Representative Joe Wilson

Representing the 2nd District of South Carolina

COLUMN: Congressman Wilson Seeks to Ease Pain at the Pump

May 11, 2011
Op-Ed in the Lexington Chronicle
Over the last two years, the price of a gallon of gasoline has more than doubled. In January of 2009, the nationwide average was $1.84. Today, that same gallon could cost you $4.00. During his campaign, the President promised to skyrocket energy costs. Domestic oil production in the United States has decreased by 16% since 2010. Higher fuel costs affect so many aspects of our lives: grocery bills, commuting costs, and job opportunities just to name a few.

As Americans deal with these rising fuel costs, Congress’ role should be to act swiftly in forming a legitimate national energy plan. House Republicans are leading the way in implementing a sound plan called the American Energy Initiative. Aiming to stop policies that cause increases in gas prices, the American Energy Initiative seeks to expand domestic energy production while creating jobs here at home.
Last Thursday, House Republicans successfully passed H.R. 1230, The Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act, on the floor of the House of Representatives. This bill epitomizes the goal of the American Energy Initiative because it provides immediate relief at the gas pump while creating jobs for Americans.

The Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act will increase domestic energy production and create jobs by conducting oil and natural gas lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico and off the coast of Virginia. There was bipartisan support for this bill in Congress and it is a historic first step in the right direction for our country’s energy independence.

In 2007, the Bush Administration developed a five-year plan to determine not only where but when offshore energy production would occur. This plan included two lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico and one off the coast of Virginia in 2011. One more lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico was to take place in 2012. Unfortunately, the Obama Administration either delayed or cancelled all of these lease sales.
The Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act will reverse these delays and cancellations while moving forward with the energy production as originally scheduled. More importantly, this bill will require all four of the mentioned lease sales to occur before June 1, 2012, or within one year after enactment of the bill. House Republicans are addressing the need for both immediate relief from rising prices at the pump along with the long term vision of a domestic energy policy.

Americans are feeling pain at the pump now more than ever before. The national price of gas has more than doubled at the same time national unemployment figures are close to double digits. Consumers in America should not be held hostage by skyrocketing gas prices. For many families in the Second Congressional District, automobiles are a necessity that allow many constituents to travel to and from work, school, and everywhere in between. Many of us are sick and tired of seeing spikes in gas prices being caused by rising oil prices.
When the price of gas goes up, your wallet feels it first. House Republicans passed the Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act to start the movement toward becoming energy independent while creating jobs for Americans. This legislation is a step in the right direction and one I proudly support.