America needs to maximize development of our own domestic energy resources in order to win the battle to provide a national energy policy that secures America’s future. Yet, many in Washington remain focused on a policy that ignores vast sources of domestic energy while increasing costs for families and businesses that are already tightening their belts. South Mississippians have particularly paid the price due to unclear and illogical energy regulatory policies implemented by the current administration. The president’s de facto moratorium has cost the Gulf States an estimated 12,000 jobs.
During my district work week, I tried to bring attention to the effects of rising fuel costs. I toured Chevron’s largest US oil refinery to see firsthand the refinery’s capability and receive an update on the $1.4 billion Chevron Pascagoula Base Oil Project (PBOP) expected to generate approximately 1,000 jobs over the next two years of construction and about 20 permanent positions once the facility is operating.
In addition, I pumped gas for constituents to find out how the rising gas prices are affecting families and businesses. I asked the question, “What can government do to provide relief at the pumps?” Constituents overwhelmingly responded that we should start drilling more offshore and fully utilize our domestic energy resources. I agree with that sentiment.
I wrapped up the week by joining Congressman Scalise (LA), Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (MI), Energy and Environment Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (KY), Congressman Gene Green (TX) and Congressman Steve Womack (AR) in South Louisiana for the 2011 Offshore Energy Tour. I thank Congressman Scalise for his leadership in organizing the tour.
The Offshore Energy Tour further confirmed that the administration’s decision to block and delay offshore drilling has amounted to nothing short of enormous energy tax on all Americans. The enormous increase in money we pay on gasoline does not support our local economy; instead, our money is delivered overseas in one of the greatest transfers of wealth in American history. If we support a common sense energy policy that utilizes all of our domestic resources, that money could be spent to put Americans back to work.
Hamstringing our domestic oil and gas production not only is bad policy, but high transportation costs brought on by a spike in gasoline costs threaten our economic recovery. High transportation costs hurt small businesses and force families to make tough decisions between providing food and consumer goods for their families or to purchase fuel. This is a point I overwhelming heard when I pumped gas for constituents on Wednesday.
But, all of this can be prevented by promoting an “all of the above energy policy” that taps our American domestic oil and gas production capabilities. However, one man’s regulatory assault on oil and gas production, including the de facto offshore oil drilling moratorium, has stood in the way of this possibility. That man is the president and his policies are stifling new energy development throughout the country.
In 2008, President Bush lifted the moratorium on offshore drilling. Immediately, prices at the pump began to fall. If the current administration would lift the de facto ban on offshore drilling, Americans would be put back to work and another fuel price driven economic recession would be prevented.
It’s time for America to get serious about securing our energy future. House Republicans have taken the lead by passing legislation that will lower gasoline prices, create American jobs and strengthen our national security by decreasing our dependence on foreign energy while expediting timelines to take up and approve applications to drill in a responsible manner using American technology and workers.
Steven M. Palazzo
Member of Congress