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America's Energy Future

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

It’s no secret that our nation is in the midst of an energy crisis. In just over one year, Americans have seen gas prices double. Families are suffering and many are struggling to pay their bills and make ends meet. Congress needs to do everything in its power to increase American-made energy production and exploration now. Congress must support an All-of-the-Above energy reform strategy which would bring to the table all available domestic energy sources to provide American motorists the relief they deserve. That means drilling in ANWR, off-shore, and in the shale oil-rich Mountain West. But, it has become increasingly clear that the production of renewable energy is vital to the All-of- the-Above plan.

Recently, I introduced legislation in the House that would provide tax incentives for renewable energy sources to help encourage production and research into ground-breaking energy technologies. My bill, the Promoting New American Energy Act, would accelerate tax depreciation for investments in domestic renewable energy. By encouraging greater investment in solar, wind, geothermal, biodiesel, and more, these alternatives become a bigger part of our arsenal of energy options more quickly.

According to a study by the nonprofit, nonpartisan American Council for Capital Formation, investments in alternative energy experience less favorable tax depreciation in the United States compared to many other countries. My legislation will put America on better footing globally and take us one step closer to increasing our domestic energy production, making us a global leader in energy production.

Last month, I joined nine House Republican colleagues on an American Energy Tour to examine key national energy sources in Colorado and Alaska. While in Colorado, we visited the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), a facility which focuses completely on creating and improving clean energy production for America using renewable sources. This cutting edge laboratory has some of America’s brightest scientists and technicians working to improve renewable energy efficiency for our country’s energy future.

Renewable energy is currently a sort of second-class citizen in the United States because of its high cost. According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), renewable energy plants are generally more expensive to operate than plants using coal and natural gas. But we’re leaving real solutions behind by not changing this disincentive. Tax incentives for renewable plants would help equalize the financial burden, creating more energy production and a number of new domestic jobs.

It’s places like NREL that are essential to decreasing our nation’s gas costs and weaning us from dependence on foreign oil. Instead of refusing to address our rising fuel prices, Congress must support commonsense proposals like the Promoting New American Energy Act, to provide relief for America’s hurting families.

Currently, we are the only country in the world that discourages the use of its own energy resources. Instead of increasing the production of wind, solar and other alternatives and instead of accessing vast reserves of domestic oil and natural gas, we have been forced to import 10 million barrels of crude oil and 1.3 million barrels of refined gasoline every day to meet our energy needs. The United States has the ability to be energy independent. And, we have the knowledge and expertise to procure and refine these products, get them to the pump, and create thousands of American jobs in the process.

Sadly, rather than allowing a vote on legislation to increase domestic energy exploration, the Democrat-led Congress closed down the House and adjourned for August vacation. With the American people unable to afford to go on vacations of their own – due to rising food and gas costs- Congress arrogantly ignored their cries for help.

The fact of the matter is that Congress needs to stop obstructing the way to reasonable energy costs. It’s imperative that Washington end its political games and get behind efforts to make a difference. American ingenuity and our innate thirst for innovation are two of our most powerful weapons in this crisis. If Congress provides American businesses with the tools needed to encourage investment, to support research, and increase production, we can lower our current sky-rocketing energy costs. The United States has the resources available to decrease our dependence on foreign oil and bring gas costs back down to $2 a gallon. We need the political will to do it.

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