Monday, June 30, 2014

Achieving American Energy Independence Will Reduce Gas Prices and Create Virginia Jobs

Congressman Robert Hurt

Weekly Column 6/30/14


With Independence Day approaching, AAA estimates that a record 1.16 million Virginians will hit the road for the July 4th weekend.  Whether you are going out of town or just driving to see your local display of fireworks, you are certainly continuing to feel the significant pain at the pump that has plagued our country for the last several years.  It is hard to believe that only five short years ago, the national average price for a gallon of gas was $2.35 compared to $3.68 today.  I often hear from constituents throughout the Fifth District about how today’s high energy costs are significantly harming our families, Main Street businesses, and family farms, all of which are struggling with higher costs not only for fuel, but also the goods and services that depend on fuel.  The increased electricity rates, grocery prices, and transportation costs make it harder and harder for families to achieve or maintain financial stability.


Last week, the House of Representatives once again took action to alleviate the effects of high fuel prices by approving H.R. 4899, the Lowering Gasoline Prices to Fuel an America that Works Act.  I was proud to support this measure, which expands onshore energy production, streamlines permitting processes, and reduces unnecessary red tape.  This bill represents a significant milestone in our goal to achieve energy independence by easing government regulations that hamper American energy production and job creation.  It also represents a central piece of our ‘all of the above’ energy strategy that includes increased oil and gas production, including off of Virginia’s coast, the use of alternative energies, as well as conservation. 


Over the last five years, this administration has unnecessarily restricted energy production on federal lands and canceled lease sales on over 85 percent of our domestic offshore areas.  It is time that we take advantage of the numerous natural resources Virginia has to offer and overcome the barriers to energy independence and job creation that this administration has created.   These proposals have enjoyed strong bipartisan and bicameral support for many years, and it is my hope that our colleagues in the Senate will help us to advance these policies and in turn create thousands of new Virginia jobs.


I am pleased that the House of Representatives has acted to encourage the creation of new jobs and lighten the burden on our hardworking families and small businesses, while harnessing the natural resources we have here in the United States.   I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues to create a sensible and robust domestic energy policy that increases our energy security and strengthens our economy, and I hope the Senate and the President will join us in this crucial effort.


If you need any additional information, please visit my website at or call my Washington office: (202) 225-4711, Charlottesville office: (434) 973-9631, Danville office: (434) 791-2596, or Farmville office: (434) 395-0120.