McCarthy Promotes GOP Energy Efforts During Columbiana Stop

KNOX Township, Ohio – House Speaker Kevin McCarthy criticized the administration of President Joe Biden for impeding domestic energy production by opposing needed infrastructure such as pipelines and restricting where drilling can take place.

McCarthy, who became the 55th speaker of the House of Representatives in January, visited Columbiana County as part of a swing through Ohio this week.

“We don’t just want to be energy independent. We want to be dominant,” McCarthy of California, R-20th, said during a Thursday afternoon visit to Encino Energy’s well pad at Sanor Farms in Homeworth, where a set of new wells are expected to go online in the next two weeks, according to an Encino Energy spokesperson.

With a group of Encino Energy Workers and the recently installed gas wells serving as a backdrop, he and four members of Ohio’s congressional delegation, discussed efforts to promote U.S. energy production, including passage of House Resolution 1, the Lower Energy Costs Act.

In March, a few days before House Republicans passed H.R. 1, Biden threatened to veto the legislation, charging that it would replace the administration’s “pro-consumer policies with a thinly veiled license to pollute” and “raise costs for American families by repealing household energy rebates and rolling back historic investments to increase access to cost-lowering clean energy technologies,” according to a White House statement.

“H.R. 1 would double the cost of energy efficiency upgrades that families need to reduce household bills and would repeal the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund that will cut energy costs and boost economic development in rural and urban communities across the country,” the White House continued.

“Pushing America back toward energy independence – nobody understands that better than our speaker,” U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson of Marietta, R-6th, said. Johnson, whose district includes Columbiana County, joined McCarthy and fellow U.S. Reps. Dave Joyce, Troy Balderson and Max Miller on the stop.   

“Yesterday I heard the president give a big speech about Biden economics,” McCarthy said. “The core of good economics for America is to become energy independent. Being energy independent means lower energy prices so Americans keep more of their money, but it also means jobs, makes America stronger and the world safer, and is good environmentally.” 

McCarthy criticized the Biden administration specifically for preventing construction of infrastructure such as pipelines, which he said are “the safest way” to move natural gas and other products extracted from the wells.

The administration also is shutting off federal lands for drilling and impeding permit approvals, while “looking at just renewables” instead of treating all sources of energy equal, he continued.

“To be able to be successful, we need to produce all the energy that America has been blessed with,” he asserted.

In addition, he criticized the governor of his own state, Gavin Newsome, and contrasted California’s approach to energy production with that of Ohio. His state has decreased oil and gas by 20%, “not because we don’t have the oil and gas to produce, but because the governor is shutting down the permitting,” reducing production by 80,000 gallons per day. California, instead, buys oil from Russia, which uses the money to “go kill innocent people in Ukraine,” he said.  

“This is the difference between Ohio and California and who’s looking out for America,” he said. “Ohio discovers new fields that are safe, secure and environmentally sound that produce new oil and natural gas, and utilize Ohio-made products such as steel, producing more jobs and making America and Ohio stronger.”

The first piece of legislation that the House takes up each session is its “standard bearer,” and under McCarthy’s speakership, that legislation was H.R. 1, which includes permitting and production reform, Johnson said. Additionally, the House addressed National Environmental Policy Act reforms to expedite pipeline permitting.

“I thought it was a great idea to bring him here and show him where the real work is done,” Johnson said. He also said McCarthy “understands the importance of our state and the value that we bring to the table,” and “part of the reason why Ohio is leading the way in energy independence is because we’ve got a delegation that understands the value that our state brings to the table.”

Joyce, of Bainbridge Township, R-14th, whose district includes Trumbull County, said he prays “all the time” for a pipeline that runs up along state Route 11 to Lake Erie, “where we could sell American liquefied natural gas to Europe,” which then would be less dependent on energy from Russia.

“That means jobs. That means more independence for us because energy security is national security,” he said.  

Energy is among the factors that are drawing data centers to Central Ohio, along with water and land, Balderson, of Zanesville, R-12th, said. “We even have crypto mining in Coshocton County because we have the energy for it,” he said.  

“This is just the beginning of what we’re going to do when it comes to oil and natural gas and getting us back to being energy independent,” Miller, of Rocky River, R-7th, said. Miller was a senior adviser to former President Donald Trump who was elected to the House last year.

McCarthy and Johnson also responded to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling against affirmative action in college admissions.

“The ruling is just saying that everybody should be treated not based upon the color of their skin, but on their abilities, of what they’re able to do. That’s what America is fundamentally based upon,” McCarthy said.

“What you really need to look at too is our education system itself, especially in the elementary school. Why do we make kids stay in bad schools? Why can’t parents have the say to send their kids to any school they want?” he continued.

Basing education or other decisions on race “defeats the purpose of trying to be a truly diverse nation,” Johnson said. Being poor isn’t necessarily a racial issue, he said. He referenced his own impoverished upbringing on a “two-wheel, wagon run mule farm,” as he put it.

“We’ve got a system that’s based on equal opportunity, not equal outcomes,” he said. “I think we’ve made a lot of progress to become what our founders envisioned, a more perfect union.”

Pictured at top: House Speaker Kevin McCarthy speaks during a stop at Encino Energy’s well pad at Sanor Farms in Homeworth on Thursday. To his left is U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson of Marietta.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.