Thomas Catenacci, DCNF
Republican Pennsylvania Rep. Fred Keller introduced a resolution Tuesday calling for the federal government to boost energy supply via expanded domestic drilling.
Keller’s resolution, which 20 other GOP lawmakers backed, said the U.S. must repeal federal precedent limiting exploration, drilling and production of fossil fuels on federal lands and waters, according to a copy of the document obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation. The Republicans also expressed support for increased domestic oil and gas drilling and argued the U.S. fossil fuel industry plays an important role in strengthening national security.
“At a time when we’re seeing the unrest around the world, when we’re seeing record inflation, when we see gas hit a new high of $4.37 a gallon, that just highlights the importance of us expressing clearly what the feeling of Congress is,” Keller told the DCNF in an interview.
Keller added that Americans began to see higher energy costs as soon as Biden took office in January 2021 and began pursuing an anti-fossil fuel agenda.
“We have an administration that has had an all out assault on American energy since January 20, 2021,” the Pennsylvania Republican continued.
The average price of gasoline nationwide surged to an all-time record of $4.37 per gallon while diesel fuel prices reached a record $5.56 a gallon on Tuesday. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has roiled global energy markets, leading to higher natural gas and crude oil prices worldwide.
Republicans have repeatedly urged the Biden administration to increase domestic production in the wake of the Ukraine crisis, introducing several pieces of legislation including the American Energy Independence from Russia Act which would boost U.S. oil and gas output and decrease dependence on foreign suppliers. But the administration has largely ignored such pleas, arguing that the energy industry “is set.”
“I’ve toured energy production in Pennsylvania, I’ve been in Oklahoma, I’ve been in Texas, I’ve been around the country looking at how Americans produce energy,” Keller told the DCNF. “There isn’t any place on the face of the Earth, other than the United States, that does it with the care, with the technology — just the right way — like we do here in America.”
“We should be embracing the great work that’s happening to reduce our emissions, provide good-paying jobs and provide Americans with affordable energy which leads to American energy dominance, a safer world and better economic climate,” he added.
The Department of the Interior finally released a plan to hold its first onshore lease sales under Biden on April 15, more than 10 months after a federal court struck down the administration’s moratorium on new leases in June 2021. The administration also failed to appeal a separate ruling that nixed a fall 2021 offshore lease sale and suggested in its FY23 budget that another offshore lease sale wouldn’t come until at least October 2023.
Domestic crude oil drilling has declined for three consecutive months between November-February, according to the latest federal data.
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