As I travel across the Fifth District, I consistently hear about the numerous negative impacts high fuel costs create. High gas prices hurt families trying to pay their bills, making it more expensive to fill their tanks and increasing the price of groceries and other goods. Exorbitant fuel prices harm small businesses and family farms that need reliable energy to operate their machinery, inhibiting their ability to succeed and grow. There is no question that Americans continue to suffer from Washington’s failure to adopt a sensible energy policy, but in the past few weeks, we have received some much-needed relief from high fuel costs.
Recently, American consumers have been spending less at the pump, with the national average dropping to $2.23 a gallon. The economic benefits of this trend are immediate – consumers have more money in their pockets to spend on other goods and services and small businesses can invest in new jobs and equipment rather than spend so much on fuel. These prices have lightened the burden on our families and small businesses, but we must do more to ensure that prices continue to remain affordable. Our work toward an energy strategy that permanently increases oil and gas production, expands our viable alternative energies, and promotes conservation remains vitally important to easing the burden on working families and generating job growth.
As the 114th Congress begins, we will promote policies that will make it easier for our farmers, our Main Street businesses, and our working families to succeed, and this includes pursuing a robust domestic energy policy. Within the next few weeks, we plan to consider the Keystone XL Pipeline, a crucial piece of our energy strategy aimed at increasing North American energy production and giving Americans more affordable energy choices.
It is my hope that we will also consider legislation to reopen lease sales for oil and natural gas exploration off the coast of Virginia and policies that expedite the process for offshore renewable energy development, like wind. It is time that we take advantage of the numerous natural resources Virginia has to offer and overcome the barriers to energy independence and job creation.
Now that the American people have given us new leadership in the Senate, we have a new opportunity to create a sensible and robust domestic energy policy. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues to create an energy policy that increases our energy security and strengthens our economy, and I hope that in the 114th Congress the Senate and the President will join us in this crucial effort.
If you need any additional information or if we may be of assistance to you, please visit my website at hurt.house.gov or call my Washington office: (202) 225-4711, Charlottesville office: (434) 973-9631, Danville office: (434) 791-2596, or Farmville office: (434) 395-0120.
Robert Hurt represents Virginia’s Fifth District in Congress.