Chairman Westerman Testifies in Support of the Lower Energy Costs Act
WASHINGTON, D.C., March 27, 2023 | Committee Press Office (202-225-2761)
Today, House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) testified before the House Committee on Rules in support of H.R. 1, the Lower Energy Costs Act. Westerman laid out how crucial this bill is to strengthen and grow the American economy, secure our energy independence, build infrastructure and reform the broken permitting process.
Below are Westerman's full remarks, as prepared.
Thank you, Mr. Chair, for the opportunity to testify today on behalf of H.R. 1, the Lower Energy Costs Act.
America is rich with natural resources. From sea to shining sea, we have an abundance of energy and mineral resources that we know how to produce cleaner, safer, and more responsibly than anywhere else in the world.
Because of this, one would assume that we would be unmatched in our energy and mineral production and exports. Given our domestic supply, we should be an energy independent nation also helping to meet the global demand.
Yet the exact opposite is true. America is facing an energy crisis. Brought on by mismanagement, poor government execution, bad policies, and antiquated laws, families and businesses across the country are having to make tough decisions on how to make ends meet because the cost of gas and utilities has risen too high. And it gets worse. Our bad energy policy threatens our national security while empowering our adversaries.
Expenditures by U.S. natural gas consumers totaled $192 billion in 2021, a 37 percent increase from 2020 after adjusting for inflation.
Nationwide, the number of households receiving government help to pay energy costs increased by an estimated 1.3 million this winter, the largest year-over-year increase since 2009.
This isn’t a temporary issue. Global demand for energy is expected to increase by 50 percent by 2050, requiring an all-of-the-above approach if we are to have any hope of keeping our infrastructure operational.
That’s where the Lower Energy Costs Act comes in. We’ve spent the past few years hearing from our constituents about the issues they’re facing, how the federal government can remove barriers, and what our path forward needs to be for domestic energy. The legislation before you today has been vetted extensively, brought through regular order in our committees, and includes many member-driven initiatives.
Unlike many of the deceptive bills brought to the floor last Congress, this legislation does exactly what its name says: it lowers the cost of energy by increasing the domestic supply of energy.
This bill jumpstarts both onshore and offshore oil and gas development, rolling back the Biden administration’s leasing moratoriums that are shackling domestic energy production.
H.R. 1 recognizes the skyrocketing demand for hardrock minerals and institutes commonsense proposals that unlock U.S. minerals and incentivizes responsible resource extraction.
And, of course, none of this will be possible without permitting reform…not oil and gas, not wind and solar, not electric cars, not healthier forests, not American made computer chips, and not American infrastructure. This is why H.R. 1 is necessary to modernize outdated federal regulations that keep projects in limbo for years, decades, or discourage them from ever even being considered.
Every day that passes without action is a day where we grow weaker on the global stage. China is building a new coal plant almost weekly, Russia is eyeing Arctic energy resources, and OPEC nations are resting comfortably on the fact that President Biden would rather purchase oil and gas from them than put Americans to work producing energy here at home. Saudi Arabia’s Aramaco posted a 161 billion dollar project last year and high energy revenues are funding Putin’s attack on Ukraine.
We must not put our heads in the sand and ignore the fact that we will not be competitive or increase national security without American energy and minerals.
Not only that, but we also won’t have a cleaner environment without American energy and minerals. For all the Democrats’ talk about emissions, they neglect basic scientific facts like Russian natural gas having a 47 percent higher emissions profile than American natural gas.
When it comes to utilizing our natural resources, we mine it, drill it, transport it, produce it, and refine it cleaner than anywhere else in the world. H.R. 1 recognizes that fact and will put America back in the driver seat on the global stage.
For centuries, Americans have risen to meet every challenge head-on and prove that we are the greatest country in the world. I believe this energy crisis is no different. With every tool in our toolbox, like H.R. 1 provides, we will be more than ready to beat China and Russia and ensure energy security for ourselves and for our allies.
I’m proud to support the Lower Energy Costs Act, ask that it be brought to the floor under an appropriate rule to allow for its consideration and I look forward to working with each of you to move this legislation off the floor.
The Lower Energy Costs Act restores American energy independence by:
Click here for an overview of the bill.
Click here for a section-by-section summary of the bill.
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