May 31 2013
By Rep. Kristi Noem
The price of a gallon of gas near my home in rural Hamlin County is well over $4.00. In a state like South Dakota, where families often drive long distances to ball games or into town for church or groceries, rising gas prices can have a significant impact on a family’s or business’s bottom line.
Our country needs a plan for energy independence that not only works to lower energy costs, but boosts our domestic economy and creates jobs here at home. I continue to support and advocate for an all-of-the-above American energy policy. Through encouraging innovation and continuing to support renewable fuels, like ethanol and other biofuels, we can take steps towards a more secure, stable and reliable energy supply.
In the House of Representatives, we are looking at legislative options to help families and businesses combat the pain at the pump. Recently, the House passed H.R. 3, the Northern Route Approval Act, with bipartisan support. This bill removes the need for a presidential permit and immediately authorizes the construction of the northern route of the Keystone XL pipeline. Although this is only one small piece of the puzzle, increasing North American energy production and sustaining our domestic refining industry are essential for energy independence.
There are numerous reasons why gas prices fluctuate, but bad, ineffective or a lack of federal policies shouldn’t be one of them. I’m hopeful that Congress will continue to consider legislation that will work to open up more federal land for energy development, which will increase our domestic energy supply and reduce our dependence on unstable sources of oil.
Our country is full of untapped resources – including natural gas. The Potential Gas Committee recently released the results of its latest assessment of our nation’s natural gas reserves. Because of innovative new technologies, this year’s assessment has risen 22.1 percent since 2010, the highest evaluation in the 48-year history of the committee. In the Williston Basin in North Dakota, oil estimates have doubled and natural gas resources have tripled. However, in order to take full advantage of this natural resource, we need to ensure that policies are in place which will eliminate burdensome regulations and unnecessary red tape.
The House Energy & Commerce Committee is currently considering the Energy Consumers Relief Act, which would require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to submit a report to Congress detailing costs, energy price, and job impacts before finalizing any energy-related regulation that costs more than $1 billion. While this bill is still in committee, it would provide for greater transparency at the EPA and protect consumers from higher energy costs.
All options should be on the table to ensure that American families are not forced to put even more of their hard-earned dollars toward filling their tanks. I hope you’ll share your thoughts with me about how we can lower energy costs by contacting one of my offices. Contact information is listed below.