With gas prices rising above $4 across North Jersey, Rep. Josh Gottheimer wants every available avenue pursued to bring down energy prices.
Gottheimer offered a four point All-of-the-Above Energy Plan March 15 that would tap into existing domestic oil wells, have domestic oil producers ramp up production as soon as possible, utilizing close allies to reduce U.S. reliance on oil from bad actors including Russia, Iran, and Venezuela, and increasing and maximizing use of alternative energies.
“We have to stand up to Russia. But beyond that, we have to get prices down and the best way is to take full advantage of all we have domestically,” said Gottheimer at a press conference in Paramus to announce his plan. “We can tap our traditional domestic energy resources now and continue our long-term, climate-driven goals with alternative energy like wind and solar.”
The North Jersey congressman argued against the notion that calling for an increase of domestic oil and gas production goes against goals of environmentalist to pivot away from fossil fuels.
“This is critically important: It’s a false choice to say that the U.S. has to sacrifice longer-term climate goals if we take an all-of-the-above energy approach domestically,” he said. “We can do both and get gas and oil prices down now. The key is, at all times, to keep our eyes on the prize—fully transitioning to alternative energy.”
“After all, it’s a transition. We can’t get there overnight. You don’t just flip a switch. The worst thing to do would be to cut off all of our domestic oil and gas production and suddenly have to rely even more on nefarious actors like Russia, Venezuela, and terrorist sympathizers like Iran.”
Gottheimer noted the U.S. has gone from nearly 13 million barrels of oil a day in 2019 to 11.2 million barrels last year. But that is a trend that has changed as the number of active rigs is up more than 60% since the Biden Administration came to office.
“On a monthly basis, this administration has approved more oil and gas drilling permits on public lands than the last Administration did during its first three years,” said the North Jersey lawmaker. “Onshore alone, as of the start of this year, the oil and gas industry had more than 9,000 unused approved permits to drill in the United States. We need to work with domestic producers to utilize existing leases and permits, so that oil and gas production can meet current demand.”
One of the sponsors in Congress that results in ban of oil imports from Russia, Gottheimer noted the U.S. has been able to take away a key economic resource that Russian President Vladimir Putin relies on.
“This ban is a moral and strategic imperative for our great nation. We know that we are on a war footing. We’ve all seen the horrifying images out of Ukraine, and we must do everything we can to put a stop to Putin’s war,” he said. “We can’t subsidize Putin’s war in Ukraine with American dollars.”
The move to more production in the U.S. would help the country’s foreign policy as well, according to Gottheimer.
“We cannot trade in the oil imports of a murdering dictator, for oil from the world’s leading state-sponsor of terrorism in Iran, or a cold-blooded killer like communist Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro, who is aligned with Putin,” he said. “We need to utilize our domestic production, use existing resources, and get more barrels domestically and from allied countries like Canada, Mexico, and Colombia in the short-term.”
The Wyckoff resident said the focus on domestic production is needed due to the recent surge of gas prices at the pump—the average price in North Jersey is $4.32— and higher costs for home heating oil. He noted a large part of that increase was the Russian invasion of Ukraine that threw the global energy markets into turmoil.
“I have initiated bipartisan discussions with some of the U.S.’s largest energy producers, as we need them to do more, and they can,” said Gottheimer. “Working together, I believe we can immediately address challenges they are facing and help them ramp up production as soon as humanly possible. There should be nothing stopping them.”
High Gas Prices
Its a issue that President Joe Biden tweeted about on March 16. “Oil prices are decreasing, gas prices should too. Last time oil was $96 a barrel, gas was $3.62 a gallon. Now it’s $4.31. Oil and gas companies shouldn’t pad their profits at the expense of hardworking Americans.”
Gottheimer noted pledges to increase production from the U.S. and its allies is having an impact on the price of a barrel of oil as it has dropped $27 in just the last seven days and “we should see the impact of that drop at the gas pump very soon. That is just the beginning.”