November 18, 2011
Today, the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held a legislative hearing
on three energy bills that will be a part of Speaker Boehner’s American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act
to create new jobs, increase American energy production and fund our aging infrastructure:
“The bills before us today are not just energy bills, they are job bills. Increased American energy production is one of the best ways to help jumpstart our economy. It will create over a million energy jobs and thousands of indirect jobs in a variety of sectors in every state throughout the country. Given the tremendous economic benefits – not to mention the national security implications – there is no reason why we should not provide access to our own energy resources located here at home,” said Chairman Hastings. “One thing that’s certain, doing nothing will not create any new jobs or generate any new revenue. During these difficult economic times, with soaring debts and deficits and a highway fund that needs to be replenished, Congress should not pass up an opportunity to create jobs and generate billions in new revenue.”
“Opening ANWR and using the revenue generated from it to fund infrastructure projects is something Congress ought to pass immediately,” said Rep. Don Young (AK-At large). “How much longer do these outside interest groups want us to import foreign oil instead of developing our own? Enough is enough; Congress has a responsibility to act and I look forward to working with Chairman Hastings in passing these crucial jobs bills.”
“Using our federal lands for energy production is critical to our national security. These resources are the property of the American people and it is only by opening these lands and promoting their development that will bring forth the value of the minerals on these lands. Americans are desperate for new jobs and blue collar workers in our trades have been particularly hard hit by the economic downturn,” said Subcommittee Chairman Lamborn. “These bills are designed to open lands to create opportunity. Opportunity for companies to pay billions of dollars to the treasury, for the right to hire millions of new workers to explore, discover and develop these resources.”
The Subcommittee received testimony from local Alaskans and expert witnesses supporting the bills to increase American energy production and create new jobs.
Tara M. Sweeney, an Inupiaq Eskimo from Barrow, Alaska and Senior Vice President of the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation spoke about the positive effects of opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for energy development and gave assurance production can be environmentally safe: “Responsible oil and gas development of the Coastal Plain of ANWR would provide a safe and secure source of energy to the nation, create important jobs for Alaska Natives and throughout the country… We would not support development of the Coastal Plain if it had an adverse impact on our ability to feed our families the nourishment of caribou, fish, fowl, Dall sheep, musk oxen, moose, or marine mammals.”
Mark Helmericks, who was “born, raised, [and] home schooled,” near ANWR in the North Slope Borough of Alaska, brought a local perspective to opening ANWR for energy production, “[to] bring benefits to America like well paying long term jobs, we are respectfully asking for access to Federal oil [ANWR].” Helmerick’s stated that one of the best ways to, “help bring work to our citizens” would be to allow access to federal oil reserves like ANWR.
Erik Milito, Upstream Director for the American Petroleum Institute, spoke about the inadequacy of the Obama Administration’s current five year offshore leasing plan and noted that provisions in H.R. 3410 that open the Atlantic, Pacific and Eastern Gulf of Mexico, “could provide hundreds of thousands of additional new jobs, more than $300 billion in cumulative additional revenue for government and nearly 4 million additional barrels of oil per day.”
Todd Dana, Chairman and CEO of Uintah Resources, Inc., is an industry expert on oil shale and spoke to lack of action by the federal government in advancing oil shale development, “since the Energy Policy Act of 2005 was enacted the Department of Interior has leased approximately 30,000 acres of the 1.9 million acres of oil shale. This is pathetic performance – less than 1% of 1%.” The PIONEERS Act would provide industry with certainty and clear rules for future development than Dana said is, “a legitimate potential solution to our problems of wars for oil, trade deficit, jobs, [and] energy security.”