-friendly, and cost effective manner will demand the best efforts of policy makers, industry experts, and concerned citizens. I believe that striking a balance in energy policy should be our guiding principle. Additionally, I believe that America needs a balanced and diverse portfolio of energy sources so that we are not overly-dependent upon any one single source or foreign entities who are not always our friends.  I view this as a national security issue above all else, and developing our resources domestically is best for America’s future.

I support and all-of-the-above energy approach that includes more domestically produced oil, natural gas, coal and nuclear, along with alternative sources such as wind, solar, hydropower and geothermal.  This will lower prices, create new American jobs, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, strengthen our national security and raise revenues to help pay down our national debt.

The 112th Congress has passed legislations that supports my “all-of-the-above” approach to energy policy.

H.R. 1229, H.R. 1230, and H.R. 1231 are bills that lift bureaucratic regulations that restrict exploration and extraction of domestic resources.  H.R. 1229, the Putting the Gulf of Mexico Back to Work Act, amends the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to direct the Secretary of the Interior to require that any lease operating under an approved exploration plan obtain a permit before drilling any well, and obtain a permit before drilling any well, and obtain a new permit before drilling any well of a design that is significantly different than the design for which and existing permit is used.  H.R. 1230, the Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act, directs the Secretary of the Interior to conduct specified proposed offshore oil and gas lease sales in the Central Gulf of Mexico, Western Gulf of Mexico, the Outer Continental Shelf offshore and the Central Gulf of Mexico.  H.R. 1231 amends the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to require that each five-year off-shore oil and gas leasing program offer leasing in the areas with the most prospective oil and gas resources, and would establish a domestic oil and natural gas production goal.

On May 5, 2011, H.R. 1230 passed the House by a vote of 266-149.  On May 11, 2011, the House passed H.R. 1229 by a vote of 263-163.  On May 12, 2011, the House passed H.R. 1231 by a vote of 243-179.  I voted in favor of each of these bills.  
H.R. 1938 was introduced by Congressman Lee Terry (R-NE) on May 23, 2011.  This legislation directs the President to expedite the consideration and approval of the construction and operation of the Keystone XL oil pipeline.  With an estimated 170 billion barrels of recoverable oil, oil sands make Canada second only to Saudi Arabia in proven oil reserves.  TransCanada, a private Canadian pipeline company, began constructing the Keystone pipeline system in 2008.  The initial line moves 590,000 barrels of oil per day from Northern Alberta to Oklahoma and Illinois.  An extension currently underway would bring the line further south to Texas.

The process of allowing a pipeline to cross our boarder is steeped in regulatory burdens and delays.  TransCanada began this process of applying for a Presidential Permit in 2008.  The State Department, Department of Education, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are also involved in this process.  Already a year behind schedule, TransCanada has stated it cannot continue with this project if the process extends beyond December of 2011.

I voted in favor of this bill on July 26, 2011 where it passed by way of a 279-147 vote.  It has since been referred to the Senate for consideration.