Congressman flies GOP flag on energy in Bay Area

One day after President Obama was touting his energy record at Silicon Valley campaign stops – stronger fuel economy standards, increased clean energy production, foreign-oil imports at a 15-year low – a Central Valley congressman was in the Bay Area to say there’s a better approach.

Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock, is a regional captain of the House Energy Action Team (HEAT), a Republican policy effort that mounted a “2012 American Energy and Jobs Tour” today. The theme is the GOP’s work “to reverse Administration policies that are causing unnecessary pain at the pump, on Valley farms and in grocery stores as well as costing our nation jobs,” his office said.

He toured the Valero refinery in Benicia and had an energy roundtable discussion with refining business representatives and community business leaders; later, he made a brief stop at an Oakland truck stop.

On his web page, Denham says that even as the nation explores “newer, cleaner energy sources, we must continue to utilize the rich resources within our own borders and on the Outer Continental Shelf, such as oil, coal, liquid, natural gas, and oil shale. One of the most promising outlets for new energy sources is nuclear energy, one of the cleanest forms of energy on the planet.”

For his full remarks as prepared for the Benicia event, read after the jump…

Jeff Denham“Nowhere in the country is it more evident than in California that The Administration’s energy policy, has sent more jobs overseas, increased pain at the pump, and increased our dependence on foreign energy. Californians are paying approximately 30 cents extra per gallon of gas in comparison to drivers in other states.

“While California is one of the biggest consumers of oil and was once one of the largest producers of the commodity; due to state and federal policies, California currently imports nearly 50% of its oil, mostly from the Middle East. In fact, California gets far more oil from Persian Gulf countries, mainly Saudi Arabia and Iraq, than from Alaska.

“As a member of the House Energy Action Team, I have been working with my colleagues to promote an all-of-the-above energy plan.

“Also, with my seat on the House Natural Resources Committee I have voted for and passed a multitude of bills to develop an all-of-the-above energy portfolio that will lower energy costs and put Americans back to work.

“This Administration, however, has continued to pick winners and losers at the expense of taxpayers through higher gas prices and failed ventures like Solyndra.

“My colleagues in the House of Representatives and I have passed bill after bill that would encourage development of energy here at home only to have those bills be blocked by Democrats in the Senate and the White House.

“Earlier today I was able to meet with local businesses, independent producers, and others like the truckers in California that we depend on to move our goods throughout the state. Our discussion highlighted regulations and the Administration’s policies that are continuing to slow our economic recovery and hurt more and more families and small businesses.

“It’s time we utilize the natural resources we have to create jobs here at home, reduce gas prices, grow our economy, and put our nation on the path to energy independence.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.