Independence, American jobs & national security

Published 8:58 am Monday, March 12, 2018

Americans are some of the smartest shoppers in the world. We will drive across five lanes of traffic just to save two cents a gallon on gas. I always say that the economic issue that affects people in the First District most is the price of a gallon of gas. The price of gas affects so many things in our everyday life, including food and transportation. More broadly, the cost of energy — whether that’s gas prices, electricity or other utilities — has a huge impact on Tennessee families, which is why I strongly believe we should take advantage of the resources in each region of the United States to pursue an all-of-the-above energy policy. In addition to lowering the cost of energy for families, an all-of-the-above energy portfolio would put the United States on a path to energy independence, help create jobs and grow our economy.
That’s why, this week, the House is considering legislation that would undo previous regulatory overreach that has hurt several industries. The Brick MACT rule, put forward by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), puts hundreds of thousands of jobs at risk and is especially problematic for General Shale, whose corporate headquarters is located in Johnson City. The Obama administration decided to move forward with the Brick MACT rule, even though a previous less burdensome rule was vacated by federal courts. This is outrageous, which is why in 2013 I wrote then-EPA administrator Gina McCarthy to raise concerns about this rule. Still, EPA moved forward to the detriment of many local jobs. H.R. 1917, the Blocking Regulatory Interference from Closing Kilns (BRICK) Act of 2017, would give manufacturers more time to comply with the rule while the rule is reviewed by the courts.
The second bill being considered this week, H.R. 1119, the Satisfying Energy Needs and Saving the Environment (SENSE) Act, would allow certain power plants utilizing low quality coal refuse to continue generating affordable energy by providing relief from another overreach by the EPA that is estimated to cost more than $9 billion. While we can all agree we should be good stewards of the environment, this regulation was a perfect example of overzealous Washington bureaucrats creating unnecessary red-tape and costly regulations for job creators.
American energy production isn’t just a cost issue; it also directly affects our national security. For far too long we’ve relied on foreign oil to meet our energy needs, and I’ve seen first-hand how oil can be used as a weapon. For instance, in 1973, there was an oil embargo. During that time, we saw the cost of gas skyrocket because of the embargo and slowed U.S. production in the early 1970s. Further, while I was overseas during the Vietnam War, we were rationed to just three hours of heat per day in order to keep enough fuel for our tanks, ships, helicopters and other vehicles. We must ensure we are fully utilizing our resources so we aren’t putting the men and women who serve at risk or relying on unstable countries to meet our energy needs.
The bottom line is we need to maintain an all-of-the-above energy policy in order to continue to develop renewable energy sources like wind, solar, hydro and geothermal while utilizing the fossil fuels we have right here at home. Energy independence will help create American jobs, lower costs for American families and help protect our interests at home and abroad. Rest assured I will continue to support commonsense legislation that paves the way for American energy production.
Please feel free to contact my office if we can be of assistance to you or your family.

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