400 North Capitol Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001
- Toll Free 1.888.564.6273
- Local 202.783.3870
As one of our millions of FreedomWorks members nationwide, I urge you to contact your senators and representative today and urge them to support the American Energy Renaissance Act and to co-sponsor the bill if they have not already done so. The bill has been introduced in the Senate by Senator Ted Cruz as S. 2170 and in the House of Representative by Rep. Jim Bridenstine as H.R. 4286.
The current state of energy policy is a disaster. Americans are keenly aware of this reality since proof of it is lit up on virtually every street corner and arrives in the mail each and every month. The nation is subject to fuel and electricity prices that are near historical highs in both nominal and real terms. Despite living in a nation with some of the largest proven reserves of coal, oil, and natural gas in the world, Americans are living as if there is an energy famine. This is a direct result of the misguided government policies of yesterday that govern today’s energy market. Senator Cruz and Representative Bridenstine’s American Energy Renaissance Act seeks to halt and reverse the trend of American energy poverty and will go a very long way in doing so through the most comprehensive set of free-market energy reforms ever to be introduced in Congress.
In the 1970s, patently false theories about the energy market and supply of available fossil fuel resources were accepted as truth. President Carter himself was convinced that the world was nearly out of oil and gas and therefore directed the nation towards policies designed to drive the energy market away from fossil fuels. Today, available coal, oil, and natural gas reserves have proved to be immense and growing, with new technologies finding and making accessible new resources almost daily. Yet the federal government, particularly under the Obama administration, has only doubled down on policies that restrict access and impede the use of these abundant, affordable, and reliable resources.
The American Energy Renaissance Act works to pare back onerous federal energy regulations and liberate the energy market. The act is unique in that it sets rigorous standards for government, not industry, when it comes to energy production, exports, and exploitation.
Energy exports are the best way for the United States to close its energy and trade deficits, strengthen the U.S. dollar, and reduce the nation’s vulnerability to global energy price shocks. The act expands expedited approval to all existing liquefied natural gas export permits, drops federal regulatory barriers on crude oil exports – including an elimination of presidential authority to restrict crude oil exportation – and instructs the Army Corps of Engineers to only factor in domestic environmental impacts when reviewing coal export terminals.
Strong exports, however, depend on strong production. Strong production also ensures that supply and demand reach equilibrium and allows for prices to fall. The American Energy Renaissance Act facilitates this by reforming energy infrastructure and federal land leasing regulations. The act requires that the federal government immediately approve the Keystone XL pipeline and further requires that any future cross-border energy infrastructure projects be reviewed and decided on within 120 days, eliminating the presidential approval requirement. The act then addresses oil and gas exploration and drilling offshore and on federal lands where huge reserves have been identified. Senator Cruz and Rep. Bridenstine’s bills mandate the government hold frequent lease sales in areas of commercial interest on the Outer-Continental Shelf (OCS) and further requires a biannual review of commercial interest in OCS areas.
Technologies like horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing have also granted the United States access to tremendous on-shore energy resources. The federal government, however, has been actively impeding the exploitation of these valuable resources on federal lands, where massive deposits exist. The American Energy Renaissance Act gets the federal government out of the way by wresting control of hydraulic fracturing regulation away from Washington and granting it to the individual states. Under these companion House and Senate bills, states would also be given complete control of leasing for oil and gas exploration on federal lands within their borders. The bills also require that the federal government review and decide on drilling permits within 30 days, giving much needed certainty to the energy industry.
With access to vast domestic fuel resources, there simply isn’t a need for the taxpayer to bolster the production of experimental and expensive biofuels. Yet the federal government still does just that with the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) program. The RFS is a federal mandate that forces Americans to purchase gasoline refined with increasing amounts of corn-based ethanol and other experimental biofuels. This mandate drives up the cost of fuel production and thus the price Americans pay at the pump. Yet America’s newfound petroleum wealth makes a federal program aimed at propping up an experimental fuels industry pointless. Further, fuels with higher ethanol blends, as mandated by the RFS, have been proved to damage the engines of vehicles and equipment and existing fuel transport and pump infrastructure. Additionally, ethanol has lower energy content than conventional gasoline, which lowers fuel-efficiency for engines that use it. Senator Cruz and Rep. Bridenstine recognize these issues and have incorporated a five-year phase out of the RFS mandate in their legislation.
The American Energy Renaissance Act also hands the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) a Waterloo-scale defeat in its war on affordable electricity. The act clarifies that the EPA’s selfassumed authority to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act does not actually exist, eliminating the threat of several new power plant rules that the EPA has promulgated. These rules are set to shutter millions of homes worth of coal-fired electricity from the grid otherwise. Further, any new EPA regulation must be accompanied with an economic impact assessment. Any EPA regulation determined to cost the economy jobs must first pass Congress and be signed into law by the president.
Last but not least, aside from being the most thorough attempt to liberate the energy market to ever be introduced, the bills contain a feasible and effective mechanism to aid the nation in paying down its massive, $17 trillion dollar national debt. The energy related provisions of the act will undoubtedly generate a tremendous amount of wealth and therefore new revenue for the federal government. Instead of letting Washington squander these new revenue streams as it usually does, Senator Cruz and Rep. Bridenstine’s bills direct that all new revenue be used to pay down the principal on the national debt. This bill goes a long way in ensuring American energy security and guaranteeing that we leave our children with a more prosperous nation than was left to us. For these reasons, I strongly urge you to contact your senators and representative today and ask them to support the American Energy Renaissance Act, S. 2170 in the Senate and H.R. 4286 in the House.
Matt Kibbe President and CEO, FreedomWorks