Senator Cruz leads colleagues in letter urging President Biden to take action to cut energy prices ahead of winter

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WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and 18 of his Senate colleagues this week sent a letter to President Biden outlining steps the administration can take to cut energy prices and cut energy shortages this winter. Solutions proposed by senators include lifting the ban on sales of oil and gas leases on federal lands and waters, accelerating approvals from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the Corps of the military and interagency coordination to approve pipeline projects, and the end of regulatory uncertainty that stifles investment. in energy.

Co-signers of the letter include Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Cynthia Lummis (R- Wyo.), Jerry Moran (R- Kan.), James Risch (R-Idaho), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Thom Tillis (RN.C.), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Cindy Hyde -Smith (R-Miss.), John Kennedy (R-La.), Kevin Cramer (RN.D.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), John Hoeven (RN.D.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.).), James Lankford (R -Okla.) And Todd Young (R-Ind.).

In the letter, the members wrote:

“Even before colder temperatures set in, natural gas inventories across the country are 5.5% below the five-year average, and demand has increased as the economy continues to recover. Due to lower supply and higher demand, natural gas prices are more than 250% higher than they were at the same time last year and the Energy Information Agency ( EIA) expects natural gas prices to rise even more this winter due to supply projections.

[…]

“After many conversations over the past year with domestic power producers, the main reason they cite for these higher and rising prices is the decline in investment in our generation due to regulatory uncertainty. Business leaders are reluctant to make complex, long-term investments in expensive new wells, pipelines and other infrastructure essential to increase production and keep energy prices in the United States if these projects are delayed or too long. burdened by costly new regulations or taxes.

Read the full text of the letter here and below.

November 4, 2021

President Joseph R. Biden

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Biden,

As American families and businesses approach the 2021-2022 winter season, rising energy prices and potential energy shortages are of universal concern, regardless of political party.

Even before colder temperatures set in, natural gas inventories across the country are 5.5% below the five-year average, and demand has increased as the economy continues to recover. Due to lower supply and higher demand, natural gas prices are more than 250% higher than they were at the same time last year and the Energy Information Agency ( EIA) expects natural gas prices to rise even more this winter based on supply projections.

These price increases are expected to increase the heating bills of the 47 percent of U.S. homes that depend on natural gas for heat and the 40 percent of U.S. homes that are heated with electricity,[5] whose price increasingly reflects that of natural gas. Likewise, the average price of fuel oil and propane is already double what it was a year ago, and prices are expected to continue rising this winter.

Rather than looking to foreign countries like Russia, Venezuela and Iran to outsource a solution or advocate with a cartel like the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to increase production, oil producers American energy can solve this shortage for the benefit of all Americans.

After many conversations over the past year with domestic power producers, the main reason they cite for these higher and rising prices is the decline in investment in our generation due to regulatory uncertainty.

Business leaders are reluctant to make complex, long-term investments in expensive new wells, pipelines and other infrastructure essential to increase production and maintain energy prices in the United States if these projects are delayed or too long. burdened by costly new regulations or taxes. There is no doubt that your administration heard this concern directly from U.S. energy producers when White House staff asked for help from domestic oil and gas producers to help reduce energy prices in the United States. United States.[8] While consulting with energy producers is a step in the right direction, your administration can take several immediate and reasonable steps to increase natural gas supply and reduce prices, without sacrificing safety or environmental stewardship.

1. Lift the ban on the sale of oil and gas concessions on federal lands and waters.

While your administration has set itself the goal of reducing carbon dioxide emissions, certain actions by your administration have gone against your stated goal. Since 2005, US energy production has increased dramatically while at the same time, the country’s total energy-related carbon dioxide emissions have fallen by 16%. This reduction is largely due to the use of clean and abundant natural gas,[10] partly federal lands and waters, which would otherwise be replaced by more emission-intensive energy sources imported from overseas.

On January 27, 2021, you signed Executive Decree 14008: “Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad” by which your administration ended all rentals of oil and gas on public lands and waters . With this action, your administration has limited access to the very sources of energy that have enabled our nation to reduce its emissions. The Home Office should immediately restart the rental of public land and water and also ensure that future rental sales will continue in order to send a strong signal to energy producers that supply will be available to meet demands. present and future energies.

2. Speed ​​up licensing from FERC, US Army Corps, and interagency coordination to approve energy-clearing pipeline projects.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) was established in 1977 in response to the national energy crisis and its mission is to help consumers obtain economically efficient, safe, reliable and secure energy services at a reasonable cost. . Unfortunately, in recent years, FERC approvals and coordination with other federal agencies have slowed natural gas transmission projects, leading to bottlenecks across the country.

The FERC, along with federal agencies such as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), should insist that any interstate transportation of natural gas that meets environmental and safety regulations is within the national interest – because without reliable and affordable natural gas, home heating will be extremely expensive, if not impossible, for many families this winter.

3. End the regulatory uncertainty that is stifling energy investments.

Finally, to mitigate increases in natural gas prices, your administration should end the regulatory uncertainty plaguing our economy by publicly announcing that it will not support any future regulations that inhibit or tax existing natural gas production levels or short term. For example, you should no support:

  • Restrictive changes to EPA methane regulations on existing oil and gas infrastructure or operations;
  • Prohibitive revisions to the rules of the National Environmental Policy Act of the Council on Environmental Quality;
  • Unnecessary changes to US Army Corps of Engineers national permits (in particular, NWP 12 for linear infrastructure, including pipelines);
  • Inhibitory Changes to the Clean Water Act Section 401 Certification Process;
  • Expansion of the definition of “United States waters”; and
  • Any proposal to ban imports or exports of natural gas.

In summary, as President of the United States, you have the power to unlock our nation’s clean, abundant and affordable natural gas resources for the benefit of all Americans and the world. This is especially critical for the millions of Americans heading into winter who are worried about how they will warm up. We are committed to helping your administration if you want to work together in a bipartisan fashion to chart a new course that sets the kind of regulatory framework and legislative priorities that will increase home energy production.

Truly,

/ s /

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