By Scott DesJarlais, U.S. Congressman
For the past two weeks, I’ve traveled throughout Tennessee’s Fourth Congressional District meeting with constituents and discussing issues important to our community. These district work periods provide an excellent opportunity to talk with and learn from the people who are at the forefront of creating jobs, teaching our children and caring for our seniors.
Needless to say, my staff and I spend quite a bit of time in the car going from county to county, which leads us to frequently visit the gas station. It is hard to get over just how much it costs to fill up the gas tank these days. In fact, it was recently brought to my attention that right now we pay an average of $3.40 per gallon here in Tennessee. Unfortunately, the price is only expected to rise as we head into the summer months.
One of the things that I hear constantly from folks is their dismay with the price at the pump. From small and medium sized businesses to individual households, everyone is feeling the pain of high energy prices.
And there is good reason to be frustrated. Gasoline prices have skyrocketed in the past decade. I remember when I could fill up my truck for nearly $20. Now that will barely get a quarter tank.
If we are really serious about bringing gas prices under control, we must increase oil production here in the United States.
One common sense proposal that I have been fighting for in Congress is the approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline. This venture would bring oil to the United States from our friendly neighbor Canada. Not only would this project help to drive down gas prices, it would create tens of thousands of construction and refinery jobs for Americans.
Unfortunately, President Obama postponed granting the permits required to get this project started until after his reelection for fear that it would upset some of his far-left environmental base. While it is a shame that the president let politics trump good paying jobs and low gas prices, there are rumors that he is re-evaluating his position on approval of the pipeline.
Regardless, we cannot wait for the White House to act. This project will put men and women back to work, make our country more energy independent and bring down the cost of gasoline. Therefore my colleagues and I in the House will continue to put forth legislative solutions to ensure the construction of the pipeline.
We must hurry. Canada has already indicated that if we don’t start construction, they have another buyer lined up for their oil – China.
The Keystone XL Pipeline is a critical piece to establishing a more secure energy policy that will bring down costs and reduce our dependency on oil from unstable Middle Eastern countries that don’t always have our best interests in mind. This project just makes sense and I hope that the White House will show some leadership and make the right decision before it is too late.