Randy's Blog

RSS Feed
Posted by Randy | May 02, 2014

On September 19, 2008, backers of the Keystone XL pipeline first submitted an application to the U.S. State Department to build this energy infrastructure project, designed to bring both jobs and greater energy security to the United States of America.

It’s been over five years since that day.
This past January, the State Department issued its Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the permit application, confirming the project is safe and will have limited environmental impacts. Despite this, the Obama Administration recently announced that it is indefinitely extending its long-awaited review of the Keystone XL pipeline. 

It is unacceptable for politics to continue to delay a project that will spur economic growth and move us towards greater energy independence.  It’s been 5 long years. Americans are waiting. It is time to build. Click here to share on facebook.                                       

 I have supported the Northern Route Approval Act (H.R. 3), which removes any need for presidential approval of the pipeline, and the Keystone For a Secure Tomorrow Act (H.R. 334), which would allow Congress to directly and immediately approve the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline.
Posted by Randy | August 17, 2012
Reuters reported this week that the White House was considering releasing oil from the United States’ Strategic Petroleum Reserve if gasoline prices do not fall after September 3rd. in order to provide some relief at the gas pump just two months before the November 6th election.

Oil prices have risen sharply in recent weeks, rising 30 cents to $3.71 per gallon, according to AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge Report.

The Strategic Petroleum Reserve is the Department of Energy’s emergency fuel storage of oil, along the U.S. Gulf coast, with a capacity of 727 million barrels of oil.  According to Bloomberg Business Week, the reserve “currently has 696 million barrels of crude, the equivalent of 80 days worth of oil imports.”

The Department of Energy (DOE) states on its website, “The Strategic Petroleum Reserve exists, first and foremost, as an emergency response tool the President can use should the United States be confronted with an economically-threatening disruption in oil supplies.”

According to the DOE, a Presidentially-directed release has occurred three times under these conditions. First, in 1991, at the beginning of Operation Desert Storm, the United States joined its allies in assuring the adequacy of global oil supplies when war broke out in the Persian Gulf. The second was in September 2005 after Hurricane Katrina devastated the oil production, distribution, and refining industries in the Gulf regions of Louisiana and Mississippi. The third was announced on June 23, 2011 for 30 million barrels of petroleum to be released to offset the disruption in global oil supplies caused by unrest in Libya and other countries.

A 2011 Congressional Research Service report noted that while the reserve has traditionally been tied to a shortage of oil supplies, “price was deliberately kept out of the president’s . . . drawdown authority because of concerns about what price level would trigger a drawdown, and that any hint of a price threshold could influence private sector and industry inventory practices.”

Question of the week:
Do you support tapping into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to attempt to temporarily alleviate gas prices at the pump?

( ) Yes

( ) No

( ) Other (share your thoughts on my blog here).

Take the poll here.

Find out the results of last week's instapoll here.
Posted by Randy | May 03, 2012
Did you know that opening new offshore areas for American energy exploration could bring a potential 1,900 jobs to Virginia?

Domestic energy production remains an industry where there is significant room for growth and job creation. Yet, the Department of the Interior recently cancelled Virginia's scheduled offshore lease sale for 2011, pushing any possible lease sales to 2018, and the Administration has rejected opening the Keystone XL pipeline, despite the fact that it could create thousands of jobs.

Greater domestic energy production means more jobs for American citizens and we need to take advantage of the opportunity to develop our domestic energy resources, including those available in Virginia (In fact, Governor McDonnell recently signed energy legislation from the Virginia General Assembly that would advance Virginia as the energy capital of the East Coast.)

I have made it a priority in Congress to encourage the development of new energy sources with my New Manhattan Project for Energy Independence, support efforts to increase off-shore drilling, and call for the opening of the Keystone XL Pipeline to reduce our dependency on foreign oil. I’ve also fought against costly regulations that have caused companies like Dominion Power to close plants in Virginia.

The energy industry is ripe to bring more jobs and investment to the Commonwealth and across the United States.

Read more about my work for jobs in Virginia’s Fourth District in this detailed memo.
Posted by Randy | March 02, 2012
This week, the national average hit $3.698 a gallon, according to AAA. The LA Times reports “U.S. motorists have seen the national average for regular gasoline rise above $3.50 a gallon in just three different years, but it has never happened this early. Analysts said the early price shocker is likely a sign that pain at the pump will rise to some of the highest levels ever this year.”  McClatchy Newspapers raises concerns about the impact of high gas prices not just on consumers, but also on economic recovery: “By summer, some analysts said, you could be paying $4 for a gallon of gas, almost as high as the record set in the summer of 2008. A price that high could cripple the still-fragile recovery, as millions of Americans might decide to spend their just-renewed payroll tax cut on gas instead of a new clothes dryer or TV set.”  The rising cost of crude oil across the globe and increasing tensions in the Middle East suggest that prices will continue to skyrocket in coming months, hitting hardworking taxpayers.

Question of the Week: With gas prices spiking at the pump, what solutions do you support to reduce American dependence on foreign oil? 

(  ) I support offshore drilling.
(  ) I support opening the Keystone pipeline to deliver oil from the tar sands of Canada to refineries in Houston.
(  ) I support increasing exploration of natural gas.
(  ) I support aggressively pursuing renewable energy development.
(  ) I support comprehensive solutions like the New Manhattan Project that bring together scientists and researchers in the U.S. in a competitive format for innovative solutions.
(  ) Other (leave your comment below)
(  ) I am unsure.

Take the poll here.

Find the results of last week’s instaPoll here.
Posted by Randy | February 29, 2012
A snapshot of gas prices in America (from the Republican Study Committee):

How are rising gas prices affecting your family? Read about my work to address rising energy costs here.
Posted by Randy | June 22, 2011
Although the gas price average has fallen to $3.67 a gallon from almost $4 a gallon in a month, gas prices are still $1 higher than they were this time last year.

According to an article this week in the Wall Street Journal, these high gas prices continue to place a significant strain on small businesses, especially those businesses that are based on the delivery of goods or products, or those businesses that rely heavily on gas powered machines, like lawn care companies. Many of these businesses have been forced to increase prices on their customers to offset higher gasoline costs. And, the more small businesses and companies have to put in the gas tank, the fewer workers they will hire.

As a nation, we count on small businesses to grow and create jobs. As a result, any effective economic recovery efforts must include a plan for relief at the pump.  This means working to increase our domestic fuel production, improve the fuel efficiency of our vehicles, intensify our renewable energy development, and cut our fuel usage.  I recently discussed my work to increase our nation’s energy independence and get gas prices under control in my Capitol Monitor newsletter. You can read that plan here.

Are you a small business owner? Have you felt the strain of high gas prices on your business?
Posted by Randy | June 02, 2011
The energy industry has the potential to create thousands of jobs nationwide.  However, due to a broken federal regulatory system, many potential job creators experience lengthy delays or unexplained rejections when applying for energy permits.  I believe that American citizens deserve to know the costs and burdens that the federal regulatory system has on those wishing to obtain energy permits to grow businesses, create jobs, and increase our nation’s energy capacity.  As a result, I am cosponsoring the Regulatory Openness, Accountability and Disclosure (ROADS) to Jobs Act.

This bill would require the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), which is responsible for issuing energy-related permits, to present an annual report to Congress with the total number of permit requests that have been submitted as well as the total number of requests that have been rejected or simply delayed.  CEQ’s report would also include a description of the economic impact of failing to issue each permit and would also track the current progress of all permit applications.

In so doing, Congress will have increased oversight ability to hold the CEQ accountable for failing to issue energy-related permits or unnecessarily delaying the process.  Click here to see the estimated, undiscovered, economically recoverable resources in the United States that can lead to thousands of new jobs.

How do you think the ROADS Act will impact the United States and businesses that have previously been denied energy permits in the past?
Posted by Randy | May 10, 2011

National Average: $3.951
Week Ago Average: $3.967
Year Ago Average: $2.908

Currently, about 60% of the 7 billion barrels of oil consumed in the U.S. each year is imported from the Middle East and other volatile parts of the world. The Department of Defense (DoD) is the largest consumer of the U.S. energy supply, requiring around 130 million barrels of fuel to maintain U.S. military operations.

The DoD’s reliance on fossil fuels not only highlights the ever-present risk of our dependence on foreign oil from potentially unfriendly nations, but it endangers the lives of troops engaged in refueling operations in conflict areas on a daily basis. According to one report, 170 members of the armed service were killed in attacks on fuel convoys in 2007 alone.

As Chairman of the Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee, I believe it is imperative to our national security that we secure our energy supply. To help elevate this issue on Capitol Hill, I have recently joined the Defense Energy Security Caucus. This bipartisan caucus educates members of Congress and the public on the strategic value of utilizing sustainable energy sources for the U.S. military, while highlighting and supporting established and emerging defense energy initiatives and finding solutions to energy challenges facing the Department of Defense. Read more about my plan for refining our nation’s energy policy here.

Agree or disagree: Energy independence is a national security issue.

Posted by Randy | May 05, 2011
A recent CNN survey shows that about 7 in 10 Americans favor increased offshore drilling for oil and natural gas. When CNN asked Americans, “How do you feel about increased drilling for oil and natural gas offshore in U.S. waters--do you strongly favor, mildly favor, mildly oppose or strongly oppose increased offshore drilling?,” here’s how they responded:
Increasing American energy production will help create new jobs and address rising gas prices – and Americans know it.

I am committed to bringing much-needed relief to families and small businesses by creating jobs and stopping policies that are driving up the cost of gasoline. That’s why I have cosponsored legislation to promote domestic oil production. I also voted for the Energy Tax Prevention Act, which blocks the EPA from imposing a back-door “cap and trade” national energy tax that will drive up gasoline prices and destroy American jobs. Read about my efforts in support of a comprehensive energy policy here.

Weigh in: how you feel about increased offshore drilling for oil and natural gas?
Posted by Randy | May 03, 2011

National Average: $3.967
Week Ago Average: $3.869
Year Ago Average: $2.895

 Energy issues currently fall within the jurisdiction of eight executive agencies and around thirty congressional committees. Sadly, the result is often a disjointed, disorganized and ineffective approach to energy that wastes taxpayer dollars while gas prices and energy bills are soaring. Meanwhile, our national security continues to be at risk as long as we are dependent on oil from the Middle East and other unstable regions.  Additionally, under the current dysfunctional policy, we are falling behind in nuclear technology and alternative energy development.

The simple truth is that we need to get to work on a bold energy policy. We need a streamlined, comprehensive strategy that makes energy a priority and clearly delineates a system for measuring progress towards established goals. 

Offering a Comprehensive Solution:

  • I have introduced the New Manhattan Project for Energy Independence as a solution to the pressing need for our nation’s energy independence. The New Manhattan Project for Energy Independence challenges the U.S. to reach 50% energy independence in 10 years and 100% energy independence in 20 years by establishing energy goals that would change the landscape of energy production in America. Prizes for achieving aggressive goals are not awarded until they are met and can provide America with game-changing energy wins. 

Promoting Domestic Oil Production: 

  • Working to overcome the Administration’s job-killing oil moratorium. I have cosponsored the Putting the Gulf Back to Work Act, which requires an end to the Administration’s de facto moratorium on new oil and natural gas drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. Even though the moratorium was officially lifted in October, the Administration has only issued five permits for projects to get back to work. Ten months later, over forty projects remain stalled. Government and business leaders from the Gulf Coast estimate that the moratorium on energy exploration last year cost more than 8,000 jobs and wiped out nearly $2.1 billion in economic activity. 
  • Supporting renewable energy development. I have also cosponsored the American Energy Independence and Price Reduction Act, which creates a competitive leasing program for the exploration and development of the oil and gas resources on the Coastal Plain of Alaska and mandates that revenues from that oil and gas production be used for a vast array of renewable energy programs.
  • Working to open Virginia’s OCS for energy exploration and production. I have cosponsored the Virginia Access to Energy Act, which allows for the exploration of natural gas and crude oil in Virginia’s waters of the Outer Continental Shelf. The bill requires the Department of Interior to proceed with the Virginia lease sale no later than one year after passage of this legislation. 

Ending Costly, Ineffective Programs:

  • Opposing costly implementation of cap-and-trade. I have cosponsored the Ensuring Affordable Energy Act, which prohibits federal funding for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to be used to implement or enforce a cap-and-trade program for greenhouse gases. Although the cap-and-trade legislation has not become law and has received the overwhelming disapproval of the American public, the administration has indicated that it will implement this policy through new EPA regulations without Congress’ approval. This bill will put an end to any back-door attempt to go around Congress and circumvent the will of the people, which will save American families and small businesses thousands of dollars per year in new taxes.
  • Protecting jobs and the family pocketbook. I cosponsored the Free Industry Act, which restricts the EPA's regulation of “greenhouse gases” through the Clean Air Act. Provisions from this bill were included in the Energy Tax Prevention Act, which I voted for and which passed on April 7, 2011 by a vote of 255-172. 

What do you think our energy policy should look like?