Skip to Content

Opinion Pieces by Rob

Rob Wittman Column: We must unleash American energy independence

Rob Wittman column: We must unleash American energy independence

To read this online in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Click Here.

One consistent message I hear from constituents throughout Virginia’s 1st Congressional District and folks throughout the entire commonwealth is American families are feeling the pain of soaring inflation and skyrocketing energy costs in a very real way.

This year, average gas prices in America hit an all-time high, and the national average continues to sit above $4 per gallon. With no clear end in sight, it is completely understandable that families worry about how to budget for these soaring prices.

The Biden administration blames the energy crisis on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but that is not the case. Russia’s barbaric and unprovoked attack on Ukraine highlighted and elevated the need for American energy independence — but it did not create this energy crisis.

For years, I, along with many of my colleagues, have sounded the alarm about the United States’ and Europe’s growing reliance on Russian oil and gas. Unfortunately, the Biden administration enacted policies such as canceling the Keystone XL pipeline, and stalling oil and natural gas production on federal lands and offshore.

Rather than tapping into American energy production potential, the administration has pursued ineffective short-term solutions like tapping into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and requesting that foreign nations produce more oil. This backward energy strategy not only slashes American jobs, but it also weakens our independence and national security.

Unfortunately, gasoline prices remain high as a consequence of ongoing policies. Despite record prices, the administration and congressional Democrats continue to impose regulatory delays on American energy production that could create U.S. jobs and reduce energy costs.

Now, Americans are paying unbelievable costs at the gas station, while also facing increased prices on nearly everything else. Hardworking American families' budgets are being stretched thin, and they deserve better from policymakers in Washington.

More than ever, the United States needs both renewable and conventional energy, and we need to ramp up production at home rather than rely on production overseas to replenish our energy supply. The United States already produces more oil and natural gas than any other country in the world and uses some of the world’s cleanest, safest and most efficient technologies in doing so.

As a global energy power, the United States can create more jobs, lower energy prices for American families and businesses, and provide increased security for Americans and our allies. But this only can be accomplished if we follow a pro-American agenda.

With strong and energy-independent American policies, the United States would have a thriving and secure energy industry, as well as be equipped to immediately help its allies in their resistance to adversaries, such as Russia’s ongoing unprovoked and barbaric attack against Ukraine.

We already have the tools and resources to unleash American energy independence — now is the time to use them. The American people cannot continue to wait.

I, along with my colleagues, are offering real and immediate solutions to lower energy prices and unleash American energy production: 1) end the freeze on all new oil and gas projects; 2) fast-track pending liquefied natural gas permits; 3) expedite approval of all pipeline and energy development; and 4) reduce regulatory red tape on U.S. energy development and financing.

As a member of the House Natural Resources Committee, I am advocating for responsible legislation to increase American energy production and decrease dependence on our foreign adversaries. For example, I signed onto the American Energy Independence from Russia Act. This bill would strengthen our energy security and independence by promoting domestic oil and gas, mining, and critical mineral production; and encouraging domestic production of oil and natural gas to offset imports from Russia.

Furthermore, I am an original co-sponsor on the Unleashing American Energy Act. This would require a minimum of two oil and gas lease sales a year in the Gulf of Mexico and in the Alaska Region of the Outer Continental Shelf, and prohibits future moratoriums or delays on oil and gas leasing.

The United States must continue to find ways to make itself stronger and more resilient. Stable and thriving domestic energy production is critical to our economic stability and national security. The time is long overdue to unleash America’s energy production and independence to fuel our industries, strengthen our national security and provide much needed relief to American families.