The United States is blessed with an abundance of natural resources and a thriving private sector that invests in our energy economy to foster innovation and create technological miracles. Like never before, these advances allow us to harness our resources and produce clean, affordable, reliable energy. So much, in fact, that under the Trump Administration, our nation produced more energy than we consumed. For the first time in over 70 years, we became truly energy independent.
Unfortunately, that success is threatened by the misguided, and costly policies of President Biden and Congressional Democrats. Once again, Democrats have proposed an unrealistic plan, the deceptively named CLEAN Future Act, a thinly veiled reincarnation of the Green New Deal, and an all-out-assault on an all-of-the-above American energy economy. It is now clearer than ever that they are bent on turning back the clock on American energy independence. Instead, through innovative solutions and adaptive policy, Congress can strike a balance between environmental stewardship without laying off tens of thousands of workers and increasing the everyday cost of living for American families.
Through investment, research, and innovation by American energy producers we have already seen a noticeable decline in greenhouse gas emissions. Since 2005, natural gas has single-handedly prevented over 2 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere. It is the private sector, not heavy-handed and overburdensome government regulations, that have brought emissions down to an all-time low, thanks to American energy producers like those in the Permian Basin and offshore in the Gulf Coast.
These “Washington-Knows-Best” policies are void of commonsense and would upend our economy, saddling hard-working American families across the country with burdensome costs. The far-left bill mandates 100% green energy generation in less than a decade and a net-zero carbon economy by 2050. It spends billions to build more electric vehicle charging stations, and place the costs on all taxpayers, whether they own an electric vehicle or not. The left, however, refuses to acknowledge that their fully electric dream world relies on long term reliable access to affordable natural gas. Instead, they continue to urge President Biden to put a fracking ban in place, under which estimates show a typical American family of four would suffer from an average loss of $5,000 in income each year and more than a 30% increase in energy costs.
Substantial lost revenue from energy development on federal land and offshore waters will also cripple state and local governments across the country. In 2020, states received more than $14 billion in energy revenues which local leaders would likely offset by raising taxes. It is further estimated that more than 5 million well-paying jobs would be destroyed — completely devastating the workers in energy-producing states like Louisiana and Texas. John Kerry says that the Administration wants workers to “have better choices” but oil and gas jobs pay $60,000 to $70,000 more than jobs in solar and wind.
If implemented, the Democrats’ Green Agenda will leave American families and workers hurting and our country dependent on unreliable and unfriendly nations for energy.
The recent winter storm, which cut the power to millions of homes in Texas amid dangerously cold temperatures, only underscores the clear danger of relying too heavily on “green energy” as a reliable power source. Texas is an all-of-the-above energy state accounting for 40% of the nation’s oil and 25% of our natural gas, but also a leader in wind and solar energy production. In fact, wind accounts for roughly 20% of electricity generated in the state, with another 5% from solar. Unfortunately, when Texans needed that power generation the most, it was not available. How can Democrats mandate that the United States achieve clean energy and zero carbon emissions by relying solely on wind, solar, and hydropower? How can these alternate forms of power meet the energy demands of consumers? Democrats’ alarmist proposals and posturing are unrealistic and will do more harm than good. While there is much to unpack from the failures during the storm, and wind and solar were not the only failures, it is clear that having those sources adopt a more significant role in our energy mix is not the solution. It doesn’t take an engineer to know that President Biden and Congressional Democrats’ radical energy agenda cannot guarantee a better and brighter tomorrow.
As we look to the future, it is critical that American families and workers remain at the forefront of our minds and the core of our energy strategy. We must ensure that the policies we pursue are rooted in reality and promote our economic well-being, not undermine it.
• U.S. Representative Steve Scalise serves as the House Republican Whip and represents Louisiana’s 1st Congressional District as a steadfast defender of Louisiana’s coast. As a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Whip Scalise advocates for enhanced production and technological innovation. U.S. Representative August Pfluger is serving his first term in the U.S. House, representing Texas’ 11th Congressional District which includes much of the oil and gas producing Permian Basin. He is a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, the House Committee on Homeland Security, and the Republican Whip Team.