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Washington, D.C. – Congressman Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) released the following statement on passage of H.R. 4899, the Lowering Gasoline Prices to Fuel an America that Works Act:

“For the past few years, America has experienced an unforeseen energy boom brought on by new innovative technologies and exploration techniques, like hydraulic fracturing and directional drilling.

“However, almost all of the increase in energy production has occurred on state and privately owned lands. From 2009 to 2013, U.S. crude oil production increased 61 percent on state and private land, but declined six percent on federal land. Natural gas production increased by 33 percent on private land and decreased 28 percent on federal land in the same period.

“When the federal government blocks domestic energy production by limiting exploration offshore and on federal lands, the American people and the economy pay the price. Gas prices are already well above $3.50 a gallon on average. In many places, like my hometown of Bakersfield, gas prices are well above $4.00 a gallon. It’s costing Americans more and more to drive their cars and trucks, not to mention increasing energy prices put a drag on our economy, which actually shrank earlier this year.

“By freeing up our offshore resources and opening federal lands for energy exploration, America will create much-needed jobs that will boost our economy while lowering energy costs. And by using the energy that America has right here at home, we can reduce our dependence on foreign oil and move toward North American energy independence.

“That is why today the House passed H.R. 4899, the Lowering Gasoline Prices to Fuel an America that Works Act. This bill both increases the amount of federal land for development and also allows for offshore energy exploration. I would like to thank my good friend Doc Hastings (WA-04) for his and his committee’s leadership to strengthen our economy and more energy more affordable in America.”