Our national energy policy must keep up with the demands of our evolving economy. As instability continues to roil several major energy producing nations, it is imperative that we draw our energy supply from a wide variety of available domestic sources to put our country on a path to energy independence. The Rand Corporation said in a recent report stated, “A major national security concern for US policymakers is the potential for an abrupt reduction in the supply of oil and a corresponding large increase in the price to result in a sharp fall in economic output. Such a decline would undermine US national security, for example, by weakening US global economic and political influence and the ability of the United States to pay for US military forces.”
We can and we must make energy independence a top priority in Congress.
Responsibly and Efficiently Expanding Production
I am working with my colleagues to remove existing barriers to domestic energy production. I have voted multiple times to expand exploration of oil and natural gas, particularly in areas known to have ample resources. I also support efforts to streamline federal permitting processes. With energy prices on the rise, we must remove obstacles in the way of increasing our available supply and driving down costs for consumers.
American energy production can and should take many forms, and I am a firm believer in an ‘all of the above’ strategy. Exploration of clean coal technology, nuclear energy, renewable sources, and domestic oil and natural gas reserves will reduce the strain on any one source and help us to maintain a balanced energy policy.
Energy efficiency is also an important part of the equation. My former roofing company was an innovator and a leader in this regard, using less energy and in turn lowering the demands on our resources. Given my own experience, I continue to advocate for policies that allow for reduced, responsible energy usage and am a proud cosponsor of HR 4017 that would help jumpstart this type of activity in federal buildings.
Leveling the Playing Field…Closing Loopholes and Ending Subsidies
While we have ample opportunities to reduce our dependence on foreign energy sources, we can do so without putting a substantial burden on the American taxpayer. Our federal budget deficit continues to rise, and yet our current energy policy subsidizes multiple forms of energy, including oil and gas and also renewable, at significant cost to taxpayers. For instance, ethanol production is required as part of our country’s renewable fuels production mandate, but it is also subsidized through a tax credit and an import tariff. Similarly, oil and gas producers receive multiple benefits through the federal tax code despite the fact that these industries have been in place for nearly a century.
To meet the dual goals of putting our fiscal house in order and developing a sound national energy policy, I believe that we must move toward phasing out these energy subsidies. I am pleased to cosponsor the Energy Freedom and Economic Prosperity Act (H.R. 3308) which would remove government subsidies and make energy industries, such as oil, natural gas and ethanol hold their own in the marketplace, while also relieving taxpayers from billions of dollars in added energy costs.
Reducing Regulatory Impediments
To help keep energy costs low, it is essential that we remove the multiple regulatory obstacles to affordable energy production. The Environmental Protection Agency intends to regulate carbon emissions under the Clean Air Act, exceeding the mandate of the law in a manner that would raise energy costs for farmers, manufacturers, and consumers.
I voted earlier this year for the Energy Tax Prevention Act (H.R. 910), which would prevent the EPA from moving forward with these regulations. My own legislation, the Regulation Moratorium and Jobs Preservation Act (H.R. 2898), would also prevent the agency from promulgating these costly new proposals without proper Congressional consent.
Boiler MACT Rules
In particular, I am concerned with the EPA’s proposed Boiler Maximum Allowable Control Technology (MACT) rules concerning commercial and industrial boilers. If enacted, these regulations would impose significant capital and compliance costs on Wisconsin’s manufacturers, including our pulp and paper manufacturers as they work to meet stringent, nearly unattainable emissions standards.
Since coming to Washington, I have led my Wisconsin colleagues in communicating directly with the EPA regarding the harmful implications of these rules for Wisconsin businesses and consumers. Last fall, I was pleased to join a bipartisan House majority in passing the EPA Regulatory Relief Act (H.R. 2250) to put a 15-month stay on the rules to allow for further input and consideration. I am continuing to push for enactment of this measure into law.