A strong energy plan is important for USAPublished 9:30am Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Column: Guest Column, by Jim Hagedorn
Over the last 100 years, the United States became the world’s preeminent industrial and technological power due in large measure to having abundant, reliable and low-cost energy. Indeed, energy is the lifeblood of our economy and it sustains virtually every aspect of our American way of life.
I am an unapologetic proponent of bold national policies to foster private sector development of all available U.S. energy resources, including exploring for fossil fuels on public lands and developing technologies to more efficiently utilize renewable energy platforms. I also support initiatives to build the infrastructure needed to efficiently transport, refine, process and utilize U.S. energy resources. Importantly, these policies will lead to an energy-independent America.
Energy independence is an economic and national security issue. Increased development of U.S. energy resources offers many benefits, such as expanding our struggling economy, creating badly needed high-paying jobs, reinvigorating domestic manufacturing, enhancing global competiveness for U.S. industries and placing downward pressure on fuel, electricity and product costs for American businesses and consumers. Energy independence also will allow our country to execute a foreign policy with less emphasis or concern for OPEC and Middle East oil politics.
According to the Congressional Research Service, the United States has more recoverable oil, coal and natural gas reserves than any other nation on earth. New technologies are making energy-rich lands, once thought impossible to develop, ripe for exploration and extraction. Neighboring North Dakota’s energy boom — occurring on state and private lands generally off limits to federal regulatory meddling — offers a glimpse of America’s energy potential.
Energy independence is within our grasp; all we need is new leadership in Washington, D.C. Sadly, President Barack Obama and devoted followers like liberal Democratic Congressman Tim Walz continue to place the whims of environmental extremists ahead of energy exploration, economic growth and lower prices for staple goods.
Obama and Walz represent the narrow mindset that is limiting our country’s energy potential, mostly due to religious-like devotion to the politics of global warming. Congressman Walz’s liberal record is littered with striking energy policy failures.
Mr. Walz’s vote in favor of cap and trade is particularly telling. Cap and trade is a big government program that limits U.S. energy exploration, places American industries at a global disadvantage and grants the federal government with control over the economy and our personal lives. Cap and trade will further elevate gas and diesel prices, increase farm operation costs by an average of 5 percent and make electricity bills “necessarily skyrocket,” as then-presidential candidate Obama famously stated in 2008.
Mr. Walz also supports the EPA’s War on Coal — proposed global warming regulations that effectively impose cap and trade via bureaucratic fiat and ban construction and modernization of coal-fired power plants and industrial facilities. It apparently makes no difference to Congressman Walz that coal is by far our nation’s most prevalent and cheapest source of electricity and provides a huge share of the base-load power that augments renewable energy. Lastly, Mr. Walz inflexibly opposes oil and gas exploration on proven energy-rich federal lands, such as in Alaska and the Outer Continental Shelf.
Unlike Tim Walz, I am not beholden to the radical anti-energy elements of the Democratic Party. In fact, I am committed to oil and gas exploration on federal lands; common sense policies to sustain the coal industry; construction of new nuclear power plants and development of emerging and safe nuclear technologies; continued development and use of renewable energy (including ethanol, biodiesel, wind, solar, hydropower and geothermal), and commonsense conservation.
Additionally, once elected to Congress I will use my experience as a successful federal government reformer to help defeat the EPA bureaucrats and pave-the-way for construction of new pipelines (including the Keystone XL), refineries and the other critical infrastructure projects needed to efficiently and fully utilize America’s array of expanding energy resources.
We all pay more when energy prices are high. Families on tight budgets pay more for gas and food, seniors on fixed incomes pay more to heat their homes, farmers with squeezed profit margins pay more for fertilizer and diesel fuel and small businesses pay more to transport products to market.
As your Congressman, you can count on me to fight for a bold and rational national energy policy to strengthen America, spur economic growth and jobs, respect your personal liberty and offer much needed financial relief to you and your family.
Blue Earth businessman Jim Hagedorn is a Republican candidate for Congress in Minnesota’s 1st District.