PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Local News

February 20, 2014

Cruz touts energy plan at Boomtown

BEAUMONT —  United States Sen. Ted Cruz believes that the country is on the brink of an energy renaissance — a renaissance that got its start in places much like Southeast Texas.

“This place reminds us of how American entrepreneurs ushered in a new era for America and for the world,” Cruz, R-Texas, said of the Spindletop-Gladys City Boomtown Museum in Beaumont, where he spoke to local supporters and media on Wednesday.

Oil was discovered at that very spot on Jan. 10, 1901, at a time when the nation needed energy to grow and expand to the Pacific Ocean, Cruz said. And now, he said, with the country facing the lowest labor force participation since 1978, that time has come again.

“The energy renaissance that is beginning right before our eyes can help save us from the Obama economy,” Cruz said.

This is why Cruz has proposed the American Energy Renaissance Act (AERA) — his plan to create new jobs and opportunities for the middle class by harnessing the nation’s natural resources.

With the bill, Cruz aims to remove federal barriers to private entrepreneurs and put an end to what he called the Environmental Protection Agency’s “war on coal.”

If passed, AERA would exclude greenhouse gases from regulation by the EPA as well as repealing the Renewable Fuel Standard, a federal program that requires transportation fuel sold in the U.S. to contain a minimum volume of renewable fuels.

It would also transfer the power of regulation of hydraulic fracking to the states, as opposed to the federal government.

“We need to trust the states to implement their laws to regulate fracking and keep the federal government out,” Cruz said.

The bill also calls for approval of the Keystone Pipeline, which would transport Canadian oil sands and Bakken oil to the Texas Gulf Coast, extending into Port Arthur.

The pipeline will enable the nation to be less dependent on foreign oil, and would actually be more beneficial to the environment if it is built than if it is not, Cruz said. Without the pipeline, the U.S. will continue to import foreign oil — increasing the likelihood of spills as tankers cross the oceans.

“As long as there are tankers on the oceans, we can know with absolute certainty that there will be spills,” Cruz said.

The senator added that if the pipeline does not run north-south, it will be built to run east-west — sending the tar sands to China for refinement in much dirtier climates that will do more damage to the environment.

“If you are a Birkenstock-wearing, tree-hugging Greenpeace activist, you should love the Keystone Pipeline,” Cruz said.

Other provisions of the American Energy Renaissance Act include opening up additional federal lands to new development and exploration, and dedicated the additional revenue towards paying off the national debt.

But, Cruz said, there is one thing that stands in the way of this new legislation.

“There is one thing and one thing only that can screw it up, and that is the federal government,” he said to applause.

Cruz said that economic growth has stagnated under the leadership of President Barack Obama, and that it is the nation’s working class that has born much of that burden.

“The people who have been forgotten in America with this stagnant growth are the men and women that want to provide for their families, and they’re finding jobs taking away because of federal government policies that are hammering small business,” he said. “We need to be a champion for the middle class.”

The greatest boon for that middle class is the American energy renaissance, Cruz said, and it will take people from all sides of the political fence to make Washington listen.

“We need to come together in a bipartisan way to prevent the federal government from making it harder for people all across this country to achieve the American dream,” he said.

Email: ecallahan@panews.com

Twitter: @ErinnPA

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