Rob Wittman's Weekly Update
The dog days of summer are rolling in, and things have been heating up across the First District and in Washington as I continue working to find solutions to the challenges facing our nation. These challenges are substantial, but they are not unsolvable, and the hearings and meetings I have in both Washington and Virginia are geared toward building a thorough understanding of the issues and generating thoughtful, healthy debates about possible solutions. A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to host a Bible study for some of my congressional colleagues, and as we prepared spiritually for the work week ahead, I was reminded of how important preparation is in policy-making. Whether we’re talking about energy independence, economic security and job growth, or military readiness, planning ahead is essential to success.
As an active member of the Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, I’ve advocated for an all-of-the-above energy strategy that meets our growing energy demands while also prioritizing the integrity of our natural resources and the safety of our people. Energy keeps America moving forward—it fuels our cars, powers our homes, and helps sustain our high standard of living—but for energy independence and safety to co-exist, we have to have a comprehensive plan that facilitates both the expansion of traditional energy resources and the development of market-based, renewable alternatives, like natural gas and solar and wind energy.
In the past five years, for instance, the U.S. has become a leader in oil and gas production, due in part to hydraulic fracturing (fracing), a process that helps operators access underground supplies of natural gas. The fracing process traditionally has been subject to state regulations that have successfully promoted both energy independence and environmental safety. Unfortunately, excessive federal regulation threatens to upset that balance. During July, I participated in a hearing to address inefficiencies in a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) rule that unnecessarily duplicates state regulations and overburdens the fracing process on federally managed lands. I believe that an important aspect of executing a responsible energy independence strategy is striking that proper balance on regulation. I am certainly opposed to federal rules that produce negative results and undermine successful state-level efforts to safely regulate energy exploration and development.
Preparation is equally (if not more) important when it comes to our military readiness, which is a term used to describe our force’s capabilities. Congress’ support for military and civilian leaders, as they work to keep our service members safe and protect American lives, is absolutely essential. Last week, I met with Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James to discuss Air Force priorities and explore how we can work together on behalf of our servicemen and women on housing, quality of life, and veterans issues. The health of our armed services depends significantly on our ability to be forward-thinking and realistic about our short- and long-term military needs.
The meetings I have in Virginia’s First District are also an instrumental part of my role as your representative. For example, I met with the Virginia Grain Producers Association in Tappahannock a few weeks ago to discuss agricultural issues and how I can help promote and strengthen our agricultural economy. Virginia’s farmers not only put food on our tables, they play a part in protecting our natural resources and fueling our cars. If you ever want to sit down with me to discuss your priorities, please let me know!
The main streets of Virginia’s First District are full of ideas to get our economy back on track, and your feedback is critically important to me as I serve you. I can be reached by telephone at (202) 225-4261, through my website (www.wittman.house.gov), on Facebook (www.facebook.com/