U.S. Rep. Scalise pushes energy initiatives

U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise on Thursday touted congressional priorities to move forward with the controversial Keystone XL pipeline and to expand domestic energy production and exporting.

Scalise, R-Jefferson, is the chairman the Republican Study Committee and the vice chairman of the House Energy and Power Subcommittee. He teamed with the subcommittee’s head, U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., to promote their “Idea Lab” priorities in Congress to spur economic development through energy production.

Although there is much debate about the correlation between gas prices and domestic energy production, Scalise argued the two are deeply interconnected.

“Families are frustrated with paying too high gas prices,” Scalise said. “That means opening up more of our resources here in America.”

While domestic energy production has increased during each year President Barack Obama has been in office, Republicans say that the increases are primarily due to expanded oil-and-gas production on private lands, not federal lands.

“There are millions of more jobs that can be created if we just keep government out of the way,” Scalise said, touting the “natural gas revolution.”

He particularly blamed U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations, what he called the president’s “war on coal” and Obama’s stalling of signing off on the Keystone XL pipeline that would run from Canada to Texas.

“We’ve got to approve the Keystone pipeline,” he said, arguing that will lead to 1 million barrels of oil production a day and at least 20,000 direct new jobs.

Scalise also said the EPA must begin providing cost analysis on how many real and potential jobs are lost through new and proposed regulations on natural gas production through hydraulic fracturing, called fracking, and other means.

“We are simply asking for a more complete view,” Whitfield added.

The Kentucky congressman also argued that they will work with Senate leaders to produce legislation that can become law, rather than just bills that will pass the House and then quickly die in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

“We’re going to try to find some areas of common interest and move forward with them,” Whitfield said.