We need forward thinking to increase energy independence
by John Kline
Special to Sun Thisweek
Cindy is a single mom living in the suburbs. Like most Minnesotans, she drives to work.
“With the low income I receive and the tremendous increase in gas prices, I am questioning whether or not I can stay in this job,” she told me. “Since jobs are difficult to find, I might not have a choice, (but) the results are devastating and affect me as a consumer in so many ways.”
Cindy’s account is representative of the frustration Minnesotans are experiencing day to day, week to week, paycheck to paycheck, and gas pump to gas pump.
“With gas prices increasing, food prices increase, clothing prices increase, etc,” she said. “It is a snowball effect, affecting consumers in all areas of their lives … making it nearly impossible to make ends meet financially. Something has to give.”
Last month, the president told leaders in Congress he would join us in working to develop “an all of the above” energy strategy. For years, I have been championing a comprehensive approach that would reduce our dependence on hostile regions of the world and increase all forms of American energy. My plan is based around stopping government policies that are driving up energy prices and expanding American energy production to lower costs and create more jobs.
In January 2009, the average price of gas nationwide was approximately $1.80 per gallon. Three years later, it has more than doubled, and recent news reports suggest we will be seeing $4 per gallon gas in Minnesota soon. Not long after his inauguration, the president introduced his first major energy initiative: a national energy tax that, according to him, would cause rates to skyrocket. Shortly thereafter, he plugged stimulus dollars into the now-defunct Solyndra, which has cost American taxpayers nearly a half billion dollars.
Meanwhile, in the U.S. House of Representatives, my colleagues and I have passed at least seven bipartisan job-creating energy bills that currently await a vote in the U.S. Senate. These policies – available for review on my website – allow us to harness our abundant supply of natural resources in America, develop new sources of energy, and create jobs here at home.
Washington is all too willing to play the blame game with high gas prices. But Minnesotans don’t want to hear it, and I don’t want to play it. Rather than focus on political winners and losers in the energy debate, we need to remember people like Cindy, a single young mother in the suburbs doing what she can to provide for her family. Rising prices at the pump shouldn’t compel Cindy and others like her to ponder whether or not she should keep her job or choose between gas and groceries.
Rising gas prices hurt families, commuters, job seekers, and small business owners. We need to work together to pass reforms and remove roadblocks to provide relief at the pump and create jobs, including a forward-thinking solution that includes oil, natural gas, nuclear, and clean renewable energies. As one constituent told me last week, “We need to start being part of the process.”
The time for unlocking America’s abundant energy resources is overdue. The clock is ticking. Cindy can’t wait. Minnesotans can’t wait. America can’t wait.
John Kline, R-Lakeville, represents Minnesota’s 2nd Congressional District. He and his wife, Vicky, live in Lakeville. Columns reflect the opinion of the author.