By Stan Welch
Congressman Jeff Duncan presented his views on the nation’s energy policy and its regulatory structure to a group of small businessmen and advocates Monday.
Congressman Duncan has recently introduced H.R. 4301, the Energy eXploration and Production to Achieve National Demand (EXPAND) Act. This bill allows more offshore drilling for oil and natural gas in the OCS, opens up 3% of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) for production, approves the Keystone XL pipeline, opens Yucca Mountain for receiving nuclear waste, sunsets energy production tax credits, and eliminates ethanol mandates.
This bill also expedites the permitting process for wind, solar, geothermal and other renewable sources to lease and produce on public lands. As Duncan puts it, it is a free market, all of the above approach to energy. “We need a moon shot effort to achieve energy independence, a national effort to achieve that goal by 2015 or 2020.”
“President Obama actually boasts that oil production is up since he took office,” said Duncan, “What he doesn’t explain is that production is up on state and private lands, but down on federal lands. When he was sworn in in January of 2009, the average price of gas was $1.89 a gallon. It has more than doubled since he took office. My average constituent is spending an additional $200 a month on fuel costs today. That hurts.”
He also cited fifteen different energy bills that the House of Representatives has passed. “They are languishing in the Senate because the Democrats won’t even take them up. They would rather fund companies like Solyndra, which got over a half billion dollars in federal loans and then went belly up.”
Duncan referred to energy production in North Dakota, where fracking and natural gas production, as well as oil shale production, have created thousands of jobs in recent months. “Unemployment in North Dakota is three per cent. Three per cent. The energy industry in this country should be the model for job production.”
Duncan continued, “I like green energy – it has a place in the overall picture. But it will not be viable in the immediate future. I like the idea of wind energy but they storage technology is not there yet. I don’t want to turn on the light switch and then remember it’s a calm day so my lights won’t work.”
Duncan also commiserated with the businessmen who cited an ever increasing level of federal regulation and the attendant costs. “We have created a separate regulatory police force in this country, and business is suffering.