The U.S. Department of Energy was created during the Carter Administration to ensure energy independence and reduce our reliance on Middle East oil. The fact that we are now even more dependent on Middle East oil supplies demonstrates that the solution is not found in Washington’s agencies and departments.

I have supported sound policies that enable America to develop our own energy sources. Access to affordable energy is critical to American competitiveness, turning this economy around and creating American jobs. As a case in point, economists point to the recent drop in natural gas prices as the key factor in leading companies to consider industrial expansion and job-creation here in the United States.

I support an all of the above approach to developing our own American energy – oil, gas, nuclear, solar, hydroelectric, wind and biofuels. And, energy conservation needs to be a part of our energy strategy as well.

Reducing our reliance on volatile Middle East oil is a priority for me because it will give Americans access to affordable energy and end the practice of sending a $1 billion a day from American wallets to Middle East countries that do not have our best interests in mind.  Approval of the Keystone XL pipeline will enable us to import oil from our friendly neighbor to the north, Canada, and it will provide us with a more reliable source of oil; and reduce our billion-dollar a day payments to the Middle East. It will also put thousands of Americans to work in building the pipeline and at refineries.

Rather than the mountain of red tape and burdensome rules from federal agencies, we need a federal government that opens the doors for safe energy development. We can start to open those doors by allowing more responsible development of traditional sources of energy right here in the U.S.

We need additional new, safe nuclear power facilities.  These take a decade or more to construct, but when completed and on-line they produce cleaner energy and cleaner air.

We need also to foster the development of advanced alternative energy technology including solar power, advanced batteries and cost-effective and clean biofuels.  These and other alternative energy technologies will foster the growth of new energy sources in smaller quantities during the near-term and larger amounts over the longer-term. Conservation and energy-saving initiatives are also a key component to our energy independence.

Only with an “all of the above” energy independence strategy can we reach a place where America produces its own energy for its people at a lower cost to American families.