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Oil and Gas groups rally around Republican energy bill

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By Casey Harper | The Center Square

(The Center Square) – Oil and gas companies from around the nation are rallying to support a Republican effort to lower elevated energy costs and free up the industry.

The move comes as the Biden administration has worked to slow and dismantle much of the fossil fuel industry since taking office, even as he pushed other nations to produce more.

The bill in question is H.R. 1, a Republican-led measure that aims to increase domestic drilling and energy infrastructure investment, roll back regulations, encourage mineral development, and more.

“The bill rolls back the increased costs and taxes imposed on the very energy sources that supply 80% of America’s needs, while introducing positive measures to enable energy and other infrastructure projects to move forward. HR 1 is the antidote to the Biden Administration’s agenda of interfering with energy markets and using regulatory obstacles to hamper oil and natural gas development,” Western Energy Alliance President Kathleen Sgamma said.

n response to the legislative effort, 25 oil and gas groups sent a letter to House Republican leadership publicly backing the bill.

“For too long, the government has interfered with energy markets, burdening American production with undue restrictions, distorting markets with wasteful government spending, and discouraging private sector production,” the letter said.

The groups blasted President Joe Biden’s energy policies and pointed to overseas competitors.

“Biden Administration actions and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) have enacted further red tape, higher costs, and permitting obstacles that serve as barriers to efficient and timely production in response to national and global demand,” the letter said. “As a result, American oil and natural gas producers have been hindered from producing up to three million barrels of oil a day, a government imposed scarcity that has created high costs for citizens and instability in relation to our adversaries in China and Russia.”

Energy prices have soared since Biden took office, though some of that was due to global energy market disruptions because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and ensuing sanctions.

Gas prices hit record highs last summer, surpassing a national average of more than $5 per gallon of regular unleaded gasoline. Prices have declined since then, but are expected to rise again later this year.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics energy index, which tracks the cost of energy for American consumers, rose 5.5% in the past 12 months.

Biden and other Democrats have expressed the importance of transitioning to renewable energy sources. Critics say that technology is not ready support America’s energy needs.

“However the red tape we have experienced over the past few years is not intended to protect the environment but to handcuff American oil and natural gas production in a misguided attempt to quickly transition to an alternative reality that does not exist,” the letter said. “The result is higher prices for all Americans and more imports from unfriendly countries.”

They also pointed out natural gas’ role as a cleaner alternative that provides far more of America’s energy than wind or solar.

“Those who push to electrify everything seem to forget that natural gas provides nearly 40% of all U.S. electricity, compared to about 11% for wind and solar energy,” the letter said. “Natural gas is a necessary back-up when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine. By removing new taxes on natural gas and enabling its export to our allies, we can continue to reduce the carbon profile of the U.S. electricity sector while enabling other countries to likewise reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.”

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