Energy & Commerce Committee Examines New American Energy Initiative Legislation to Help Address Sky High Gas Prices |

Today, the House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Energy & Power began moving two more bills – the Gasoline Regulations Act and the Strategic Energy Production Act - through the House as part of the American Energy Initiative and Republican Plan for America’s Job Creators.  Here’s some more information on what these proposals will do, and why experts at today’s hearing say they are critical for addressing high gas prices and protecting American jobs.   

American energy producers are facing an onslaught of excessive government regulations that are being handed down by the Obama administration without regard to the cumulative impact they will have on rising gas prices and other energy costs.  The Gasoline Regulations Act will change that by requiring, for the first time, an analysis of the cumulative impact of current and proposed government regulations that threaten to drive up gas prices, and will put a stop to three of the most costly Obama administration energy regulations coming down the pike. 

  • Matthew L. Smorch, Vice President of Strategy for CountryMark Cooperative, LLC, a small business refinery, said “the timing of current and proposed regulations overlap each other, resulting in cumulative increases in cost when viewed in total.”  Smorch explained that “if these costs cannot be absorbed or passed on to the consumer, refiners will shut down,” resulting in “higher gasoline costs for the consumer,” and fewer jobs.  Robert Meyers, Senior Counsel at Crowell & Moring, said the Gasoline Regulations Act “would provide valuable information concerning the real-world cumulative impact of regulations affecting a vital sector of our nation’s economy: the production of gasoline and diesel.”

Several Democrats have recently called on President Obama to once again tap the Strategic Petroleum Reserve – a move the president made last year to “paper over” his “none-of-the-above” energy policy - with no lasting effect on gas prices.  The Strategic Energy Production Act would ensure the Obama administration does not tap the Strategic Petroleum Reserve without a plan to unlock more American energy production.

  • James Burkhard, Managing Director of the Global Oil Group at IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates, noted that “if the SPR is used to influence the price of gasoline, it is a blunt instrument with limited prospects for a lasting impact.”  Jack Coleman, Managing Partner and General Counsel of EnergyNorthAmerica, LLC and an energy expert with 30 years of experience, cited a report by the non-partisan Congressional Research Service that found that “the United States has the largest endowment of recoverable hydrocarbon resources in the world.” But “with current national policies,” Coleman said “a large portion if not a majority of those resources will never be produced.”  If the Obama administration rolls back barriers to American energy production, “much more wealth will rebound to our citizens through high paying jobs, economic development, state and local taxes, and the economic benefits of the turnover of trillions of dollars that would have been sent to foreign countries,” according Coleman.
A newly-released Reuters/Ipsos survey found that more than two-thirds of Americans disapprove of the way the Obama administration is handling high gas prices, and why shouldn’t they?  Gas prices are already up to nearly $4, putting the economy at risk and making it harder for small businesses to keep their doors open.  House Republicans have advanced nearly 30 jobs and energy bills to address rising gas prices and create a better environment for private-sector growth, but they have stalled in the Democratic-controlled Senate.  President Obama should show the American people that he’s willing to stand behind his “all-of-the-above” rhetoric by calling on Senate Democrats to pass these bills immediately. Learn more by “liking” the American Energy Initiative on Facebook.