BOUSTANY: Election-Year Politics No Excuse For Obama’s Energy Policy

As the price of gasoline skyrockets, President Barack Obama continues to ignore the need for a rational domestic energy policy.

Since the President was sworn into office, the price of gasoline has doubled. The national average of a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline cost $1.79 in January of 2009. According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), that same exact gallon of gas will set you back $3.76 today. It’s no surprise, gas prices are on the rise.

This Administration seems to have missed the memo.

Rising prices at the pump hurt families all across America. The more a family has to pay for fuel, the less it has to spend on other necessities such as rent, food, and utilities. The increase in gasoline prices negatively impacts any chance of an economic recovery our country has.

While there may be no quick fixes to the problem, steps must be taken to provide relief to hardworking families across South Louisiana and the rest of the nation. This President and his Administration must stop blocking sensible proposals and address the need for an “all-inclusive” domestic energy plan. Allowing for election-year politics to dictate policy is no way to govern.

Now is the time to grant the permit allowing for the Keystone XL Pipeline to move forward. I fully support the Keystone XL Pipeline, which would span 1,375 miles to deliver crude oil from the oil sands of Canada to refineries on the Gulf Coast. According to the TransCanada Corporation, Canada’s largest pipeline company, completion of the pipeline will generate 20,000 shovel-ready jobs with projections of thousands more, many benefitting businesses along the Gulf Coast.

The Keystone XL Pipeline will also enhance our country with national security. By growing our partnership with Canada, our nation will improve access to energy resources from allies rather than countries like Iran and Venezuela. The pipeline enhances national security while also providing many needed jobs. Completion of this pipeline must become a top priority for this Administration without further delay.

The President must stop his assault on Gulf drilling. Since 2010, I have led the charge in fighting President Obama’s offshore drilling moratorium. The de facto moratorium, a knee-jerk reaction by the Obama Administration, harmed many local oil and natural gas producers on the Gulf Coast.

According to a recent study conducted by Louisiana State University’s Dr. Joseph Mason, the de facto moratorium resulted in the loss of 8,000 Gulf state jobs and $487 million in lost wages.

I co-sponsored legislation that puts workers in the Gulf of Mexico back to work by ending the de facto moratorium and increasing American energy production to address rising gasoline prices. I believe we can best achieve this by restarting American offshore oil and natural gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico and off the shore of Virginia. The President must not support destructive policies that only increase our nation’s dependence on foreign energy resources.

Finally, when it comes to providing our country with a legitimate domestic energy policy, the President must check his politics at the door. Having solar companies such as Solyndra LLC receive a $535 Department of Energy loan guarantee then promptly file for bankruptcy is a perfect example of this. After killing 1,100 jobs, Solyndra left the American taxpayers with a bill of over half a billion dollars.

Abound Solar, the recipient of a $400 million loan guarantee from the Department of Energy in July of 2010, is another Obama green energy company that recently announced it will lay off 280 workers or 70 percent of its workforce.

When it’s not backing failed alternative energy companies with taxpayers’ dollars, this Administration is chasing away domestic energy producers. For the fourth year in a row, this President has proposed raising energy taxes on both large and small, independent energy companies. I will continue to stand against these taxes and fight to block them.

The President and his Administration must recognize the domestic energy challenges facing our country. The past three years have been marred with many bad decisions relating to domestic energy production and the weight of these decisions fall directly on South Louisiana families. In remaining the leading voice for American energy production, I will continue to serve as the staunchest advocate for American energy security on Capitol Hill.

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