Overcoming our Nation's energy challenges is one of the most important issues we face. Its of critical importance to our district and to my work in Congress.
Affordable energy is vital to our economy and national security. High energy costs slow job growth, increase the costs to industries and of products, and squeezes household budgets. In rural Pennsylvania, affordable energy is critical for heating and cooling our homes, transportation, and for businesses and industries to remain productive.
For decades we have imported the majority of our energy supplies from foreign nations. As this continues, we have become part of the largest shift of wealth in history, as we send billions of dollars overseas every year. Even more troubling is the fact that a large percentage of this trade deficit has been going to unstable countries which are hostile towards the United States and our ideals.
I believe that we must make energy a priority and take bold action to protect our economy, national security and the environment. While there is not a silver bullet solution that will put us on that track overnight, I will remain committed to providing resources and outreach in the community, while continuing to advocate for:
Increases in Domestic Production of Fossil Fuels: Lands onshore and offshore contain significant amounts of natural gas, petroleum, and coal that can fuel our energy needs for centuries. Approximately 85% of our energy usage comes from fossil fuels, whereas renewables currently comprise about 6%. Even with continued heavy government funding for renewables, fossil fuels will have to play a significant role in our energy use in the coming years. I believe that it is essential that we utilize more of our own domestic supplies of traditional energy sources while we continue to develop alternative sources and a bridge toward the future.
Research in Alternative and Renewable Fuels: Congress has an obligation to assist in bringing renewable sources of fuel to fruition. Alternatives such as wind, solar and hydropower have great potential, but unfortunately they currently only make up a fraction of our overall energy usage. Congress has been doing much to accelerate these sources, and I will support appropriate legislation that will continue to responsibly expand all alternative and renewable forms of energy.
Improvement to Existing Sources: The key to our energy independence rests upon the expansion of nuclear, clean coal, natural gas, and biofuels. The United States has a 250 year supply of coal and I believe that we should do more to increase our clean coal technology. Technological enhancements will only further extend the life span of this resource. We also have an abundance of forest lands that contain vast amounts of wood waste, which can be converted into woody biomass energy sources. Woody biomass has great potential in Pennsylvania and burns cleaner than most other fuels. We must utilize natural gas in the Marcellus shale. Expansion combined with research and development will bring energy costs down for consumers and industries and for the enormous number of products that require natural gas as a feedstock.
Increase Conservation, Weatherization, and Energy Efficiencies: Our energy supplies must be increased, but with any comprehensive energy plan we also must identify new ways of conservation and efficiencies. Higher fuel standards are a good start, coupled with tax credits and technological advancements in efficiency we can encourage consumers and industry to use less energy overall. The industrial sector is the largest consumer of energy and through new technologies and retrofitting existing machinery savings will be substantial. Congress can only do so much to encourage less consumption, but conscious and simple changes in our individual routines can go a long way to save energy. Two of the simplest examples are turning down the thermostat when not home or turning off the lights when not using a room. This has the two-fold effect of saving the consumer money, but also using less energy.
For more information concerning my work and views on the issue of Energy, please contact my Washington, DC office.
I look forward to your feedback.