Restoring American energy independence

By Rep. Kevin Hern and Rep. August Pfluger for The Hill

As Americans “spring forward” having spent more of their winter paychecks to heat their homes and fill their tanks, they are rightly wondering when relief will come.  

Last summer, the average price of a gallon of gas exceeded $5. Americans of every walk of life need assurance that reliable and affordable energy will be readily available to them in the future. Without that assurance, New Englanders will continue to hope for warm weather to alleviate a natural gas crunch, while Californians will continue to fear rolling blackouts as the state’s renewable mandates fail to meet grid demand.   

Rather than provide that relief, President Biden and Democrats in Congress have ignored this daily hardship in pursuit of their radical climate agenda.  

The Republican Study Committee (RSC) is dedicated to reversing Democrats’ anti-energy actions and restoring America’s energy security. That is why we are excited that the House Energy Action Team (HEAT), run for years by former RSC Chairman and now-Majority Leader Steve Scalise (La.), will be operated by the RSC. The integration of HEAT, known across the nation as a leader in the energy policy arena, into RSC, the intellectual arsenal of the House, is win for the American public.  

HEAT is committed to restoring and exceeding the energy independence that resulted from the shale revolution. In 2019, the United States became a net exporter of oil and gas for the first time since 1952. The economy thrived as the U.S. reduced its reliance on foreign energy. The Biden administration wasted no time destroying that progress. Following through on his campaign promise to “end fossil fuel”, Biden canceled the Keystone XL pipeline (that should be delivering 830,000 barrels of oil per day to the U.S.) and unilaterally blocked oil and gas lease sales in his first week in office. This war on traditional energy was just the tip of the iceberg, as Biden has worked to impose similar draconian policies into Americans’ kitchens and retirement savings

The energy crisis unfolding in Europe demonstrates that energy security is also a matter of national security. Europe’s dependence on Russian oil and gas has empowered Vladimir Putin to hold neighboring countries hostage. The U.S. will suffer a similar fate if we fail to onshore our own energy supply. Instead of working to prevent this, Biden continues to rely on foreign nations like Venezuela and Saudi Arabia, begging them to produce more oil. 

In contrast to President Biden’s reliance on foreign nations, House Republicans are taking action to bring relief to consumers and return the U.S. to its role in global energy dominance. Just weeks after reclaiming the majority, we passed legislation to depoliticize the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and prohibit sales of SPR oil to the Chinese Communist Party.     

House Republicans’ Commitment to America promised to maximize domestic production, cut the lengthy federal permitting timeline in half, and tackle inflation. H.R. 1, the Lower Energy Costs Act, is a significant first step that HEAT will build upon, ensuring House Republicans deliver on their pro-energy policy promises.   

H.R. 1 will streamline the byzantine permitting process to unlock domestic production of all energy supplies, from natural gas to critical minerals to renewables. Under the bill, federal agencies must adhere to reasonable timelines for environmental reviews and coordinate with one another to maximize efficiency. The bill also strengthens our energy security by securing our supply chains, reducing our dependence on foreign adversaries for critical resources, and cutting red tape to facilitate production. It restores the intent of the laws that this administration has ignored by requiring agencies to carry out oil, gas, and geothermal lease sales with due consideration for the security benefits these sources provide.  

H.R. 1 will lower costs for families by rolling back the Inflation “Reduction” Act’s onerous taxes and fees on energy production, costs that will ultimately be borne by consumers. Even Biden’s Energy Department admits they threaten energy security.   

H.R. 1 is a good step but it cannot be the only action Congress takes on energy production. Moving forward, HEAT will seek to hold Biden accountable for his damaging, anti-energy policies. Similarly, HEAT will outline an America First energy platform that restores our energy independence and protects our national security. We will offer policy solutions that benefit all Americans, not just those who can afford electric vehicles and premium home appliances.   

America is blessed with vast natural resources that are essential to human prosperity. We are the world leader in reducing emissions, and the same should be true for energy production. Together, we can unleash our country’s limitless potential.   

Kevin Hern represents Oklahoma’s 1st District and is chairman of the Republican Study Committee. August Pfluger represents the 11th District of Texas and is chairman of the House Energy Action Team