- - Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Disco. The Partridge Family. The Pet Rock. Gas lines. All fleeting hallmarks of the 1970s, most of which are long past in the rearview mirror. But 40 years later, our nation’s energy policies are still rooted in the era of the Arab oil embargo and energy scarcity — ideas that keep prices artificially high for consumers.

The script has been flipped on our energy landscape, and it’s time for our energy laws to reflect our nation’s 21st century abundance. We are now the world’s leading energy producer, and our oil and natural gas output is expected to continue rising in the years ahead. We used to worry about OPEC, but now in an unthinkable turn of events, OPEC is starting to worry about us.

And while the administration continues to wage a relentless assault on American energy, the House Energy and Commerce Committee remains at the forefront to modernize our obsolete energy policies and fulfill our remarkable potential of lower energy prices for all Americans.

For over a year we have been busy working on thoughtful solutions that say yes to energy, bringing our energy policies into the 21st century — an initiative I like to call “the architecture of abundance.” We had numerous legislative hearings, sought feedback from government stakeholders — including Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz — as well as dozens of private-sector organizations. Our newfound status as an energy superpower could mean millions of new jobs, lower energy prices and stronger national security — but only if the right policies are in place.

Our ideas coalesced into H.R. 8, the North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act of 2015, which recently passed out of the committee and awaits consideration by the full House.



In an important first step, the bill updates America’s aging energy infrastructure, which has failed to keep pace with the rapid growth in the sector. This is especially true of natural gas. H.R. 8 promotes natural gas pipeline development in an effort to get this clean-burning fuel to consumers and businesses and to our allies around the globe. Our electricity landscape is also changing because of new technologies, market forces and onerous regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency. The bill takes an important step toward modernizing and protecting our electricity grid to protect against existing and emerging threats. Aging infrastructure and cyber-attacks are problems that can no longer be ignored.

Our energy revolution also presents us with a unique opportunity to influence geopolitical outcomes and help achieve our foreign policy goals. H.R. 8 enhances America’s energy diplomacy by strengthening communication and partnerships with our North American neighbors while improving our energy security here at home. The bill also expedites the approval process of liquefied natural gas exports, providing our allies around the globe with safe and reliable energy.

But one of the biggest threats to America’s energy boom is homegrown — also a relic of the 1970s — the ban on crude oil exports. Simply lifting the 40-year-old ban would create much-needed jobs, lower prices at the pump, boost our economy, and strengthen our geopolitical influence abroad. A win all around.

Just look at the numbers. A study done by IHS Energy found that lifting the ban could support an average of 394,000 American jobs over the 2016-30 period. These new jobs are a game-changer — the benefits would extend up and down the supply chain, across my home state of Michigan and all 50 states.

Another recent study by the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office suggests that lifting the ban would lower gasoline prices by as much as 13 cents per gallon. It’s basic economics — lifting the ban will encourage more energy production, more supply leads to lower prices, which leaves more money in your pocket.

Earlier this month the House also passed bipartisan legislation by more than 100 votes to lift the ban on crude oil exports in another effort to say yes to American energy.

Lifting the ban on crude oil exports also strengthens our hand in foreign diplomacy. By exporting some of our surplus crude oil, we can help our allies who are desperately seeking a safe and secure supply of energy. Much of the world, especially Israel and our allies in Europe, are beholden to the whims of OPEC and Russia for their energy. As a nation, we’ve expended significant resources to protect the free flow of energy around the world. We should practice what we preach and give our allies the option of buying American exports.

The Energy and Commerce Committee has led the way in defending the American people and working to enact solutions that capitalize on our energy abundance. We have a unique opportunity to update our policies to match our 21st century energy reality. Let’s put the outdated policies of gas lines in the rearview mirror for good and say yes to affordable energy and lower prices.

Fred Upton, a Michigan Republican, is chairman of House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Disco. The Partridge Family. The Pet Rock. Gas lines. All fleeting hallmarks of the 1970s, most of which are long past in the rearview mirror. But 40 years later, our nation’s energy policies are still rooted in the era of the Arab oil embargo and energy scarcity — ideas that keep prices artificially high for consumers.

The script has been flipped on our energy landscape, and it’s time for our energy laws to reflect our nation’s 21st century abundance. We are now the world’s leading energy producer, and our oil and natural gas output is expected to continue rising in the years ahead. We used to worry about OPEC, but now in an unthinkable turn of events, OPEC is starting to worry about us.

And while the administration continues to wage a relentless assault on American energy, the House Energy and Commerce Committee remains at the forefront to modernize our obsolete energy policies and fulfill our remarkable potential of lower energy prices for all Americans.

For over a year we have been busy working on thoughtful solutions that say yes to energy, bringing our energy policies into the 21st century — an initiative I like to call “the architecture of abundance.” We had numerous legislative hearings, sought feedback from government stakeholders — including Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz — as well as dozens of private-sector organizations. Our newfound status as an energy superpower could mean millions of new jobs, lower energy prices and stronger national security — but only if the right policies are in place.

Our ideas coalesced into H.R. 8, the North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act of 2015, which recently passed out of the committee and awaits consideration by the full House.

In an important first step, the bill updates America’s aging energy infrastructure, which has failed to keep pace with the rapid growth in the sector. This is especially true of natural gas. H.R. 8 promotes natural gas pipeline development in an effort to get this clean-burning fuel to consumers and businesses and to our allies around the globe. Our electricity landscape is also changing because of new technologies, market forces and onerous regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency. The bill takes an important step toward modernizing and protecting our electricity grid to protect against existing and emerging threats. Aging infrastructure and cyber-attacks are problems that can no longer be ignored.

Our energy revolution also presents us with a unique opportunity to influence geopolitical outcomes and help achieve our foreign policy goals. H.R. 8 enhances America’s energy diplomacy by strengthening communication and partnerships with our North American neighbors while improving our energy security here at home. The bill also expedites the approval process of liquefied natural gas exports, providing our allies around the globe with safe and reliable energy.

But one of the biggest threats to America’s energy boom is homegrown — also a relic of the 1970s — the ban on crude oil exports. Simply lifting the 40-year-old ban would create much-needed jobs, lower prices at the pump, boost our economy, and strengthen our geopolitical influence abroad. A win all around.

Just look at the numbers. A study done by IHS Energy found that lifting the ban could support an average of 394,000 American jobs over the 2016-30 period. These new jobs are a game-changer — the benefits would extend up and down the supply chain, across my home state of Michigan and all 50 states.

Another recent study by the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office suggests that lifting the ban would lower gasoline prices by as much as 13 cents per gallon. It’s basic economics — lifting the ban will encourage more energy production, more supply leads to lower prices, which leaves more money in your pocket.

Earlier this month the House also passed bipartisan legislation by more than 100 votes to lift the ban on crude oil exports in another effort to say yes to American energy.

Lifting the ban on crude oil exports also strengthens our hand in foreign diplomacy. By exporting some of our surplus crude oil, we can help our allies who are desperately seeking a safe and secure supply of energy. Much of the world, especially Israel and our allies in Europe, are beholden to the whims of OPEC and Russia for their energy. As a nation, we’ve expended significant resources to protect the free flow of energy around the world. We should practice what we preach and give our allies the option of buying American exports.

The Energy and Commerce Committee has led the way in defending the American people and working to enact solutions that capitalize on our energy abundance. We have a unique opportunity to update our policies to match our 21st century energy reality. Let’s put the outdated policies of gas lines in the rearview mirror for good and say yes to affordable energy and lower prices.

Fred Upton, a Michigan Republican, is chairman of House Energy and Commerce Committee.

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