The U.S. Senate is Holding 1 Million Jobs Hostage


Photo credit: Flickr/Phil Roeder

Still looking for a job? Blame the U.S. Senate. At least that's what the House Natural Resource Committee is saying. The committee has produced a half dozen bills that have all been passed by the U.S. House but are still awaiting Senate approval. Let's take a brief look at the six bills that the Committee believes would create more than a million jobs.

Restoring Healthy Forests for Healthy Communities Act
H.R. 1526 would renew the government's commitment to manage federal forests for the benefits of rural schools and counties. According to the committee, this legislation would create over 200,000 direct and indirect jobs as it would provide stable funding for counties to use for both education and infrastructure. This bill would actually save taxpayers $400 million over ten years while also improving local management of our forests and reduce the risk of forest fires.

Offshore Energy and Jobs Act
H.R. 2231 would open up new areas to offshore energy production. According to the Congressional Budget Office, it would generate $1.5 billion in new revenue over ten years as well as create 1.2 million long-term jobs.

One area that could hold a lot of oil is off of the Atlantic coast. Some estimates suggest that up to 10 billion barrels of oil could be produced from the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf. Canada is already producing oil off of its Atlantic coast with oil giants like ExxonMobil and Chevron investing over $14 billion to develop the Hebron oil field. That's creating jobs and economic gains for Canadians. Developing our offshore resources could do the same for many Americans.

Federal Lands Jobs and Energy Security Act of 2013
H.R. 1965 is a package of bills that are designed to protect and expand onshore American energy production and create more American jobs. These bills will streamline government red-tape and regulations. These bills include the Federal Lands Job and Energy Security Act, Planning for American Energy Act, National Petroleum Reserve Alaska Access Act, BLM Live Internet Auctions Act and the Native American Energy Act.

These bills are designed to unlock the full potential of America's energy resources. By reforming the federal leasing process and opening up more areas to oil and gas exploration we would create jobs while also securing our energy future.

Protecting States' Rights to Promote American Energy Security Act
H.R. 2728 would protect American jobs and American energy production by limiting the government's ability to impose duplicative regulations on hydraulic fracturing on federal lands. While fracking is a contentious issue, it has fueled remarkable jobs growth over the past few years. In fact, according to the IHS, shale oil and gas activity contributed to more than 1.7 million jobs in 2012. It expects that boom will fuel a 45% increase in jobs to 2.5 million by 2015.

National Strategic and Critical Mineral Production Act
H.R. 761 would allow the U.S. to more efficiently develop its strategic and critical minerals such as rare earth elements. These elements are critically important to the U.S. military as well as for technology and clean energy. This bill would enable more companies like Molycorp to increase production capacity for rare earth elements.

Mining is also an important jobs creator. For every job created by metals mining, it is estimated than an additional 2.3 jobs are created. Meanwhile, for every nonmetals mining job created, an additional 1.6 jobs are created.

Bureau of Reclamation Conduit Hydropower Development Equity and Jobs Act
H.R. 1963 would remove outdated federal statutory barriers and would create jobs and generate thousands of megawatts of clean hydropower. It wouldn't cost taxpayers a dime while at the same time creating revenue for local power providers and the federal government.

A call for action
If creating jobs is important to you, then now would be a good time to contact your U.S. Senators to get these bills passed. However, these bills are more than just about creating jobs. Each would spur economic growth while many would improve our national security.

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