Steve_Scalise

Experiencing energy production in person is fundamental to understanding the positive impact American energy has on our communities in Louisiana, the U.S. economy and national security. For 11 straight years, I have invited a delegation of my House colleagues to visit an offshore rig so they can gain a better understanding of how important domestically produced oil and natural gas are to our country’s economy and national security. They also walk away from this experience with a better understanding of how their constituents in their home states benefit from what we do in south Louisiana. This past week, I hosted another group of eight members of Congress for a visit to Hess’s impressive Stampede Platform.

The group was able to see how energy is produced safely in the Gulf using advanced technology and following rigorous safety standards. Flying over Louisiana’s coastline on our journey to the platform gave me an opportunity to explain our state’s battle with coastal erosion. We discussed the link we’ve made in Louisiana between offshore energy development and the revenue sharing that provides us critical resources to fund coastal restoration. Louisiana is also a leading example of how energy development can thrive alongside conservation efforts and other activities and industries like fishing and tourism.

Alarmingly, there are some radical proposals that threaten this beneficial relationship and our state’s entire economy. The Green New Deal, sponsored by New York U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, is the most radical plan so far. Her legislation calls for an end to American oil and natural gas production. This would destroy not only Louisiana’s economy but also our national economy, and it would send prices of everyday goods soaring for families and small businesses all across our country. She calls for an end to air travel, and even advocates for the elimination of cows! While these proposals might sound laughable, they have already been endorsed by many of the Democrat candidates running for president. We ought to take them seriously and give them the scrutiny they deserve.

In light of such a proposal, this year’s offshore trip felt particularly urgent. Educating members of Congress on the full impact American energy production and fossil fuels have nationwide is critical. Under our Republican-led Congress and working with President Trump, we prioritized an all-of-the-above energy approach that allowed America to become the world leader in energy production and a major exporter of energy, improving our national security and boosting our economy. At the same time, we reduced our carbon emissions at a greater rate than any other Western country, without instituting job-killing regulations and government control like the Green New Deal. We should all consider the far-reaching consequences that eliminating fossil fuels would have on American families and carbon emissions globally.

For middle-class families and seniors in particular, plans like the Green New Deal would be devastating. Early estimates show the transition away from affordable oil and gas energy would cause the average family’s monthly electricity bills to double. Further, completely eliminating oil and gas production would jeopardize more than 260,000 jobs in Louisiana alone.

The truth is, the Democrats’ Green New Deal would ship millions of high-paying American jobs from energy-producing states like ours, to countries like China and India, which emit carbon at a dramatically higher rate than us. After 10 years of this Green New Disaster, all we would have to show for it is massive unemployment and skyrocketing costs on everything, especially electricity, plus weakened national security.

Instead of radical, job-killing proposals, we should continue pursuing all forms of energy, including renewables like wind and solar power, as well as reliable and traditional sources including nuclear power, coal, and yes, even oil and gas. To those on my offshore energy tour, that truth was crystal clear.

U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise of Jefferson Parish is House Republican minority whip.