WASHINGTON, July 16 (UPI) -- Artificial market barriers are preventing the United States from using energy as a tool for international diplomacy, U.S. Rep. Fred Upton said.
Upton, R-Mich., laid out a five-point platform he says would capitalize on the era of abundance in the U.S. energy sector.
Advancements in drilling technology have unlocked vast amounts of oil and natural gas, putting the country in a leadership position in terms of production of those resources.
"It's a new era of energy abundance, and we need to usher in a new era for energy policy [to match]," Upton told delegates at an energy conference in Washington.
On diplomatic affairs, Upton, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said those in the world with the energy have the power to influence global affairs. He pointed to Russian gas supplies for Europe and conflict in Iraq and Libya, two members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, as examples.
We have an opportunity, Upton said, to use energy as a diplomatic tool by ensuring U.S. allies can gain access to U.S. oil and gas reserves rather than being "held hostage" to global instability.
"That means making sure our current laws are not creating artificial barriers to the market and conducting oversight to ensure increased exports do no harm to American consumers," he said Tuesday.
Upton has supported legislation aimed at making it easier to export U.S. natural resources. Crude oil exports are restricted by law and the public's interest must be weighed against gas exports to certain U.S. allies.