Roadmap to American Energy Security

The Western Caucus believes America needs to increase its energy security through environmentally responsible production from our huge untapped energy resources. We do our nation and the world a disservice when we continue to rely on foreign sources of oil. The Western Caucus will support American energy, which will displace the influence of regimes that use their control of energy supplies to bully us and our allies. Based on the statements of President Obama, the prospects of increased domestic energy production on public lands in the near future are bleak. This quest to reduce domestic energy production – from all sources – is shortsighted and not in the long-term interest of the nation.

Members of the Western Caucus support policies that increase, diversify, and facilitate the production and delivery of reliable and affordable energy supplies from all domestic sources. Western Caucus members have introduced a number of bills in the 114th Congress to ensure the U.S. continues its current push towards energy security.  Our energy proposals include: 

  • Making energy and mineral production on public lands competitive with production on state and private lands

Thanks to technological breakthroughs in the oil and gas field, vast untapped energy reserves in the United States are now technically and economically recoverable. Fueled by American entrepreneurship, energy booms on private and state lands are driving the United States out of economic recession. The Western Caucus will fight to overcome the Obama Administration’s dogmatic opposition to energy production on public lands, which has handicapped America’s energy potential and robbed economic opportunity from local communities. Whether oil, gas, coal, rare earths or other mineral resources, America possesses the expertise necessary to produce these resources consistent with the environmental stewardship Americans expect, especially those who live near and rely on the health of our public lands.

  • Responsible Energy Development in ANWR

Most geologists agree that the potential of recoverable oil and gas on the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) may rival the initial reserves at Prudhoe Bay. In 1980, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated the Coastal Plain could contain up to 17 billion barrels of oil and 34 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. However, before oil and gas development in ANWR can proceed, Congress and the President must authorize leasing and development. Unfortunately for the U.S. and local Alaskan communities, the President unilaterally designated more than 12 million acres of ANWR as wilderness. Should leasing be permitted and subsequent commercial discoveries be made, it will be an estimated 15 years or more before oil and gas production from ANWR reaches market. That production will then be urgently needed to help meet domestic demand, so taking advantage of this key resource is critical to our national energy security.

  • Support Environmentally-Sound Energy Production in the Outer Continental Shelf

The Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) is estimated to hold nearly 500 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 90 billion barrels of oil. This is enough natural gas to heat 100 million homes for 60 years or enough oil to replace current Persian Gulf imports for 59 years. The Obama Administration’s neglect of federally controlled energy resources extends offshore as the Administration erects regulatory and procedural barriers to producing the lion’s share of oil and natural gas resources on the outer continental shelf. These obstructive tactics belie any claims by the Administration of an “all-of-the-above” energy strategy, despite technological advances making offshore production even safer and environmentally responsible. The Western Caucus will support responsible and targeted offshore energy production that is vital to keeping our nation energy secure.

  • Maintain Accessibility to Clean Coal

The Obama Administration’s assault on coal production comes at a steep economic cost borne by the low and middle-income electricity ratepayers who can least afford it. Particularly as we work to integrate alternative, intermittent energy sources into our power grid, coal remains critical to keeping prices affordable and the grid reliable.  The United States boasts enormous recoverable coal reserves, so much so that U.S. coal producers can meet domestic demand and export thousands of tons to help bring electricity to the estimated 1.3 billion people in the world who currently live with no electricity at all.  New technologies to convert coal to liquid fuel and to gasify deep coal seams promise to bring clean-coal resources to the market.  Instead of marginalizing coal production through regulatory strangulation, the United States should support the affordability and reliability of coal as an energy source.