Blaine’s Bulletin: The Lower Energy Costs Act
Washington, March 31, 2023
Over the last two years, you’ve heard me talk about skyrocketing energy prices. One of this administration’s first actions was to halt all domestic drilling, putting critical energy sources like the Keystone XL Pipeline out of business. And the American people have unfortunately been paying the price ever since. This week, House Republicans made good on our promise to help make energy affordable again. We passed the H.R. 1, the Lower Energy Costs Act to reform the permitting process across the energy industry, cut down on bureaucratic red tape, boost production and processing of critical minerals, and ultimately drive down costs for all Americans.
Since this administration took over, American families have been paying the highest energy costs in 15 years with the average gas price hitting a historic high of $5/gallon. The Lower Energy Costs Act is designated H.R. 1 to indicate this is one of the very top priorities for the House Republican conference now that we have the majority and the ability to pass our own legislation. Energy prices touch every household in America in one way or another. Everything from electricity, heating and cooling your home, cooking your family dinner, to getting the kids to school requires energy. It’s critical that Congress does its job and finds a way to bring these costs down so families in our country can afford to fulfill these very basic needs without worry. The passage of the Lower Energy Costs Act has gotten that ball rolling.
The first and most important thing this bill will accomplish is turning our nation’s energy spigot back on. It requires the Department of the Interior to resume lease sales on federal lands and waters, and it prohibits this administration from banning hydraulic fracturing, which is the best method for accessing U.S. oil reserves. It was a only a few years ago that the United States produced more oil than we could consume, but President Biden made a promise on the campaign trail to end our energy independence which he unfortunately accomplished. You may remember last year when the President turned to Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, and - prior to its attack on Ukraine - Russia for oil. We are literally paying some of the worst people on earth for a resource we have in abundance right here in the U.S. If this bill were to become law, that would be over.
There are a number of other things the Lower Energy Costs Act would do like repeal President Biden’s $6 billion natural gas tax, which would immediately lower home energy costs, and reforming a broken permitting process for American energy producers. But another one that is very noteworthy is boosting the production and processing of critical minerals. We are used to hearing a lot about oil because our country requires a lot of it. But we’re also reliant on a less often talked about resource: critical minerals. These are essential for things like medical supplies, military weapons and defense systems, cell phones, and even wind turbines. Many of those minerals could be sourced in America. Instead, the United States is now reliant on none other than Communist China for over 50% of our supply of 25 of these critical minerals. Just like energy production, radical environmental policies and the administration’s liberal base make it nearly impossible to access our mineral deposits. I’m not making this up – they shut down a lithium mining operation because it was located near endangered buckwheat. That’s right, the White House made a conscious effort to prioritize a wild plant over the United States’ ability to access a mineral that’s used in almost every weapons system we have.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, we should not be in business with the corrupt leaders of the Chinese Communist Party or dependent on them for anything, but our own foolish policies make it much more difficult than it should be. The Lower Energy Costs Act would help end our reliance on China by cutting red tape to boost American production of these critical minerals.
I was proud to vote for this bill on the House floor and make good on House Republicans’ promise to begin the end of the administration’s war on energy. American families deserve the national security and affordability that comes from energy independence, and passing this bill was the first step.