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House Dems block energy independence bill; GOP energy expert slams move as ‘unconscionable’

House Democrats on Wednesday blocked consideration of a Republican bill aiming for U.S. energy independence from Russia amid the Ukraine war. A former environmental engineer now running for Congress in New Mexico condemned the move as “unconscionable” in comments to Fox News Digital.

“House Dems just voted against a measure by [House Republicans] to consider the American Energy Independence from Russia Act — a critical bill that would unleash American energy production,” Rep. Stephanie Bice, R-Okla., tweeted Wednesday. “Clearly, Dems don’t care about solving our crushing energy crisis. Unbelievable!”


H.R.6858, the American Energy Independence from Russia Act, would approve the Keystone XL pipeline without a presidential permit, direct the president to commission an energy security plan, and open up oil and gas leases across the U.S., among other things. Republicans have emphasized U.S. energy production as the solution to America’s importing Russian oil – which President Biden halted in an executive order this month – and to Europe’s reliance on Russian oil amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Alexis Martinez Johnson, an environmental engineer and Republican candidate for New Mexico’s 3rd Congressional District, slammed Rep. Teresa Leger Fernandez, D-N.M., for voting to block the bill.

“This now marks the second time in as many weeks that Leger Fernandez and her radical left House Democrat allies have blocked a vote on securing energy independence,” Martinez Johnson told Fox News Digital. “It is unacceptable and appalling. She is voting with special interests and against the interests of her constituents, of New Mexico, and of our nation.”

Alexis Martinez Johnson, candidate for New Mexico's 3rd Congressional District

“Here in New Mexico, we are blessed with one of the most energy-rich and energy-diverse states in the country,” Martinez Johnson said. 

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, New Mexico has “a wealth of fossil fuel, mineral, and renewable energy resources,” along with “a significant portion of the nation’s known uranium reserves.” The state’s crude oil, natural gas, and coal production place it in America’s top 10 energy-producing states. 

Welders work on a joint between two sections of pipe during construction of the Gulf Coast Project pipeline in Prague, Oklahoma, U.S., on Monday, March 11, 2013. The Gulf Coast Project, a 485-mile crude oil pipeline being constructed by TransCanada Corp., is part of the Keystone XL Pipeline Project and will run from Cushing, Oklahoma to Nederland, Texas.

“We could be powering the nation, creating high paying jobs where they are desperately needed, and reinforcing our national security all through our abundant resources,” Martinez Johnson argued. “Instead, we are being drowned in high gas prices while the world becomes less stable every day. It’s unconscionable.”


“From my perspective as an Environmental Engineer, it is infuriating to see my neighbors suffering because Leger Fernandez refuses to help unlock our state’s tremendous energy potential,” the Republican added.

Fernandez’s office did not immediately respond to an after-hours request for comment.

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