Washington—Ohio Republican Bill Johnson told reporters Wednesday at the U.S. Energy Association that the country has lost its place as a global leader of innovation.
“American ingenuity brought lightbulbs, medical marvels, nuclear power, space exploration and industrialization to the world, from the mid-19th century to about 1970. Then things stalled,” Johnson said during the inaugural USEA Congressional Breakfast Series.
Since the 1970s, government regulation has thwarted American innovation and infrastructure expansion, he said. “We landed a man on the moon, yet it can take upwards of 15-20 years just to get permits for energy infrastructure expansion,” Johnson said.
The congressman, who sits on the powerful House Energy and Commerce and Budget committees applauded President Trump’s new infrastructure package, released this month which promises $200 billion in federal funds to spur $1.5 trillion in infrastructure investments, including investments in rural infrastructure.
Johnson’s 6th District of Ohio, is largely a rural district. He said infrastructure expansion and broadband Internet access in those areas, in particular, could unleash innovation from rural America.
“There’s a wealth of intellectual capital we are not tapping into,” Johnson said.
Johnson addressed international energy issues as well. He said 50 percent of Russian revenues come from oil and gas exports, more than 70 percent of which is sold to the European Union.
“With U.S. energy dominance, we could sell our oil and gas to Europe. We could reduce Russian exports of oil and gas by a third and create jobs here at home,” Johnson said.
Johnson has introduced two bills this session--Unlocking Our Domestic LNG Potential Act (H.R. 4605) and the Ensuring Small Scale LNG Certainty and Access Act (H.R. 4606).
H.R. 4605 allows U.S. LNG suppliers to export natural gas after completing the FERC review process, instead of waiting for additional approval by the Department of Energy, and H.R. 4606 encourages export of small volumes of natural gas, to the Caribbean, Central America, and South America.
“As we enter into this new era of abundance, Congressman Johnson highlights the role of the legislative process in helping the country meet a growing global energy demand while supporting the U.S. energy industry,” said Barry Worthington, USEA’s executive director. “We look forward to continuing the dialogue.”
To see a recording of USEA's Congressional Breakfast Series, click here.
If you would like to speak with Barry Worthington at USEA, please contact Dipka Bhambhani at [email protected].