Vern Buchanan pushes for more drilling, investment in solar and nuclear power
U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan unveils eight-point energy plan. Image via Buchanan's office.

But an eight-point plan from the prospective Ways and Means leader doesn't mention offshore drilling.

Rep. Vern Buchanan on Monday called for expanding oil drilling on federal lands. But he said that should be coupled with investment in alternative energy.

It’s part of an eight-point plan the Longboat Key Republican unveiled Tuesday that he believes will establish greater domestic energy independence. More than just a re-election platform, Buchanan’s proposal could offer a glimpse into the energy agenda for a Republican Congress should the GOP retake a majority and Buchanan ascend to chair of the House Ways and Means Committee.

“We aren’t going to become energy independent overnight but if Congress and the White House begin taking rational steps to promote domestic energy production, we can bulletproof ourselves from enemies like Russia, Iran and Venezuela,” Buchanan said. “The first step is for the (Joe) Biden administration to stop trying to crush the American oil industry and start incentivizing more domestic production.”

The move seemed especially notable from Buchanan, a long-time critic of offshore oil drilling even before the Deepwater Horizon disaster galvanized Florida political leaders on the issue. Of course, the chair of the Florida congressional delegation still doesn’t list the Gulf of Mexico as the right place for oil exploration. But he sees plenty of places where domestic production should step up. He noted in a Sarasota press conference that in the past 14 months since President Biden took office that domestic oil production has declined from

Like many congressional republicans, he has called for the reauthorization of the Keystone XL pipeline. He co-sponsored the Ending Dependence on Russia Act (HR 6916), legislation sponsored by Rep. Buddy Carter, a Georgia Republican, that would reauthorize the project a year after the Biden administration rescinded a permit approved under former President Donald Trump. The Carter bill would eliminate a President’s ability to unilaterally kill pipeline projects

He also called for approval of all existing oil and liquid natural gas leases on federal lands. Buchanan also wants to streamline new approvals, and noted the U.S. already stands as the top producer of the world’s natural gas — about 23.7% of global production — but six pending licenses at the Department of Energy could boost gas capacity by 25%.

Buchanan also wants to reopen the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling. He said the areas companies want to drill make up one-10,000th of the total refuge and questioned the Biden administration’s moratorium on exploration there.

One area Buchanan doesn’t want to see oil coming from is hostile regimes. He opposes importing gas from Russia and Venezuela, and backed legislation to similarly bring in oil from Iran.

There’s enough oil in the U.S. to make up for it if the administration stops listening to environmentalists on the left, he suggested.

“The question is whether President Biden will side with the American people or with the radical left and his climate guru John Kerry,” Buchanan said. “The true victims of Biden’s policies are the millions of people and families facing unprecedented gas prices, spiking inflation and a lower standard of living.”

Kerry, a former Democratic nominee for President, now serves as Biden’s special presidential envoy for climate.

Beyond oil, Buchanan supports significant investment in alternative sources of energy. Most controversially, that includes stepping up nuclear energy, which right now sources 20% of U.S. energy. He noted there’s bipartisan legislation in the Senate sponsored by Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Republican Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming that would ramp up production of nuclear reactors.

But Buchanan also wants more solar power, and just introduced a bill with Rep. Mike Doyle, a Pennsylvania Democrat, that would expand the solar investment tax credit to include energy storage technology for utilities, businesses and homes.

He also wants to extend a Trump-era tax deduction for all new and used equipment purchases for energy exploration and production.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


  • John Petree

    March 22, 2022 at 5:36 am

    Keystone XL oil production would have been sold off-shore in its refined state. Tar sands were destined to be refined in the US then sold elsewhere on the planet. Why is this still seen as a “source” of gasoline for the US? Florida could be harvesting solar and wind power year round. There are too many in political power who only promote the short game = oil. I was an automotive tech for nearly 40 years, I saw the affects of petroleum waste and byproducts back in the 70’s. Just like dinosaurs the time is coming for oil to be a thing in the rear-view mirror of history.

  • PeterH

    March 22, 2022 at 12:09 pm

    The “oil industry” currently has over 1000 unused drilling leases. “Why” ….. you might ask? The answer is simple …. The USA oil industry can’t compete with foreign oil unless raw crude is selling for close to $100.00 per barrel! There is absolutely no guarantee that oil prices will be marketing at $100.00 per barrel six months from now……. US Oil companies know this and can’t capture the substantial profits in the short run.

    So ….. the Republican “drill baby drill” is just a political talking point. If the USA oil industry could profit from production ….. the would be drilling on the 1000 leases the currently have in their back pocket.

  • Trevor Morris

    March 23, 2022 at 2:32 am

    “Buchanan’s proposal could offer a glimpse into the energy agenda for a Republican Congress should the GOP retake a majority.” That is hilarious. Have you forgotten the idiocy of most Republicans over the past 6 years? Vern doesn’t live in Crazyville with most of the other Republicans in congress. He is an outlyer. Did you forget about the last Republican President who launched a jihad against windmills and low-flow toilets? I heard him just a day or two ago telling his dimwitts how the war in Ukraine was started by windmills. Come on, you can do better than such nonsense.

Comments are closed.


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