Even as gas prices decline, we must not relent in our pursuit of free market energy solutions. Gas prices will continue to spike every few months as long as we refuse to increase supply to meet our energy needs. Moreover, $3.40 per gallon of gasoline – or even $3 per gallon – is too much. We must not let Obama off the hook for continuing to lock up over 90% of our energy resources.
It has become universal for politicians to express their support for an “all of the above energy policy.” Well, conservative Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) has proposed the most comprehensive free-market energy bill that takes a true all of the above approach. The Energy eXploration and Production to Achieve National Demand (EXPAND) Act (H.R. 4301) was introduced a few weeks ago and contains the following provisions:
- Opens all of the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) to drilling exploration and production, including the Gulf Coast, Alaska, Atlantic, and Pacific. Also approves new leasing areas such as the Southern Atlantic OCS and the Eastern Gulf.
- Opens the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) for exploration and production of oil and natural gas.
- Approves the permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline.
- Allows for more oil/natural gas exploration and production on federally owned or controlled land.
- Expedites the permitting process for any non-nuclear energy source on federal land. If no objections are made from the Secretary, permits will be automatically approved after 30 days.
- Opens Yucca Mountain to begin receiving nuclear waste.
- Reduces the fines for energy producers whose operations accidentally kill non-endangered migratory birds.
- Reduces duplication: Assigns the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) as the lead agency when two or more agencies both have jurisdiction over a permit.
- Eliminates the President’s Executive Order, 13547 which created the National Ocean Policy.
- Reduces regulatory burdens including:
- Greenhouse gas emissions regulations
- Boiler MACT
- Utility MACT
- EPA refinery rules
- Recognizes Native American sovereignty over tribal land, and eliminates Department of Interior interference from energy production within reservations.
- Sunsets tax credits for all energy production, while streamlining the tax code by allowing for the immediate deduction of expenditures for all energy producers.
- Most important, yet often forgotten element of free-market energy policy – ends ethanol mandates.
- What about green energy? It opens up all federal lands to solar and wind farm leases, but offers no subsidies.
This is what a true free-market energy bill looks like. Please ask your member of Congress to cosponsor this meritorious piece of legislation – H.R. 4301.