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OPINION: Energy policy that benefits the American people, not the Green Energy Lobby

Originally published in the Missoulian

The House Natural Resources Committee passed a comprehensive package to reverse President Biden’s attack on domestic energy production — H.R. 1, the Lower Energy Costs Act, will spur the responsible development of our nation’s energy and mineral resources. This legislation will immediately reverse Biden’s policies that force reliance on foreign resources, increase prices for every industry, and pose major national security issues. As I travel across Montana and meet with constituents, I hear the same thing: they want our federal government to remove the barriers that lead to the exorbitant energy costs that they face to operate their farms, businesses, and homes.

Restoring our nation’s energy dominance will require an all-of-the-above approach. In addition to resuming lease sales, this legislation will repeal harmful royalties and fee increases recently imposed by the Biden Administration, streamline the federal permitting process under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and require more transparency from the Department of the Interior, among many other provisions. These significant reforms cut through bureaucracy, provide needed updates to antiquated policies, and fight back against the radical environmentalist agenda, to allow our energy sector to get back to work for the American people.

Since Biden entered office, his Administration has held zero lease sales for energy resource development on public lands. Legislation that I introduced will resolve this – the Restore Onshore Energy Act is a major provision in this energy package. It would force the administration to immediately resume quarterly lease sales dictated in the Mineral Leasing Act and further requires the Department of the Interior to immediately hold replacement sales when sales are missed.

As our nation’s energy policies currently stand, we will continue to fall behind our adversaries, whose goal is to be world leaders in energy and mineral production. In the nearly 30 years from 1995 to 2022, the United States’ share of global copper supply shrunk from 23 percent down to 4 percent. In the same time frame, China has gone from having a 3 percent share of global copper supply to over 42 percent. As long as we continue to be reliant on China and other countries, our self-reliance and, in turn, our national security will continue to be compromised.

We know that energy independence isn’t just a critical component of our national security and supply chain, but it also affects agriculture, the largest industry in Montana. The President’s policies caused a 150 percent increase in transportation diesel prices since he took office. This directly contributes to market access complications for farmers and ranchers, for an increase in shipping costs, but also an increase in input costs like fertilizer, pesticides, labor, and many others. All of this results in higher food prices at the grocery store and a decrease in revenue margins for agricultural producers. Signing the Lower Energy Costs Act into law would immediately reduce the suffering Montanans are experiencing as a direct result of Biden’s failed green energy policies.

In the words of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, “farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you're a thousand miles from the cornfield.” It’s time for Congress to stand up to unelected bureaucrats and radical environmentalists controlling our executive branch and setting policies without regard for the impact they will have on people in Montana and real America. It is critically important that Congress passes legislation to empower the American people and develop the United States’ wealth of energy and mineral resources.