At a time when people are asking, "Where are the jobs?" thousands of high-paying jobs are waiting to be created in America's energy industry. Jobs can be created today by further developing America's natural resources, such as oil and natural gas, and expanding on new technologies such as hydraulic fracturing, a critical tool in tapping the huge potential of our country's natural gas supply.
Instead of a comprehensive national energy policy that would create jobs, this administration and the liberals running Congress are trying to ram through a cap-and-trade national energy tax that will actually ship millions of jobs overseas and raise energy prices on American families, and these same people continue to threaten our energy security through attempts to put an end to fracking — hydraulic fracturing, a method used to extract natural gas.
The cap-and-trade energy tax legislation was written by the same limousine liberals who recently flew to Copenhagen on private jets and stood in the freezing cold telling us we need to stop driving cars and pass cap-and-trade to save the world from global warming.
The cap-and-trade energy tax is a reckless proposal that will ship millions of jobs overseas to countries like China and India. What makes it more reckless is the fact that cap-and-trade is based on corrupt science, as was recently exposed by the "climate gate" scandal. The science behind the cap-and-trade energy tax was manipulated to prove climate change theories that the climate data did not support. In one e-mail uncovered in the "climate gate" scandal, a scientist who helped corrupt the data wrote, "I've just completed Mike's nature trick ... to hide the decline." The e-mail referred to an actual decline in global temperatures over recent decades that they wanted to conceal from the public.
In my home state of Louisiana, the energy industry is among our top employers and one of the largest producers of domestic energy in the United States. Louisiana has the second-largest refining capacity in the United States, with 2,300 active oil and gas platforms in the Gulf of Mexico and 19 crude oil refineries. More than 80 percent of the nation's offshore oil and gas is produced off our coast.
By increasing our supply of domestic oil and natural gas, Louisiana's offshore industry has created high-paying jobs while safely and responsibly decreasing our dependence on Middle Eastern oil. In addition to the successful offshore energy industry in South Louisiana, our state has seen success onshore by using safe, responsible and environmentally sound energy production technologies such as hydraulic fracturing.
Recently, this new technology was used to produce oil and gas from shale rock in Haynesville, La. This project helped create 32,742 new jobs within the state and added $3.2 billion to our economy through lease and royalty payments. Much of this new job creation that can help America become energy independent is being threatened by the cap-and-trade energy tax as well as the new taxes on energy exploration being proposed by President Barack Obama.
Imposing egregious regulations on carbon dioxide emissions, and creating a national energy tax, would drive our economy even further into a recession. The cap-and-trade energy tax would halt the job creation that we've recently seen in Louisiana, and our good high-paying jobs would get shipped overseas. To add insult to injury, after these jobs move overseas, more carbon will actually be emitted because other nations have much weaker environmental standards than those already in place here in the United States. China and India have already stated that they will not comply with a cap-and-trade scheme.
While the science on global warming is far from settled, what has not been disputed is the fact that a cap-and-trade energy tax will cost this country millions of good jobs and will force the average American family to pay thousands of dollars in increased energy costs. The Congressional Budget Office said, "Most of the cost of meeting a cap on CO2 emissions would be borne by consumers who would face persistently higher prices for products such as electricity and gasoline."
According to the president's own budget director, Peter Orszag, the average American family would pay about $1,300 more in utility costs per year for a 15 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions. Orszag testified before Congress that price increases borne by consumers are an essential part of the cap-and-trade energy tax.
In January 2008, Obama acknowledged that the cap-and-trade energy tax will lead to higher electricity prices when he said, "Under my plan of a cap-and-trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket."
Despite the skyrocketing energy prices, the risk of shipping millions of jobs overseas and the risk of increased global carbon emissions, Obama continues to make this dangerous policy a top priority.
At a time when Americans are waiting for their elected officials to develop solutions to the economic crisis, we need to stop the reckless spending programs, the government takeover of health care, the energy tax proposals and the radical environmental regulations. Instead, let's promote common-sense ideas that harness, not stifle, the American ingenuity that has helped us to become the greatest nation in the world.
Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) is a member of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Environment as well as the America Energy Solutions Group.