The future of our nation’s energy supply has become a topic of great interest, both in Congress and throughout our country. A growing and thriving economy requires stable and affordable energy supplies, and, like many Idahoans, I am concerned about the energy future of the United States. As long as the United States is dependent on other nations for sources of energy, our energy supply will be directly impacted by conflicts in regions with high oil supply, foreign political environments that are unfriendly to the United States, and increased demand for oil on the world market. As a nation, we must continue looking for ways to reduce energy prices and improve our energy independence.
I believe a key part of the effort to free ourselves from our dangerous dependence on foreign oil should include the development of domestic sources of oil. For example, there are billions of barrels of oil near the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), in the Outer Continental Shelf, and on federal lands that hold oil and gas reserves. By refusing to develop these resources ourselves, not only do we threaten our own nation’s security by increasing our dependence on a volatile, foreign-based energy supply, but we push the responsibility of producing that oil to countries with far less stringent environmental regulations. New technologies will enable us to do oil and gas exploration and production in an environmentally sound manner and with proper consideration for the needs of fish and wildlife populations, leaving a very small footprint.
H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act also addressed America’s need for energy independence. Specifically, H.R. 1 opens the non-wilderness 1002 Area in ANWR to potential future energy development. Two lease sales will be held over the next decade and surface development will be limited to 2,000 federal acres – just one ten-thousandth of all of ANWR. The development will allow for responsible American energy production that raises tens of billions of dollars towards deficit reduction, creates thousands of jobs, and increases offshore revenue sharing for Gulf Coast states that allows for investments in coastal restoration and hurricane protection. This provision has broad support among Alaskans, including the entire Alaska Congressional Delegation.
Any effort to achieve energy independence must be comprehensive in nature, and I believe that developing domestic sources of oil and gas is an important part of a plan to address our country’s energy needs. I take our nation’s energy crisis seriously and, as Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Water Appropriations and the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus, I will continue to support meaningful and effective energy legislation.