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By Rep. Chris Collins

Energy costs on everything from gasoline to standard utilities remain too high, and Western New York families are struggling to protect their wallets. They need and deserve immediate solutions to reduce energy costs and unleash our country’s energy potential.

The need for energy independence and development has driven our country to technological breakthroughs in the energy industry, which has created hundreds of thousands of jobs. Places like Williston, N.D.; Cumberland Township, Pa.; and Port Arthur, Texas, have transformed from dusty towns to booming economic powerhouses. New York has similar energy resources, but for reasons varying from overregulation to missed opportunities, we have yet to tap into our energy potential.

My House colleagues and I have taken action to help alleviate the financial burden high energy costs inflict on families. This summer, we passed a variety of pro-energy legislation to reduce our country’s energy costs and help grow the energy sector. Legislation such as H.R. 6, the Domestic Prosperity and Global Freedom Act, increases exports of U.S. natural gas. This will protect America’s geopolitical standing, create thousands of jobs and stimulate economic growth.

Legislation like this is part of a comprehensive energy plan focusing on harnessing the natural resources America possesses. Implementation of energy innovations like the Keystone Pipeline XL and hydraulic fracking and protection of coal plants like Somerset in my district are vital to America’s energy independence and innovation.

Unfortunately, President Obama has repeatedly refused to endorse energy solutions that utilize America’s resources out of fear of upsetting politically vital environmentalists.

But, the president is not the only one shutting the door on the economic benefits available from promising energy initiatives. In our own backyard, Governor Cuomo and downstate politicians have deprived New Yorkers of the opportunities made available to a number of states, including our neighbors to the south, Pennsylvania. Those states have utilized hydraulic fracturing to create thousands of jobs and lucrative revenue streams, subsequently becoming several of the most economically successful areas in the country.

Rep. Chris Collins represents New York’s 27th Congressional District.