As of today, the price for a gallon of regular gasoline in Jonesboro is $3.45. Just a year ago that same gallon of regular gasoline would have cost $2.96. We have all heard news reports that gas could hit a record $5.00 a gallon this summer. I talked to a factory worker this week in Mountain Home who is already spending 20 percent of his monthly income on gas. At a time when our economy is struggling, higher gas prices will put a huge burden on working families trying to make ends meet. The rising cost of gas not only affects Arkansans at the pump, it will also drive up the cost of goods and services.
When Congress gets back to Washington next week we will continue debate on the American Energy & Infrastructure Jobs Act, that would permanently remove government barriers to production of American energy while creating jobs and lowering gas prices for families across the country. President Obama has repeatedly said that he now supports American energy production. Signing the American Energy & Infrastructure Jobs Act would be a great opportunity for President Obama to match his rhetoric with action and support this pro-energy, pro-jobs effort.
Developing the energy resources we have right here in North America can lower gas prices and lessen our dependency on Middle Eastern oil. The American Energy & Infrastructure Jobs Act takes three huge steps forward in developing resources at home:
• The legislation requires approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline within 30 days. President Obama’s rejection of the Keystone project last month will hit working families at the pump this summer. We must approve the Keystone Pipeline.
• The American Energy & Infrastructure Jobs Act would open huge areas in the American West for oil shale development to provide oil and natural gas. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates we have the equivalent of more than 1.5 trillion barrels of oil in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. That’s six times Saudi Arabia’s proven reserves, and enough to provide the United States with energy for 200 years.
• The Obama Administration recently announced plans to restrict off-shore drilling for another five years. After the BP oil spill, strict new regulations were put in place to allow for safe and responsible drilling. Now we just need the Obama Administration to lift the ban on drilling. The American Energy & Infrastructure Jobs Act would resume the sale of offshore oil leases and expend American energy production.
We are blessed to live in a land with abundant natural resources. We need a federal government that will get out of the way so that we can develop those resources. Not only will these projects help American families meet their energy needs, they will also create thousands of jobs in the process. America does not have to be at the mercy of foreign governments to meet our current and future energy needs. As gas prices creep higher each day we should become less dependent on Middle Eastern oil. I will continue working to develop the energy resources we have right here in North America to secure our economic future and to put more Americans to work.