It’s time to unleash the power of American energy

No one likes filling up their car at a gas station. It feels like the most necessary of evils, spending money on something we never see but depend on to go about our daily lives. What was once a routine errand has now become a significant strain on family budgets, as the price of oil continues to climb with no end in sight. 

Because of this crisis, millions of Americans are facing very difficult choices. Families are questioning whether they can afford a road trip this summer, farmers are trying to determine if they can operate their equipment normally, and businesses are factoring how increased transportation prices will impact their livelihoods. Rising oil prices impact all Americans, and the economy upon which we depend. These effects also manifest in higher food and product prices, which in turn take yet another chunk out of Americans’ paychecks.  

There are myriad issues feeding into the overall gas price crisis. Yet our Democrat colleagues here in Congress refuse to see the forest for the trees, instead remaining fixated on their favorite boogeyman: Big Oil. 

Look no further than the legislation House Democrats are brought to the floor last week. In a nutshell, they are placing American industries squarely in the crosshairs and targeting them for so-called “price gouging.” 

There is no accountability in this administration. Biden’s hostile actions toward domestic energy have created long-term uncertainty for American energy producers, which has stifled investment in new drilling. Less drilling results in higher oil prices, which in turn results in higher gas prices for the consumer. 

Speaking of those American industries, let’s not forget about the actual gas stations where you fill up your car. Oil companies are one thing, but now Democrats are saying they also plan to investigate wholesalers and retailers. More than 95 percent of the gas stations in the U.S. are locally-owned franchises — this is not the so-called “Big Oil” Democrats demonize. By further punishing these industries through regulatory crackdowns, Americans consumers will continue feeling the sting at the gas pump. 

Ultimately, these Democrat talking points are a Hail Mary attempt to save face after months of inflation under the Biden administration. From the start, this administration has attacked American energy production by halting oil and gas leasing on federal lands and waters, shuttering pipeline projects, threatening producers with increased regulations, and promising to ban all oil and gas leasing on the campaign trail.  

We warned since the beginning that this approach would cause prices to skyrocket. In fact, gasoline prices have increased every month since President Biden was elected. Attempting to address these failed policies, the administration has depleted our Strategic Petroleum Reserves and put thousands of American energy employees out of work, all while begging OPEC+ countries and foreign dictators to bail us out of a mess they created. Now, the Biden administration and congressional Democrats are attacking gasoline wholesalers and retailers at a time when China is overtaking the U.S. in oil refining capacity.  

Here’s the hard truth the Biden administration doesn’t want to admit: if we’re not producing and refining oil and natural gas here at home, we are importing it from somewhere else. As much as we support an all-of-the-above energy approach that includes renewable resources, we simply cannot power our transportation system on electricity, much less New York City on solar panels and wind turbines, without baseload energy backing them up. Anyone who says otherwise is lying to you.  

Thus, the more this administration threatens U.S. producers, the more they embolden and help countries like China and Russia. This is anything but environmentally friendly, not to mention it will jeopardize our own energy and national security. 

While our Democrat colleagues in Congress have finally woken up to the energy crisis, their solutions are still completely ineffective. They willfully ignore facts and data to blame a scapegoat. Their proposals will raise the cost of producing energy at home, and Americans will pay the price. Meanwhile, our Republican colleagues have introduced a host of bills that will unleash the power of domestic energy, empowering U.S. industries to do what they do best: show the world how to produce energy cleaner, safer, and cheaper than ever before. 

There’s absolutely no reason you should have to hold your breath when checking your receipt at the gas pump. We have every available resource right here in the U.S. We call on congressional Democrats and this administration to stop demonizing American industries and instead find ways to lead, follow, or get out of the way so we can thrive. 

Bruce Westerman represents the 4th District of Arkansas and is ranking member of the House Committee on Natural Resources. Yvette Herrell represents New Mexico’s 2nd District and is vice ranking member of the Natural Resources Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee. 

Tags American energy Biden biden energy policies gas prices

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