Taking Back America!
First, let me begin by thanking m, for forwarding the invitation to me to attend this conference call. Since she forwarded the invite, and I did attend, I feel as though some sort of an accounting of what I heard there would be appropriate, most especially since the Congress Critters who hosted the event were probably counting on this becoming a part of the platform to get their word out. So, let me take a quick second of your precious reading time to define this group called HEAT. They are the House Energy Action Team, and here is their proposal, which will be introduced onto the House Floor next week. (The link is in pdf format stored somewhere in a cloud, so you may have to click and refresh, double click, or otherwise do something funky to get it to show up on your browser.)
Let me start off by saying that this group of bills would be the correct course of action, regardless of the current gasoline pricing that greets Americans at their local filling stations. I do understand the reasoning behind presenting things in a manner that makes sense from tactical perspective. Americans are more likely to support something when they have bought into it emotionally first. That however does not make it right. The problem my dear Congress Critters with tying the need for this legislation into the gas prices that Americans pay at their pump being north of $3.50 per gallon, is that that particular price point can not be guaranteed in the future, and quite frankly, I do not want to be in a position of rooting for future hardship in order to get legislation I like passed. That's one of the things that I hate about the Democrats, and to be blunt about it, I enjoy being able to take the moral high ground on all issues concerning politicization. So, from my perspective as being a free marketeer, please remove the following talking point from your literature:
May’s abysmal employment report should be a wake-up call to the President and Senate Democrats. They cannot continue to sit on their hands while 13 million Americans remain out of work. The Domestic Energy and Jobs Act will help job creators in the energy industry invest more in American-made energy and American-made jobs. This legislation has the potential to spur the economic growth that will create hundreds of thousands of new jobs and bring down gas prices from the “new normal” of $3.50 per gallon, the current national average.
I would like to suggest replacing it with something like this:
Over the last 42 months, we have been reminded daily of the dangers of allowing the progressives who currently hold our national economy hostage free reign to inflict their top down planning approach upon our citizens. The folly of allowing a government bureaucracy to run amok in creating their own rules and regulations at whim based not upon law, but upon personal opinion has created an environment which has stifled our domestic energy production, decimated our economy's ability to create wealth and as a by product employment, and further placed us at the mercy of foreign energy produces who exhibit more enmity than friendship towards our great nation.
Next week, House Majority Whip, Kevin McCarthy will introduce, The Domestic Energy and Jobs Act, to the House. The act will include seven bills, which follow here:
Strategic Energy Production Act of 2012, H.R. 4480 (Rep. Cory Gardner, CO-4)
The Strategic Energy Production Act of 2012 (H.R. 4480) links tapping the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to increasing energy production on federal lands. If the President releases oil from the SPR, the Administration will be required to develop a plan to lease more federal lands for exploration and production.
Gasoline Regulations Act of 2012, H.R. 4471 (Rep. Ed Whitfield, KY-1)
The Gasoline Regulations Act (H.R. 4471) would require an interagency committee to conduct a cumulative analysis on certain EPA rules and actions that impact the price of gasoline and diesel fuels. It will pause the implementation of the Tier 3 fuel standards, refinery New Source Performance Standards, and ozone standards until six months after the report is submitted to Congress, which should provide for a better understanding of the costs and consequences of these rules.
Planning for American Energy Act of 2012, H.R.4381 (Rep. Scott Tipton, CO-3)
The Planning for American Energy Act of 2012 (H.R. 4381) would require the Secretary of the Interior to establish an all-of-the-above energy program for federal lands by reviewing the nation’s energy needs and then establishing goals for federal land energy production to meet those needs from all energy sources, oil, natural gas, coal and renewables.
Providing Leasing Certainty for American Energy Act of 2012, H.R 4382 (Rep. Mike Coffman, CO-6)
The Providing Leasing Certainty for American Energy Act of 2012 (H.R. 4382) would: 1) require a minimum annual acreage leasing plan that makes available at least 25 percent of the lands open for leasing each year for which there is interest in development and 2) set firm timelines for the Secretary of the Interior to issue leases and adjudicate lease protests. It would also prohibit the Secretary of the Interior from withdrawing leases and adding additional lease stipulations after they have been sold.
Streamlining Permitting of American Energy Act of 2012, H.R. 4383 (Rep. Doug Lamborn, CO-5)
The Streamlining Permitting of American Energy Act (H.R. 4383) would ensure a reliable permitting process to increase American energy production. It would remove government roadblocks and bureaucratic red tape that hinder and delay American energy production and American job creation. It streamlines and reforms the process for energy permitting, once a lease is in hand, to encourage the timely development of our federal onshore oil, natural gas, and renewable resources.
National Petroleum Reserve Alaska Access Act, H.R. 2150 (Rep. “Doc” Hastings, WA-4)
The National Petroleum Reserve Alaska Access Act (H.R. 2150) will create new jobs, support current energy jobs in Alaska, expand American energy production and lower energy costs by ensuring that oil and natural gas resources in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPRA) are developed and transported in a timely, efficient manner.
BLM Live Internet Auctions Act, H.R. 2752 (Rep. Bill Johnson, OH-6)
The BLM Live Internet Auctions Act (H.R. 2752) gives the Secretary of the Interior the authority to conduct Internet-based auctions for onshore leases to ensure the best return to the Federal taxpayer, reduce fraud, and secure the leasing process.
Today's call was hosted by McCarthy, along with Rep. Cory Gardner of Colorado, and Rep. Doc Hastings of Washington. I was heartened as I listened to them state the basics of free market economics, without hearing them actually use that terminology. Each of the three stated the need to roll back the overbearing regulatory environment which is choking our national energy production, and indeed every other aspect of our national economy. Each of the three understands the positive impacts of unleashing the forces of free market principles and allowing Adam Smith's invisible hand to work for the benefit of all Americans. Here is a video which Justin LoFranco of Rep. McCarthy's office directed me to prior to the conference call.
Here are a few startling facts which I took away from the call. America has 6 times the amount of Petroleum as Saudi Arabia, which is easily recoverable with current technology. The goal mentioned by Kevin McCarthy was that we should be making Saudi Arabia's America hating agenda completely irrelevant. This is something we can accomplish, and accomplish quickly when ever we choose to do so. Both sides of the aisle will give lip service when ever asked, to the holy grail known as energy independence. One group however wishes to accomplish this by returning to the Seventh Century of ox carts for farming and windmills for energy production. The other group wishes to accomplish this by sticking two pipes into our ground and utilizing our very abundant natural resources. Our side of this great debate should be phrasing this proposal in just that fashion.
Producing our own oil, coal, and gas domestically will have a beneficial by product as well. It will create Millions of high paying jobs if we pursue this to the limits of our productive capacity. The average wage for a person working part time at a McDonald's in North Dakota is $15.00 per hour. Think about that for one moment. That means that the labor market in North Dakota is so stretched, that McDonald's needs to pay a wage which is double the minimum wage for a position often cited by Democrats as being beneath human dignity. (I mean no disrespect to McDonald's or her fine employees, I was merely stating an economic point.)
As with most of these types of things, in which I very rarely ask questions during the Q and A, I asked none today. The reason for this is that usually, what I would ask is asked by someone else. Such was the case today. Of the 5 questions asked after the Congress Critters gave us their thoughts on the subject matter, 4 of them were specifically about the asinine overreach of the EPA. Majority Whip McCarthy convinced me that he gets it. He understands that it is dangerous to write legislation that allows these federal behemoths to write and then rewrite the rules of how they conduct themselves as they go along. He understands the danger involved of relying on the court system to provide relief for these egregious violations of our Constitutional Rights which sometimes takes many years to accomplish, and quite frankly is rendered moot since the aggrieved party is more often than not bankrupted by the experience. What has me worried though is how complicated our government has become that we just can not put an end to this silliness. He addressed this question by stating that we need to write some new legislation which would prevent the usual suspects from engaging in this practice, and hold them to the rules and laws as written.
What I wanted to hear him say was that Congress would stop writing vague laws which afforded these types of shenanigans in the first place. I would much rather see a law enacted that held congress people responsible for their own legislation. All rules for a particular law, its scope, the authority granted should be written prior to passage, without the ability of the newly created agency or bureau to write their own ticket. The EPA has been allowed to grow beyond any constraint of having to answer for its actions. The Clean Water Act has allowed this group of people to fly drones over mud puddles on private property and declare those puddles either wetlands or navigable waterways, and thus take jurisdiction over large swaths of this country where they previously had none. My frustration is that when ever we send someone to Washington based on them telling us that they are against big government, we basically have a 50/50 shot that they will govern as such, as is the case of McCarthy, or govern as a big government Republican, such as is the case of Roy Blunt, a Senator from Missouri.
I realize that the distinction is small, but at the same time, we can not depend entirely on the McCarthy's of the world always being there to reign in this practice. It would be preferable to be able to put a stop to it entirely. The added bonus of course to making these folks read their legislation prior to passing it is that they will have less time to create and pass new laws, something else which I would like to see. In fact, we should put a cap on them for that as well.
Each Congress gets to pass 5 laws over a two year period. That should slow them down sufficiently.
All in all, I like this, as its a legislative effort which effectively seeks to roll back previous legislation, and if there is one thing I am for, it is fewer laws being on our books rather than more.