Editor’s note: This op-ed piece by Congressman Fred Keller (R-Pa. 12) originally appeared on Fox News.
Every day, energy prices in America hit new record highs, leaving American families wondering when relief will come.
During a press conference last week, President Biden said that high gas prices were part of an “incredible transition” to become “less reliant on fossil fuels.”
This “incredible transition” that the president referred to isn’t fooling anybody. This administration has made clear—in no uncertain terms—that instead of working seriously to alleviate Americans’ pain at the pump, the president will continue to suffocate the domestic oil and natural gas industry in hopes of replacing it with an unrealistic and far-left Green New Deal.
Americans are feeling the blowback from this administration’s shift away from clean, affordable, American energy. Economists are projecting that the national price for a gallon of gas will exceed $6 by August. Americans are on track to pay 78% more this year at the pump then they did a year ago. With Joe Biden in office, it’s no wonder inflation is out of control.
All hope is not lost. The solution to our troubles lies beneath our feet, and unleashing American oil and natural gas resources through domestic drilling is our only chance to curb inflation and rebuild America’s economic might.
That’s why over 20 of my Republican colleagues and I recently introduced legislation calling on the Biden administration to reverse course and increase domestic drilling for oil and natural gas.
Here are five reasons why the Biden administration should support domestic drilling:
1. Consumer savings
While energy prices are influenced by a broad range of factors—both in and outside of our control— there’s no doubt that U.S. policy plays a key role in shaping the price that Americans see at the pump.
America is blessed with some of the most abundant natural resources in the world and has the capacity to expand its domestic supply of oil and natural gas to meet domestic demand and relieve price pressures. In Pennsylvania—America’s second largest natural gas producer—residents see $1,200 in annual energy savings as a result of the Commonwealth’s energy industry.
2. Reduced emissions
The United States is not only the top producer of oil and natural gas, but also a leader in cutting its carbon footprint, reducing emissions by 17 percent below its 2005 level—more than any other country. It’s also telling that the United States—who wasn’t part of the Paris Climate Accord in 2017—reduced its carbon emissions by 0.5 percent that year—more than all major emission-producing countries who did sign the agreement.
3. Good paying jobs and stronger communities
Domestic drilling is fueling job growth and creating unparalleled prosperity for American families. The United States’ oil and gas industry directly employs 2.6 million Americans and supports another 9.8 million jobs, accounting for 5.6 percent of the nation’s total employment.
As a member of the Congressional Western Caucus and House Energy Action Team, I have had the opportunity to tour drilling pads and natural gas wells in West Texas and Oklahoma, and host members of Congress in Northeast Pennsylvania—seeing firsthand the incredible partnerships domestic producers have with schools, hospitals, and local governments.
In my home state of Pennsylvania, the impact tax on the natural gas industry has generated more than $2 billion in revenue, directly benefiting all 67 counties.
4. National security
Thirty-five percent of energy consumption in the U.S. comes from oil, making the Strategic Petroleum Reserve critical to our national security. Used in the past to offset major disruptions to the global energy supply—during events like Hurricane Katrina and Operation Desert Storm, the SPR is now at its lowest level in 35 years due the Biden administration unwisely using it as a stopgap to try and lower gas prices.
My colleagues on the Oversight and Reform Committee and I sent a letter requesting further information on the rationale behind this untenable approach. Ramping up domestic drilling and refilling the SPR will enable the United States to respond more effectively to future emergencies.
5. Global security
With increased domestic drilling bolstering American energy security, our adversaries no longer have the ability to leverage their energy resources or maliciously influence global markets. Instead of the Biden administration calling on Venezuela, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and other nations that don’t have our best interests in mind to produce more energy, we must instead put faith back in our domestic energy producers to meet our energy needs. Doing so creates a safer world for us and our allies.
The Biden administration’s war on American energy will not move us closer to meeting our energy goals – on the contrary, it puts us at a competitive disadvantage to our adversaries.
We are capable of innovating and bringing new technologies to the world of renewable energy while also addressing the demands of the day.
President Biden must recognize the reality that the world runs on oil and gas—changing where our baseload is sourced does nothing to diminish demand.
Domestic drilling is necessary for America to remain a dominant player in the global arena, and partisan agendas must not interfere with America’s ability to lead in the 21st century and beyond.
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