It’s only day two of March Madness, but the president has already racked up a few fouls when it comes to energy policy this month.
1. Offshore double-cross: This week, the Obama administration announced it is withdrawing its proposed oil and natural gas lease sales off the southeast Atlantic coast, which the administration had promised the states in a draft plan last year. As Speaker Ryan stated, “President Obama is so intent on solidifying his radical climate legacy that he has backed out of his commitment to a large, bipartisan coalition of state leaders. These states simply want to explore their own energy potential, but the president’s reversal has disenfranchised them of this chance.”
2. More methane regulations: Last week, President Obama announced that its EPA will begin developing regulations from existing sources of methane emissions from oil and gas sources. Note that these are different from the regulations that the EPA has already levied on new sources of methane emission from oil and gas development. At a time when America’s oil and natural gas industry is struggling, it’s revealing that the president would choose to side with OPEC to batter this American industry when it’s down.
3. Keystone, where art thou? At the meeting with new Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, President Obama announced a series of other energy issues that the U.S. and Canadian governments will be collaborating together on. What was noticeably absent from the list? The Keystone XL pipeline, which would have created good-paying jobs and boosted trade between the two countries. Congress passed legislation on a major bipartisan basis to build the job-creating Keystone XL pipeline last January, which the president vetoed in November.
4. Cutting off the Arctic: A new policy that was announced last week is the new U.S.—Canada partnership to “protect more Arctic marine areas and to establishing a new conservation target for the Arctic based on the best available climate science.” While conservation of the Arctic is something everyone supports, the reality is that for this administration, conservation has become synonymous to cutting off economic development and even recreational access. The state of Alaska has suffered greatly at the hands of this administration. As Charlotte Bower, mayor of the North Slope explained, "While the latest U.S.-Canada joint statement touts support of strong Arctic communities, the policies outlined will only exacerbate the problems these communities face by adding yet another barrier to economic and community development in the Arctic.”
Just one more this month and the president will have fouled out. We’re not holding our breath, but we’re not standing by the sidelines either. Why? Because it’s the American people—particularly the poor—who lose when the president screws up our nation’s energy policy and the cost of energy soars.
As this president tries to make development more difficult and energy more expensive, House Republicans have a different vision. Promoting American energy is key to our Confident America agenda project. As the agenda’s Task Force on Reducing Regulatory Burdens mission statement outlines, House Republicans want to “make it easier to invest, produce and build in America with a modern and transparent regulatory system that relieves the burden on small businesses and other job creators and encourages financial independence, while balancing environmental stewardship, public safety, and consumer interests.”
We will be taking this pro-growth agenda to the American people so we can implement these policies with a Republican president in 2017. In the meantime, Congress will continue to work double-time to protect Americans against this administration’s energy fouls. Just this week, the House passed the Satisfying Energy Needs and Saving the Environment (SENSE) Act, which demonstrates that energy innovation and environmental protection can, and do, go hand in hand.