By Ben Geman
When it comes to energy, Friday’s hopeful new data on job creation is prompting lawmakers and interest groups to call for . . . what they were calling for before the new report.
House Republican leaders greeted the hiring data with calls for the Senate to approve a suite of House-passed bills, including measures to require a major expansion of offshore oil-and-gas leasing and block several EPA regulations.
“President Obama owes it to every small business, and to the millions of Americans still looking for work, to urge Senate Democrats to take action on these common-sense jobs bills as soon as possible,” said House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) in a statement following news that the economy added 200,000 jobs in December.
House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-Wash.), author of the drilling bills, struck a similar note in touting the legislation Friday. “It is good news that more jobs were added to the economy last month, however millions of Americans remain unemployed and there is still much more that needs to be done to revive our sluggish economy,” he said in a statement.
House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) reiterated his call for federal approval of a major proposed pipeline to bring Canadian oil sands to Gulf Coast refineries. “[N]o discussion of job-creation would be complete without acknowledging the tremendous jobs and energy security benefits that would come from approval and construction of the Keystone XL pipeline,” he said in a statement.
Elsewhere, the BlueGreen Alliance, which is a coalition of labor unions and environmentalists, called on Congress to “keep this momentum going” on jobs by bolstering federal support for green energy and passing a sweeping transportation bill.
Green energy advocates are seeking action to renew a stimulus-law grant program for renewable power projects, extension of clean energy tax credits and other policies.
“Winning economic strategies focused on the industries of the future and the $5 trillion clean-tech industry should be America’s focus in 2012. To do that, Congress must move forward with smart policies and strategic investments in renewable energy, energy efficiency and advanced vehicle technologies, the rebuilding of our transportation, energy and communications infrastructure, and the production of cleaner, safer chemicals,” said David Foster, the group’s executive director.
“One easy first step for Congress would be swift passage of a long-term reauthorization of the Surface Transportation Act. Through action like this, we can recreate the millions of jobs lost in the Great Recession and set America on the path to economic prosperity in the 21st century global economy,” he said.