Environment, Energy Production, and Infrastructure
Congressman Bilirakis believes that climate change is real and has been active in Congressional hearings focused on reducing carbon emissions, boosting renewable energy options, and modernizing the nation’s power generation. The Congressman wants clean air, clean water, and environmental protection; but as he explains below, those things do not have to be achieved at the expense of jobs, prosperity, and national security.
During the pandemic, many Florida families have struggling to pay their bills and now they are grappling with rising costs of fuel. These cost increases have a harmful impact on the Florida and national economies. Congressman Bilirakis firmly supports an “all of the above” energy strategy that includes increasing domestic production, providing incentives for the development of renewable resources, and promoting conservation. New and emerging technologies will allow the United States to better harness the existing swath of renewable and nonrenewable energy sources that are available. The federal government has the responsibility to not pick winners and losers among the various energy sources.
Representative Bilirakis is a member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, which has jurisdiction over federal energy policy. He intends to use this position to work in a bipartisan fashion to eliminate barriers to domestic energy production and encourage economic growth. He is also a cosponsor of legislation to build the Keystone Pipeline – an instant boost to domestic energy production that will lower energy costs, ensure less dependence on hostile nations, and create tens of thousands of jobs, in areas where job opportunities are scarce.
Unfortunately, this Administration is moving in the wrong direction when it comes to energy production. Congressman Bilirakis fully supports the recently unveiled House Energy and Commerce Republican plan to secure America’s energy future and provide a competitive advantage against China - the world’s top carbon polluter. The Congressman believes these solutions will help modernize our infrastructure and ensure America continues to lead the world in reducing emissions- while keeping energy costs low for Americans. These pro-consumer and pro-environmental energy solutions are a far better option for achieving these goals than the job-killing proposals put forth by leading Democrats, such as the Green New Deal, cancelling the Keystone XL pipeline and restricting domestic oil exploration.
Congressman Bilirakis believes infrastructure is an area where there is a real opportunity to build bipartisan consensus, but not if leaders in the House and Senate insist on using the budget reconciliation process and avoid compromise. Many prior infrastructure proposals would have benefited important local projects in the Congressman’s district if implemented. This includes:
- Additional funding streams and programs for flood risk management;
- Expanded authority for private entities to complete backlogged Army Corps waterways projects – which will advance projects like the Anclote River Dredge;
- Improve the permitting process for projects, so we can quickly move forward on the Ridge Road project, and never have another public safety project linger for over 20 years.
The Congressman is optimistic about the chances for bipartisan cooperation that will lead to a much-needed re-investment in the nation as we work to strengthen and modernize its crumbling infrastructure.
The Congressman is relieved that the Ridge Road project was finally permitted and is under construction. This project is necessary for the safety and timely evacuation of both Pasco and Pinellas residents. There are currently only two east/west routes that can evacuate our coastal residents inland during a storm. Even worse, one of those routes is prone to flooding and can bottleneck to one lane during a storm. This is dangerous and unacceptable.
The Congressman worked closely with Pasco County officials, the Army Corps and President Trump in order to expedite approval of the permit. When a funding snag arose amid construction, Congressman Bilirakis stepped in and worked with the state to ensure the project could progress. He looks forward to celebrating the opening of the Ridge Road Extension project soon.
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Florida — the Sunshine State — is one of America’s best destinations for tourists. Florida’s Twelfth Congressional District — which I have the distinct pleasure of representing — is no different. From the growing Sunwest Harbourtowne in Hudson and sponge diving in Tarpon Springs, to the Suncoast Primate Sanctuary in Palm Harbor and the famous BMX track in Oldsmar, my district and the Tampa Bay area at large boast significant tourism destinations.