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Cruz: Embrace the American Energy Renaissance

Previews bill to unleash good-paying jobs for Americans

WASHINGTON, DC -– U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, today outlined his vision for unleashing American jobs and opportunity by harnessing our nation’s energy resources. He spoke at the Heritage Action for America’s 2014 Conservative Policy Summit.

“A Great American Energy Renaissance is at our fingertips,” Sen. Cruz said. “There is only one thing that will stop us from embracing it to its full potential: the federal government. Nothing else will stop the next generation of American energy pioneers. It won’t be lack of determination, ingenuity, or grit. It will be some faceless bureaucrat who simply says, ‘You’re not allowed to do that.’

“Yes, President Obama should drop his political opposition to the Keystone XL oil pipeline. But we also need to think bigger than a single pipeline. Here we stand at the edge of an energy revolution that is sweeping the nation, providing an untold number of new opportunities and well-paying jobs.”

“The government will not solve our economic problems by controlling the economy or placing bureaucratic barriers to growth. The only thing that it must do is what it did in the Ronald Reagan era: get out of our way and let Americans do what they do best: dream, innovate, and prosper. It’s happening in Texas and it's happening in North Dakota. Now, we just have to convince Washington to let it spread through the rest of America.”

In the coming days, Sen. Cruz will present a bill outlining steps to expand energy exploration, stop harmful regulations, and eliminate barriers to trade and infrastructure development so as to allow the creation of private sector jobs and economic growth.

I. Prevent the Federal Government From Undermining the American Energy Renaissance and the Jobs It Creates (1-5)

1) Prevent Federal Regulation of Hydraulic Fracturing.

  • Leave regulation of hydraulic fracturing in state hands

2) Improve Domestic Refining Capacity.

  • Streamline the permitting process for upgrading and building new refineries
  • Repeal the Renewable Fuel Standard

3) Improve Process to Develop Energy Infrastructure.

  • Approve and allow private sector to build the Keystone pipeline
  • Remove barriers to developing and approving additional national pipelines and cross-border energy infrastructure

4) Stop EPA Overreach and the War on Coal.

  • Exclude greenhouse gases from regulation by EPA and other federal agencies
  • Stop certain EPA regulations that will adversely impact coal and electric power plants

5) Force Congress and the President to Vote on EPA Regulations that Kill Jobs.

  • Require both Congress and the President to approve any EPA regulation that has a negative job impact
  • Support passage of the REINS Act, separate piece of legislation not included in this bill, which would require congressional approval of all major rules and regulations.

II. Expand Energy Development So More Private Sector Jobs Can Be Created (6-9)

6) Broaden Energy Development on Federal Land.

  • Increase energy development on federal land
  • Provide states the option of leasing, permitting and regulating energy resources on federal lands within their borders; or
  • If states do not wish to manage energy development on federal lands within their borders, the federal leasing, permitting and regulating will be reformed to increase energy development by:
    • Streamlining permitting for development on federal lands
    • Improving certainty in the leasing and development process
    • Expanding development of energy on federal lands
  • Expand energy development in National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska
  • Expand energy development on Indian lands
  • Open up the Coastal Plain of Alaska (ANWR) for development

7) Open Offshore Exploration.

  • Expand the offshore areas of the Outer Continental Shelf available for development
  • Streamline the permitting process for additional offshore exploration

8) Expand U.S. Energy Exports.

  • Expand LNG exports by facilitating permits
  • End the crude oil export ban
  • Prevent excessively broad environmental review of coal export terminals

9) Dedicate Additional Revenues to a Trust Fund for Debt Reduction

  • Direct all additional revenues generated by exploration and drilling on federal lands (excluding the share allocated to the states) exclusively to national debt reduction—“Debt Freedom Fund.”

Speech excerpts:

“In the State of Texas doesn't matter where you are, you can be in East Texas, up in the Pan Handle or Rio Grand Valley, over and over again when you ask Americans what their top priority, the answer over and over again is restoring jobs, restoring economic growth.

“Today what I want to talk to you about is one specific avenue we can pursue to restore growth.

“We are seeing the beginning of an American energy renaissance. And if the federal government doesn't get in the way and mess it up, that has the potential to transform the situation for so many people who are struggling.

“Take a look at a state like North Dakota. The President has told us he wants to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. Now what he doesn't confront is that the real Obama minimum wage is zero dollars because that's what everyone who has lost their jobs under the crushing taxes and crushing regulations is getting right now, is zero dollars with the Obama minimum wage.

“If you look at North Dakota, the average hourly wage in the oil and gas industry in North Dakota is $45.90 an hour. I'm a lot more interested in generating lots of jobs at those wage levels where people can provide for their family than continuing the path where more and more people who are struggling lose their jobs.

“In North Dakota, which is experiencing a boom because of shale gas and oil, the unemployment rate is 2.6%. In North Dakota, does anyone know the hourly pay for a cashier at Walmart? $17.50. In North Dakota, McDonald's is offering a $300 signing bonus because people can make so much in the oil fields it's hard to get people to flip burgers. That's the potential of growth.

“And it's happening in my home state of Texas as well. The Dallas Morning News reported last year that in West Texas, the flood of money and workers into the region is impossible to miss. Increased oil revenue is turning around poorer school districts. A high school graduate can earn more than $80,000 driving trucks. From 2001 to 2012, the number of Texas upper middle-income jobs grew 24.2%.

“We're seeing that as well in Pennsylvania and parts of Ohio, as they're taking advantage of the Marcellus Shale. Even so, it is striking if you look at the Marcellus shale, the shale doesn't end at the border between Pennsylvania and New York. But the jobs do. The jobs end because in New York they don't allow fracking.

“Now there is one thing and only one thing that can stop us from achieving the full potential of this energy renaissance and that is the government.

“Economic growth, the energy revolution, didn't come from the U.S. Department of Energy. It didn't come from any government agency. It didn't come from a grant program picking this is how we're going to transform energy. It didn't even come, with all due respect to our wonderful host, from a think tank in Washington. It came from entrepreneurs putting capital at risk and meeting a need.

“We cannot believe that government invents, creates or produces. It doesn't. What it often does it stifles creativity, invention, production. The only thing that can stop this great energy renaissance is the government getting in the way. And I will note, particularly with this administration, it's been doing that more and more. Right now, federal lands contain 43% of the nation's oil reserves and 28% of the nation's natural gas reserves. But significant portions of that land are not available for development. The number of new leases has fallen by 42%.

“President Obama's former Secretary of Energy… recently observed that the delay with the keystone pipeline is not scientific. It's political. There have been five environmental reviews, each of which has concluded the keystone pipeline does not raise significant environmental concerns; yet, it has not gone forward because this administration continues to block it. Tens of thousands of high-paying jobs with the stroke of a pen the private sector could be allowed to create, but this administration is not stroking that pen.

“But here's the point, as much as we need to approve the Keystone Pipeline, we need to think far broader than that. We need to do far more.

“In coming weeks, I will be introducing a bill, the American Energy Renaissance Act, that is designed to do two significant things. Number one, to prevent the federal government from stopping the energy renaissance that is blossoming across the country. And number two, to expand the lands, the resources that are available for the private sector to develop so that we can answer what the American people are asking for which is jobs and economic growth. This opportunity is right in front of us. If the federal government will simply listen to the American people.”