WASHINGTON – Energy production has been an essential part of the Texas economy for over a century. From the days when a simple hole was drilled in the ground to today's advanced technologies, energy extraction and production has created jobs, driven economic growth, and supported communities all throughout Texas. The 23rd District of Texas, which includes portions of the Permian Basin and the Eagle Ford Shale, is blessed to be at the forefront of today's energy economy. But these production areas don't just support those who work in the oil fields - they also bring tremendous positive effects for local communities. Each new energy project helps support local businesses such as hotels or restaurants, and it also provides a source of tax revenue for local governments to fund schools and other vital programs.
With 23 million Americans still unemployed or underemployed, using the resources we have here at home can help get our economy back on track, create jobs for American workers, and help local governments meet the needs of their constituents. Unfortunately, a majority of the problems we see in the energy industry today stem from the federal government. Time and time again, federal agencies have created needless roadblocks on our path to energy independence and greater domestic energy production. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce recently identified over 350 energy projects that had been stalled by a combination of regulatory red tape and opposition from environmental extremists seeking to put an end to these projects. What's unfortunate is that if these projects were fully implemented, it's estimated they would provide $1.1 trillion of economic output and create nearly 2 million jobs.
The federal government must recognize that America's resource of energy is
one of our nation's greatest assets. Instead of picking winners and losers in the energy industry and creating new ways to heap red tape on the economy, the federal government should embrace the fact that America is sitting on a mountain of resources that can not only help make us energy independent, but also create jobs and drive growth all throughout our economy.
We cannot forget or overlook the positive collateral benefits of producing American energy right here in our local cities and towns. There's an economic ripple effect on those that live and work in energy producing areas of the country, and government policies should not make it more difficult for America to produce energy. I'm a strong supporter of utilizing the resources we have right here at home, and my record during my two years in office shows it. I understand the positive impact energy production has on our local communities and I will continue supporting policies that create more opportunities for the 23rd District.
This column was written by U.S. Rep. Francisco Canseco.