I support use of all sources of American energy in order to lower prices at the pump and decrease our dependence on foreign oil. A strong national energy policy is an essential component to a thriving economy and the creation of jobs. Coal, natural gas, nuclear, wind, solar, hydro-power, domestic oil, and biomass all may play a critical role in America’s energy future. The United States possesses a tremendous amount of natural resources, and we must take full advantage of all options to unlock America’s full potential.
In early 2012, I proposed a four-point energy plan that still guides many of my actions today:
Drill. Reducing our dependence on foreign oil means we must drill for our own domestic oil and natural gas. This has been so effective that, among other pressures in the industry, oil and natural gas prices have dropped precipitously. Many scoffed and said “drill baby, drill” wouldn’t work. They were wrong.
Dig. The United States has the largest coal reserves in the world. I support proposals that encourage the United States to tap into its abundant and affordable domestic energy resources, including coal.
Discover. We can use our universities and think-tanks to find new energy sources and ways to use energy more efficiently. We need energy research parity. If we put as much money into research to discover ways to burn fossil fuels cleaner as we do wind, solar, etc., I believe we can once again tap into our coal reserves without fear of a negative impact on the environment.
Deregulate. It is time for government to get out of the way and let private businesses use our domestic energy resources more freely.
I support coal use and production. Coal is a vital component of the American economy, with a third of the nation’s electricity being generated from it. We need to restore coal production and eliminate the harmful regulations that are killing the industry.
Because of the War on Coal, in order to assure electric power generation, the nation needs a strong delivery system for natural gas. Therefore, I recognize that we need pipelines to carry natural gas from the gas fields to various parts of the U.S. But the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission needs to assure us that there is an absolute need for each pipeline and that a pipeline does not destroy communities.
I am committed to fighting the many excessive, misguided energy regulations being pushed by President Obama and the EPA. At a time when many Americans are being forced to choose between paying their electric bill and putting food on the table, it is unacceptable for the federal government to hinder the use of coal and other domestic energy sources. Burdensome energy regulations have led to higher energy costs which put a strain on all Americans, particularly working families and those on fixed incomes. In addition, higher electric prices also make it more expensive to manufacture goods in America. When American goods are more expensive, they are less competitive in the global economy. The bottom line is that American jobs are at stake as a result of federal regulations on coal and other domestic energy resources.
I support common sense policies that safeguard our ability to have clean air and clean water without jeopardizing thousands of jobs or burdening American families with unbearable energy costs.
I joined former Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY), Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-GA), and Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN) in introducing – and passing – the Ratepayer Protection Act of 2015 (H.R. 2042), which, among other things, would allow for completion of judicial review of any final rule in the Environmental Protection Agency’s so-called ‘Clean Power Plan’ before states are required to comply with its implementation if the state’s governor has determined it would significantly harm energy reliability or affordability. The ‘Clean Power Plan’ is not only expensive, burdensome, and unreasonable, but that based on the law and prior court opinions, the Environmental Protection Agency does not have the authority to enact it under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act. I am encouraged that, in what will be among the final majority rulings for the late Justice Antonin Scalia, the Supreme Court granted a stay in the Chamber of Commerce v. EPA case, blocking the Clean Power Plan until legal action is completed.
Co-sponsored and voted to support H. J. Res. 71 and H.J. Res. 72, two Resolutions of Disapproval under the Congressional Review Act to block the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. The House and Senate both passed companion legislation (S. J. Res. 23 and S. J. Res. 24), but unfortunately, the President vetoed both resolutions. I will continue fighting to protect consumers of electricity and our mining jobs from a regulatory cap-and-trade scheme imposed by unreasonable, unelected bureaucrats at the EPA
Voted to support the North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act of 2015 (H.R. 8). This comprehensive energy legislation aims to modernize federal energy policy and harness domestic resources. Among many things this legislation improves the Strategic Petroleum Reserve facilities, ensures timely decisions by the Department of Energy on liquefied natural gas (LNG) export applications, prepares our energy infrastructure to resist threats such as severe weather and cyberattacks, improves coordination with neighboring countries on energy issues and infrastructure, and promotes energy efficiency.
I was tapped to serve on the conference committee with the Senate to resolve the differences between House and Senate comprehensive energy legislation (H.R. 8 and S. 2012).
I sponsored the EPA Maximum Achievable Contraction of Technocrats Act of 2015 (H.R. 3939), legislation that would force the EPA to reduce its workforce by 15 percent over three years. EPA regulators are waging a war on common sense, American manufacturers, jobs, and more. There are real businesses that have closed and real people who have lost their jobs as a result of unreasonable EPA actions. The American people need some relief without delay.
Original cosponsor of and voted to support H.R. 427, the Regulations From the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act of 2015 (REINS Act), which would require Congress to approve of all new major regulations that cost $100 million or more, or which result in a major increase in costs or prices for consumers, industries, or state and local government agencies.
I sponsored H.R. 4411 and H.R. 4412, legislation to extend the deadlines for commencement of construction of hydroelectric projects at the Gathright Dam in Alleghany County and the Flannagan Dam in Dickenson County. These projects would generate power by utilizing the flows that are normally released by the Army Corps’ operation of the dams and will have an estimated combined capacity of 5.5 megawatts. Both H.R. 4411 and H.R. 4412 passed the House of Representatives and are awaiting further action in the Senate, where companion legislation has been introduced by Sen. Tim Kaine.
I held a Symposium on the Future of Coal-Focused Technology, Innovation, and Industry at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise featuring a keynote address by David Mohler, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Clean Coal and Carbon Management within the Office of Fossil Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). This symposium engaged communities in Southwest Virginia with federal officials, industry, and researchers and discussing such important issues as the future of coal-focused technology, innovation, of industry.
Voted to support H.R. 702, a bipartisan bill to lift the nearly 40-year-old ban on crude oil exports. The development of new technologies led to an increase in drilling activity around the nation, resulting in the United States’ role as one of the world’s largest producers of oil. The repeal of the crude oil export ban was subsequently included in separate legislation and was signed into law by President Obama.
Voted to support the Keystone XL Pipeline Approval Act (S. 1), which would approve construction of the Keystone XL pipeline by removing the requirement for a Presidential permit and would grant additional federal permits required for the project. I voted to clear the way for the Keystone XL pipeline because of its contributions to our energy security and the jobs it would create for the American people. There is no question that construction of the Keystone XL would be a major American job creator. The Senate and the House of Representatives both passed S. 1 with bipartisan support. Unfortunately, the President used his pen to veto this pro-jobs bill and the Senate was unable to override this veto. In November of 2015, the President officially rejected the pipeline application.
Co-sponsored the Virginia Jobs and Energy Act (H.R. 1840), which would fast track oil, natural gas, and other energy development off Virginia’s coasts.
Voted to support the LNG Permitting Certainty and Transparency Act (H.R. 351), which would expedite approval of U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facilities. There is enough natural gas produced in the U.S. that we are able to export some of the surplus with minimal impact on natural gas prices. From a national security perspective, opening supplies of American natural gas to more foreign countries will help strengthen our economic and security ties to them while lessening the sphere of influence currently enjoyed by some nations unfriendly to American interests.
I have sent several letters to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, along with Reps. Goodlatte and Hurt, requesting additional citizen input in the placement of pipelines.
Member of the Congressional Coal Caucus and member of the Congressional Natural Gas Caucus.
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