This week, the importance of having an abundance of affordable, domestic natural gas was a key topic during the House Energy and Commerce’s GOP roundtable on how to combat rising energy costs, while helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Jeff Eshelman, Independent Petroleum Association of America President and CEO; David Hickman, Co-Owner and Operator of Dublin Farms; Donna Jackson, Project 21 Director of Membership Development; and Dan Alsaker, President of Alsaker Corporation convened to provide insight on pressing questions regarding U.S. energy policy.
At the beginning of the roundtable, Jeff Eshelman underscored the importance of the 6,000 independent producers that provide essential services, including exploring for and developing 91 percent of U.S. natural gas and oil wells, which overall, account for 54 percent and 85 percent of the domestic supplies of oil and natural gas, respectively. These producers are essential to the American energy industry and re-invest billions of dollars to maintain and develop domestic production.
“Through their efforts, today, America is a world leader in natural gas and oil production. And we are doing it responsibly. Now, thanks to the use of affordable, reliable natural gas, America has its cleanest air in more than two decades, while natural gas and oil production is at record levels. We are the envy of nations – we lead the world in reducing emissions.” (emphasis added)
Notably, Rep. John Curtis (R-UT-3) stressed the difference between reducing carbon emissions and villainizing fossil fuel production and use. Rep. Curtis and Eshelman emphasized that research shows the closure of the Keystone XL Pipeline by the Biden administration resulted in an increase of greenhouse gas emissions. Eshelman cited the United States’ prominence in reducing greenhouse gas emissions on the global stage, as the United States is currently the only nation to reach their Paris Climate Agreement targets, noting:
“Any nation in the world would love our resources—we are the only who probably doesn’t seem to love our resources. But, again, natural gas use is giving us our cleanest air, it’s domestic, it creates jobs, as well as oil.”
Some of the very same keys to a cleaner planet also are the same keys to energy independence, a strong economy, and low energy prices. Thank you @cathymcmorris for convening this roundtable and to our guests for highlighting the impacts of unaffordable energy costs. pic.twitter.com/vSmZbxRFi9
— Rep. John Curtis (@RepJohnCurtis) January 10, 2023
David Hickman focused on the connection between rising energy prices and rising food costs. Every industry is deeply intertwined and dependent upon the energy industry; therefore, policies that discourage domestic production and increase energy input costs trickle down to other industries.
For example, Hickman noted that both rising gasoline and diesel prices, as well as increasing natural gas costs due to the global energy shortage and misguided policies threatening domestic production have impacted fertilizer prices. This has increased risks and decreased profitability for much of the agriculture industry. Natural gas is used in most nitrogen and ammonium products—resulting in our food security being directly tied to domestic natural gas production.
Throughout the roundtable, several Republican lawmakers emphasized the importance of American oil and natural gas on economic and national security. In response to Rep. Michael Burgess’s (R-TX-26) question surrounding the disproportionate impacts of a carbon tax on vulnerable communities, Donna Jackson noted the U.S. government cannot expect low-income families and communities to absorb these additional costs and highlighted the energy industry’s impact on good-paying American jobs:
“What [the U.S. Government] is doing now through the war on energy, is getting rid of those industrial type jobs that built the middle class.”
Reps. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL-12) and Larry Bucshon (R-IN-8) sought clarification on the Biden administration’s pipeline infrastructure and federal land permitting regulations. Eshelman explained the administration has focused on implementing numerous roadblocks that slow down, and often, stop development on federal and public lands. Energy in Depth has repeatedly highlighted these policies, including the cancelation of pipelines, the obstruction of federal leasing, and the misinformation regarding American oil and gas production.
Additionally, Eshelman warned that the U.S. Consumer and Product Safety Commission’s recent considerations on banning gas stoves is a gross overstep of government power, explaining that the administration is “determining what kind of fuel you can use in your house, what kind of stove you can cook with, what kind of cars you can drive. This is a personal intrusion that is happening across America.”
Lastly, Rep. John Joyce (R-PA-13) asked Eshelman about the impact of current policies on the natural gas industry. Eshelman emphasized that natural gas provides essential funding through taxes, royalties, rents, and bonuses to the U.S. Treasury that benefits all Americans, noting that natural gas production is extremely important to the U.S. economy and military, as well as national and global security.
Rep. Joyce concluded:
“American energy production is safe, clean, and the most efficient in the world, and at every turn, the Biden Administration is putting up roadblocks for domestic energy production. Our successful future for energy independence is based on clean natural gas.” (emphasis added)
Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee agreed that energy policy, specifically related to the oil and gas industry, will be a top priority for the House majority for the next two years.
Bottom-line: Boosting domestic oil and natural gas production is essential to America’s economic and national security. The American energy industry impacts virtually every other industry and sector—making effective and efficient domestic oil and natural gas policy vital.
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