In recent weeks we have highlighted current estimates of oil and gas reserves in the U.S., how these estimates have increased dramatically in recent years, and why that gives us more power to both influence world oil prices and move toward greater energy self-sufficiency.

Clearly, when oil prices are climbing as high and as rapidly as they have in recent months, people turn to Washington for solutions. One of the best remedies is to increase supply – and subsequently grow our economy and reduce our vulnerability to imports. .

This week, to underscore just how many ways we could adapt our national energy policy to promote greater energy and an increased supply of more affordable fuel, we offer a simple list. There are multiple actions that lawmakers could take today that would quickly impact domestic energy supply and prices.

1)   Opening new areas, offshore and onshore, to energy exploration and development. When you understand that uncertainty is a major factor influencing prices, you realize that even through it can take years for the oil from new projects to come online, committing to increased production sends a powerful signal to world markets, which tend to respond to action and stability. Not to mention the fact that we need to plan for our future by developing new fuel sources today.

2)   Ending calls for overregulation and needless uncertainty over hydraulic fracturing. We need to recognize – and celebrate – shale oil and gas for what it is: a game-changer that has stimulated many local economies, vastly increased our domestic fuel supply, and impacted. Rather than promoting policies that would threaten to severely curtail production, we need to find ways to support continued, responsible production.

3)   Ending the pursuit of a National Ocean Policy that imposes ocean zoning on ocean users including energy companies. The Administration has launched a National Ocean Council as a step toward regulating our oceans, Great Lakes and coastlines under one umbrella. While this program hasn’t received a whole lot of attention media attention, the impacts to the U.S. economy could be huge. , including new b It could impose new layers of bureaucracy and restrictions in coastal regions, many of them key oil and gas producing regions, that are already navigating multiple burdensome regulations.

4)   Complete all approvals necessary to move forward with the Keystone XL Pipeline. It’s hard to describe the Administration’s policies on the pipeline to date as anything other than a flip-flop. In January, President Obama rejected the proposed project, but two months later announced he would expedite the southern part of the route. In his apparent efforts to strike a middle ground, he has stoked the controversy and accomplished little. In order to ensure a steady supply of North American oil to our refineries in the Gulf, and reduce our dependence on more distant foreign sources, we need to support the entire project, not just pieces of it.

5)   Shift the discussion from tax cuts to increased production. Much has been made of the tax deductions that the oil and gas industry receives. In reality they amount to a tiny portion – about .0008% — of the federal deficit. If we want to find ways the oil and gas industries can support the national economy, we ought to focus on other things, like the fact that these sectors support millions of jobs and could create more jobs with the right policies supporting domestic energy production. After all, the most effective way to increase tax revenue is to put more people to work in well-paying jobs.