Unleash the American Energy Renaissance Now


Date: June 10, 2015
Location: Washington, DC

For decades, entrepreneurs in Oklahoma and Texas have looked to the immense natural resources found beneath our states' soil, convinced that with a dream and a little hard work they could revolutionize an industry. These entrepreneurs have characterized the innovative spirit that has made the sister states places of promise for countless Americans.

We are proud to represent Oklahoma and Texas, respectively, and together we believe we can unleash the American energy renaissance that is already underway. To do so, we need to scale back the government, restore state and local control, and welcome technological advancement to tap into the resources beneath the soil.

The first step to promoting growth is reining in excessive federal regulations that are stifling jobs and economic growth. Previous posturing notwithstanding, just last week the Environmental Protection Agency released a historic, four-year-long study that concluded hydraulic fracturing has "not led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources." The EPA is by no stretch of the imagination a conservative institution; if anything, it has repeatedly attempted to hamper the energy industry through untenable environmental claims. Yet, even the EPA, after examining 950 papers and reports and other data points, could not find evidence that hydraulic fracturing harms water.

Yet even when science dispels myths, such as the claim that fracking harms water, the Obama administration demonizes the energy industry and has aggressively discouraged fossil fuel development and use, to the detriment of consumers and economic growth. This week, the president joined other international leaders and declared their intent to "decarbonize" the economy by the end of the century. In other words, the president is proposing to eliminate the energy resources that nearly every family uses to switch on a light or operate a microwave, regulations that would cost the average household hundreds of dollars each year. According to this president, traditional, affordable energy sources have no place in our cities or towns.

Instead of imposing crippling regulations, we must adopt a robust energy agenda that will help protect our national security and let the people do what they do best -- innovate, explore, and create good-paying jobs for millions of Americans. The American Energy Renaissance Act, which we have introduced in Congress, will enable people to do just that.

The American Energy Renaissance Act returns the power back to the states, giving them the authority to regulate hydraulic fracturing. If states choose not to permit fracking within their borders, they are free to make that choice. But states on the forefront of this revolution, such as ours, should not be hampered by a restrictive EPA. The act puts an end to the EPA's war on coal, streamlines the process for upgrading refineries, and enables companies to build infrastructure like the Keystone Pipeline. It encourages energy development by allowing offshore exploration, broadening development on federal lands, and expanding energy exports such as liquefied natural gas and crude oil exports.

We should not shy away from alternative energy sources if they are viable and affordable. In fact, Oklahoma generates about 15 percent of its electricity from wind power. But an all of the above energy strategy should truly mean all of the above, including traditional energy sources, without any dictates or interference from the federal government. Unfortunately, the track record and rhetoric of this administration does not elicit confidence that they will pursue this strategy in good faith.

The energy industry's future should not be dimmed by a burdensome and overbearing EPA. For the past six years, we have witnessed the results of such crushing regulations and rules, and if we keep going down this path, American jobs will continue to disappear while household costs rise.

Now is the time to welcome the same ingenuity that propelled the pioneers of America's energy industry to break through unimaginable boundaries and develop the natural resources we are blessed to possess. If we do, we will empower the private sector to create millions of good, high-paying jobs and give more Americans the opportunity to succeed.