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Blaine’s Bulletin by U.S. Representative Blaine Luetkemeyer

Posted on Tuesday, December 10, 2013 at 9:14 am

U.S. Representative Blaine Luetkemeyer

U.S. Representative Blaine Luetkemeyer

There I was coming off the ladder after spending a few hours putting up the Christmas lights at home in St. Elizabeth when I took a moment to consider all the extra energy demands of the holiday season. Along with all the lights and displays that stretch our power grid, Americans across the country make thousands of extra trips this time of year, especially to visit relatives that may not be close by.

But Americans are getting an early gift this year, with gas prices in Missouri are hovering at or slightly above $3 which is below the national average and news coming out of the International Energy Agency (IEA) about the future of American oil production. In fact, according to press reports, the IEA reported earlier in November that our country will surpass Russia and Saudi Arabia as the world’s top oil producer by 2015, and will be close to energy self-sufficiency in the next two decades, amid booming output from shale formations. The U.S. will overtake Russia, currently the biggest oil producer, in 2015 as it taps rock and shale layers in North Dakota and Texas with the use of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing.

This is good news because as American production goes up, so does our country’s economic fortunes including job creation and a variety of industries. One only has to look at the prosperity of a state like North Dakota to understand the significant impacts of energy production on local economies and beyond. This domestic energy production also insulates our nation somewhat from being at the mercy of those countries in the Middle East that don’t like us all that much but still sell us oil to help finance their own corrupt and anti-American regimes.

As a supporter of an all-of-the-above energy policy, I believe that we must continue to build on these successes, despite the best attempts of the current administration to get in the way with burdensome regulations and waffling on important policy decisions. For example, why we are still waiting on a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline is beyond me. I also continue to be involved in fighting the Environmental Protection Agency overreach when it comes to burdensome regulations that ultimately will drive up the cost of electricity. At the end of the day, the war on coal being waged by the federal government continues on a daily basis and we must fight that battle.

Despite these government shortcomings, the House of Representatives passed, with my support, legislation to keep the energy production momentum going. First, we passed the Federal Lands Jobs and Energy Security Act that streamlines the permitting process for onshore oil and gas exploration on federal lands, allowing for more certainty around oil and gas leases and reforms the judicial review process surrounding oil and gas exploration. We also passed the Protecting States’ Rights to Promote American Energy Security Act that will allow states to continue regulating hydraulic fracturing rather than the federal government.

And finally the House responded by passing the Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act that puts in place a timeframe for approval of new natural gas pipeline projects by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and other agencies. Moreover, if a federal agency fails to approve or deny a permit within the set timeframes provided in the bill, the permit is deemed to be approved. We are fortunate to live in a country where we have access to so many energy resources and those circumstances certainly allow us to do so many wonderful things, including celebrating the Christmas season. We must remain committed to becoming energy independent so that future generations will never fear being at the mercy of hostile countries for our energy supplies. We are on the right track and the future is, well, bright.

CONTACT US: I encourage you to call my offices in Jefferson City (573-635-7232) Washington, Mo. (636-239-2276), or Wentzville (636-327-7055) with your questions and concerns.