Friday, December 04, 2015
Billy Long: Energy sector stronger, more responsible than advertised
Early this month, President Obama joined other world leaders for an environmental conference in Paris, where they engaged in energy policy talks aimed at lowering global greenhouse gas emissions. I hope that the other leaders in attendance get the full picture of America’s energy sector successes, including our already existing environmental successes and the steps we in Congress are taking to further improve our energy economy.
The fact is that recent changes and revolutions in America’s oil and natural gas industries already have our greenhouse gasses on the decline. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), greenhouse gas emissions have dropped 9 percent between 2005 and 2013. That accounts for the largest reduction of any country. A recent study by the Manhattan Institute showed that increases in fracking clean natural gas is the greatest contributor to these declining emission levels.
So, it would be worth President Obama noting at the conference that rules and increased regulations aren’t necessarily the best path forward. Clearly, the private sector has provided a viable option as well. The bonus of the fracking, however, is that it protects jobs and keeps costs from rising at the same time that it’s helping to lower greenhouse gas emissions.
Recently in the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, we have been analyzing final rulings that were a part of the new EPA “Clean Power Plan.” These EPA rules go far beyond the regulatory authority allowed to them in the Clean Air Act, and would fundamentally change the way America generates, distributes, and uses electric power. Furthermore, the unconstitutional overstepping nature of these rules, costs, and literal unworkability of these rules would only further block us from any real environmental progress. The first week of December, I voted in favor of two resolutions to combat these rules for American ratepayers.
Additionally, I voted for the North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act, which is a broad new energy package that seeks to maximize our energy potential by modernizing outdated policies that don’t embrace America’s current energy abundance. Through newly discovered resources and innovations – like fracking – we are currently the world’s leading energy producer. However, our pipelines and electric grid haven’t kept pace with our policies. The private sector constantly evolves and investors are ready to invest more in our energy grid. This bill makes sure that the government isn’t holding us back.
The benefits of new cleaner resources and the steps Congress is taking to improve American energy for future generations are subjects that simply should not be ignored during the current discussions in Paris. Despite what some may say about our energy sector, we are actually making strides – regardless of any regulations – toward cleaner production processes and Congress is rising to face the challenges that our thriving energy industry faces.