Energy headlines rise and fall with gas prices, but House Republicans hit cities around the country today to spread the message that a $3.76 per gallon average is a “new normal” that’s simply not acceptable.
House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and his House Energy Action Team (HEAT) fanned out from the Golden State to the Lone Star State and beyond to say there’s a major flaw in President Obama’s professed “all-of-the-above” energy strategy.
“In his ‘all of the above,’ he just doesn’t believe about anything from below,” McCarthy said on the road in North Dakota, where he visited an oil rig in this boomtown state with Rep. Rick Berg (R-N.D.).
Obama, meanwhile, scrambled on the heels of the 2012 American Energy and Jobs Tour by jetting to Iowa today to talk clean energy, weaving the wind push into his “to-do list” for Congress.
“America is now producing more domestic oil than at any time in the last eight years. But we’re also producing more natural gas and biofuels than at any time in our history,” Obama said. “We’re laying the foundation for some of our nation’s first offshore wind farms. And since I became president, America has nearly doubled the use of renewable energy like solar power and wind power.”
Reviving what’s sure to be a fixture on the campaign trail this fall, Obama encouraged the renewal of clean-energy tax credits, for wind farms like the one he spoke at, “because that progress is in jeopardy.”
But Republicans on the road today made clear that they don’t dismiss the value of alternative energy in an all-of-the-above strategy — they want a realistic national energy strategy that acknowledges that America currently gets 85 percent of its energy from fossil fuels.
Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.), touring an oil well in Girard, Kan., with Missouri Rep. Billy Long (R , noted that oil and gas are produced in 89 of Kansas’ 105 countries and the industry supports $2.7 billion in family income in her state.
“New drilling technologies are quickly turning the U.S. into an energy superpower,” Jenkins said.
Rep. Bill Johnson (R-Ohio) toured an oil rig and met with residents in the Eastern part of his state to talk about high gas prices. Rep. Bill Flores (R-Texas) toured a hydraulic fracturing site to try to dispel myths that “make you think the world’s going to come to an end every time there’s a hydraulic fracturing operation” in the face of new federal regulatory efforts. Reps. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) and Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) held an energy roundtable at a construction company in Greeley, Colo., followed by a tour of a trucking company — two industries acutely affected by energy prices.
The tours were not just about industrial education, but efforts to highlight threats to the respective aspects of the energy business.
Texas Republicans Francisco “Quico” Canseco and Mike Conaway, along with Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-Wash.), toured an Upton County oil drilling rig and fracking site, noting that overregulation and environmental policies threaten economic growth in the region. Rep. Jeff Dehham (R-Calif.), touring the Valero refinery in Oakland and sitting down with business leaders, noted that refinery shutdowns and mandated “boutique blends” of gas have sent pump prices to $5 a gallon in some spots already.