E&E News has reported House Republicans have proposed a new piece of legislation to support infrastructure development and energy security amid President-elect Biden’s proposed oil and gas drilling ban on public lands. Rep. August Pfluger of Texas has proposed a bill entitled “Saving America’s Energy Future Act” (H.R.218) that would restrict the secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture from implementing a moratorium on oil and gas leases on federal lands. Rep. Pfluger expressed concern regarding the negative implications a drilling ban would create for the U.S. energy sector:
“President-Elect Joe Biden campaigned on the promise to shut down drilling on all federal lands and phase out fossil fuels. This, in conjunction with ludicrous policies like the Green New Deal, could mean the end to our oil and gas industry and the American economy as we know it. The Permian Basin produces over 40% of our nation’s energy. This is clean, affordable, reliable energy that powers our nation, heats our homes, and allows us to defend ourselves. Energy security is national security, and nothing could be more important.”
Other House Republicans are backing Rep. Pfluger, including Reps. Tony Gonzales, Ronny Jackson, Pat Fallon, Brian Babin, and Jodey Arrington of Texas, Rep. Yvette Herrell (R-N.M.) and Rep. Stephanie Bice (R-O.K.). The state representatives hope the bill will yield a positive impact on U.S. energy security and economy as a drilling ban could pose a number of threats.
The American Petroleum Institute (API) has also released a study warning of the harmful implications such a ban could cause. U.S. oil imports from foreign sources could increase by 2 million barrels a day, putting our energy security in the hands of potentially unpredictable foreign regimes. U.S. households could spend a cumulative $19 billion more on energy by 2030 and nearly 1 million jobs could be lost by 2022. After sky-high unemployment rates and an oil crash induced by the COVID-19 pandemic, our nation cannot afford to endure another dire economic risk.
H.R.218 is crucial to protecting U.S. domestic energy production. Speaking of the bill, Rep. Ronny Jackson (TX-13) said:
“As someone who grew up working as a roustabout in the West Texas oil fields, I know firsthand how important oil and gas production is to our economy in Texas’ 13th Congressional District…I am proud to co-sponsor legislation like the Saving America’s Energy Future Act. This legislation will go a long way to help maintain America’s energy independence and Texas’ position as the nation’s leading oil and gas producer.”