For too long, America has failed to take advantage of the energy resources we have within our borders and we are losing tremendous opportunities for job creation and economic growth. This failure is causing American families to pay more at the pump, straining the budgets of businesses, and continuing our reliance on foreign sources of energy.
The 23rd District of Texas is blessed to include portions of both the Permian Basin and the Eagle Ford Shale, two of the most prolific oil and gas production areas in the country. When I travel around the district, I hear from constituents that live in these areas about the jobs and economic success expanded energy production has brought to their communities. In fact, according to a study done by the Center for Community and Business Research at the University of Texas at San Antonio Institute for Economic Development, the Eagle Ford Shale generated more than $25 billion in revenue for South Texas in 2011. This type of economic activity is crucial for our country, particularly at a time when far too many Americans who want a job can’t find one because of the failed economic policies of President Obama. The jobs created as a result of expanded energy production here at home are good-paying American jobs, producing American energy and generating revenue for American families and communities. We need more of this, not less.
Unfortunately, environmental extremists don’t see it this way. Working with their allies in the Obama Administration, these extremists have been working to prevent us from taking advantage of all the oil and gas resources that can make us more energy independent and create American jobs. For example, it’s become harder to obtain permits to produce energy from federal lands. According to data from the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management, it took 154 days, on average, to receive a permit to drill on federal land in 2005. In 2011, the average number of days to receive a federal permit jumped to 307 days. Overall, the Obama Administration has issued 40% fewer permits and taken twice the time to do it.
Not only have the environmental extremists and their Obama Administration allies made it harder to produce more energy here in America, they’re working to ensure we can’t obtain much-needed oil from a reliable ally, Canada, by working to kill the Keystone XL Pipeline. The Keystone XL Pipeline would bring crude oil from Canada to U.S. markets and help lower energy prices, and along the way create an estimated 20,000 American jobs. Even though the Keystone XL Pipeline spent three years going through the normal environmental review process, and ultimately received a favorable Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), the Obama Administration still said no to its construction.
I fundamentally disagree with the approach taken by the Obama Administration and their environmentalist allies that are attempting to limit oil and gas production here in America. While it is important to protect our environment, we must not let needless regulations inhibit the economic prosperity of American families.
Our country must encourage and promote energy solutions from within our borders and enact policies that promote energy production, rather than hinder it. That is why I am working to put policies in place that will increase the production of American energy and let us take advantage of our own energy resources. High energy costs are a roadblock to economic recovery and job creation that will not be cleared until the federal government gets out of the way and allows America to increase energy production right here at home.
This column was written by U.S. Rep. Francisco Canseco.