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Chairman Fred Upton Outlines Next Steps on Gas Prices

Delivering the Weekly Republican Address, House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) outlines next steps in the House’s efforts to implement an ‘all-of-the-above’ energy strategy that would address high gas prices and help create jobs.   As part of the American Energy Initiative, the House has passed several ‘all-of-the-above’ energy bills, but they remain stalled in the Democratic-run Senate, and President Obama has made no attempt to press for Senate action.  Chairman Upton’s address continues a coordinated Republican offensive to hold the Obama Administration accountable for high gas prices and call for a real, ‘all-of-the-above’ energy strategy.

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Hey, I’m Fred Upton.  I proudly represent Southwest Michigan in the U.S. House of Representatives, where I serve as chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce.

Our committee oversees national energy policy, a topic on the minds of millions of Americans grappling with high gasoline prices.

Vice President Biden recently said that ‘our energy policy’s the best it’s ever been.’  But the facts say otherwise.  Last year we produced 100 million barrels less on federal lands than we did the year before.  The president rejected the Keystone XL pipeline, which would have decreased our dependence on oil from unstable regions of the world.  And heavy-handed federal agencies are adding new layers of regulations on the energy sector, pushing prices only higher.

In many ways this administration’s policies are moving us backwards, and making gas prices even worse.

For families and small businesses here in Michigan and around the country, higher energy prices have real consequences.  Everything from their daily commute to the grocery bill is getting more expensive.  And higher energy prices mean fewer jobs.

In a few days, our committee will consider two bills that are part of our American Energy Initiative, a bipartisan alternative to this administration’s failed energy policy.

In the House, Republicans have already passed a number of common-sense bills to address rising energy prices and create the jobs that we need.  So far, these bills are being blocked by the Democratic-controlled Senate, but we’re not going to stop until they start listening to the American people.

I recently toured a Michigan oil refinery where I heard firsthand how layers of red tape are making it harder and more expensive to refine and sell fuel here in America.

The first of our committee’s measures pushes the pause button on costly new regs affecting refineries until we study them all to determine how much they’re driving up the price at the pump.

Cutting through the red tape is part of the equation, but we have to address supply.  President Obama tapped into our emergency oil supply – known as the Strategic Petroleum Reserve – last year, and he’s thinking about doing it again.  But that is not a real solution to rising gas prices.   If we deplete our reserves, it indeed is a real threat to our energy security.

The second bill we’ll soon consider says that if the president releases oil from our emergency reserves, he must open up more federal land for energy development.

Energy could be a great American success story.  We are a land of abundant resources and unparalleled human creativity.  Technological breakthroughs are helping us unlock vast energy resources that were previously inaccessible – and we’re doing it in an environmentally safe way.

Today we’re knocking at the door of a brighter energy future; one that promises abundant, secure, and cheaper North American supplies, as long as Washington doesn’t create artificial obstacles.  That is what Republicans are working toward, and we invite the president to join us.  If he won't lead, we will.

Affordable energy is essential to job creation and economic recovery.  We need it to fuel our vehicles, power our homes, and rev up our economic engine.  The American Energy Initiative captures that spirit of optimism.  It’s a better solution to power our future.

Thanks for listening, and have a great weekend.