America is blessed with an abundance of natural energy resources. Geologists believe vast reserves of oil lie under the continental shelf off our Atlantic, Pacific, and Alaskan Arctic coasts. Enormous oil reserves are present in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and in the Green River Basin oil shale region of the American West. Except for about one-third of the oil shale region, all of these areas are under federal control.

Areas once thought to be depleted of energy reserves are now producing enormous quantities of American oil and natural gas from a relatively new recovery method known as hydraulic fracturing or fracking. This technology has in just a few years made America self-sufficient in national gas and has allowed our nation to cut oil imports from 60% of domestic use in 2005 to an estimated 21% in 2015. This new technology remains relatively free of federal regulation.

Demand for natural gas is in high demand overseas. Long-delayed export permits for U.S. produced liquefied natural gas (LNG) should be fast-tracked by the Department of Energy, despite bogus climate change concerns. American LNG exports to Europe would dramatically reduce European dependence on Russian-supplied natural gas. Thousands of American jobs would be created in the process.

The United States could become energy independent for a long time to come if the new production from fracking can be coupled with exploration and production in the federal areas described above, which have been virtually off-limits to energy exploration activity. Environmentalists’ concerns have hindered exploration under these federal areas for most of the past 35 years. Oil companies with leases off the Alaskan Arctic coast wait endlessly for approval of exploration and drilling permits. Under federal law, ANWR is off limits. These domestic drilling restrictions cost American workers thousands of jobs.

Until the United States becomes energy independent, we will rely on Islamic nations in OPEC and in Venezuela and Russia for some percentage of our domestic energy supply. Our purchase of imported oil funds many of the radicals around the world who want to destroy us. These foreign sources can cut off the oil spigots flowing to America anytime they want.

No new complex gasoline refineries with significant capacity have been built in the United States in the past 38 years, although fuel consumption during this time has increased over 50 percent. With refinery capacity limited, America faces the possibility of gasoline shortages in periods of high demand. Supply disruptions and the possibly of shortages drive up gasoline prices. Additional refinery capacity would help alleviate these problems. Burdensome environmental regulations discourage companies from building more refineries.

We need to put American ingenuity to work developing alternative energy sources, such as wind and solar energy and biofuels. But while we wait on these promising sources, America should not potentially be held hostage to foreign energy. All of our resources should be fully developed.

We need to support the expanded use of nuclear power to help meet America’s energy needs. The Yucca Mountain site in Nevada should be approved immediately as a national nuclear waste repository. The Obama Administration’s decision to close the site before it opened leaves the nation without a long term solution for storage of spent nuclear fuel, making future expansion of nuclear power more problematic.

The continued use of coal in is also necessary in meeting America’s energy needs. Coal is the most cost efficient means of generating electricity. Coal fired plants generate approximately 39% of the electrical power used in the United States. Included in this figure is electricity generated using lignite in the 1st Congressional district at the Red Hills Power Plant in Choctaw County. We need a Congressman who will work to amend the Clean Air Act to prevent EPA regulation of carbon dioxide emissions as an air pollutant.

Even with energy prices relatively low, we need conservative fighters in Congress who won’t rest until America becomes energy independent. Every avenue of American energy production and exportation should be pursued with federal cooperation and with the goal of minimal federal oversight.

Help me join the fight to make America energy independent in the United States House of Representatives.