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10 Actions Congress Can Take Towards Lowering Gas Prices
Posted by George R. on June 06, 2012 | comments
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While gas prices are down slightly, we shouldn’t let this brief respite distract us from the need for a long-term energy policy that focuses on harnessing America's energy resources.  Increasing domestic energy production will help create jobs, revive our stumbling economy, raise government revenue, and lower gas prices.  Lower gas prices, in turn, will increase disposable income which will help create even more jobs.

The Heritage Foundation proposed these 10 ways Congress can help lower gas prices:

1. Lift Offshore and Onshore Exploration and Drilling Bans
The United States is the only country that limits the oil exploration on a majority of its waters.

2. Approve Keystone XL 
If President Obama had approved the permit for construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil per day would have come from Canada to the Gulf Coast refineries as early as 2013.  It would also represent a $7 billion investment in American infrastructure without a dime of taxpayer funds!

3. Require Timely Environmental Review
The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) estimates that an environmental impact statement (EIS) to approve a larger drilling project should take one year to complete, while smaller environmental assessments (EAs) should take no more than three months.  Since 2005, it has taken the government an average of five years to complete an EIS, and EAs regularly take over four years.

4. Reform the Permitting Process 
While the Energy Policy Act of 2005 stipulates a 30-day time limit for processing Applications for Permit to Drill (APDs), bureaucrats at the Department of the Interior are ignoring the law.  Congress should require the Department to honor the law's deadline for any complete application.

5. Issue Leases on Time
Congress should remove these additional levels of red tape and stipulate that if Interior fails to issue the lease to the winning bidder within 60 days, the lease should be considered issued by default.

6. Allow Development of Oil Shale
According to the Bureau of Land Management, the United States has five times the proven oil reserves of Saudi Arabia yet we continue to import oil from this and other nations hostile to our national interests.  We can safely and efficiently develop these reserves and should start doing so today. 

7. Stop the Land Grab
Classifying federal land areas as “wilderness” or “wild lands” takes away from possible energy production sites by fiat.  Congress should block Secretarial Order 3310 today.

8. Implement 50/50 Revenue Sharing
States where energy production takes place should receive 50 percent of the revenues generated by onshore and offshore oil and natural gas production on federal lands.  Doing so would involve state and localities in drilling decisions.

9. Prohibit Greenhouse Gas and Tier 3 Gas Regulations
The most effective approach to stopping the federal government’s power grab would be to permanently prohibit any federal agency from regulating greenhouse gas emissions.

10. Repeal the Renewable Fuel Standard
The Renewable Fuel Standard, also known as the ethanol mandate, was short-sited and fines businesses for being unable to meet an unrealistic standard.  Consumers ultimately pay the price and its time for the standard to be repealed.

To read more on this topic and view the set of ten actions Congress can take towards lowering gas prices, click here.

George is an intern in Jack's Washington, D.C. Office this summer.  He is a rising junior at Penn State.

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