By EMILY SPARACINO | Personal editor
VACUUM – US Congressman Gary Palmer gave an overview of inflation, energy production, the war in Ukraine and other topics during a lunch on Monday, April 11.
Palmer, who represents Alabama‘s 6th District in the U.S. House of Representatives, addressed a large group gathered at the Hyatt Regency Birmingham – The Wynfrey Hotel for the Washington Update Luncheon, an event hosted by the Chambers of local commerce.
Palmer said the country was in a “really tough place,” noting rising energy prices he linked to President Joe Biden revoking a presidential permit for the Keystone XL pipeline project.
“Had that not happened, we would be months away from completing this pipeline, which would deliver 8,030 barrels of Canadian oil to the United States, which would help keep our energy prices low,” Palmer said. “Instead, we imported nearly 600,000 barrels of Russian oil.”
Palmer said government and corporate regulations, particularly in terms of lending, impact the decisions that small companies doing the drilling make because they don’t have access to capital.
“Energy prices impact the future of energy,” Palmer said. “There’s not a single thing you come into contact with today in terms of consumables that doesn’t have an energy cost. Everything has an energy cost, and it is compounded. This is one of the main reasons why inflation immediately spiked, as energy is the most inflationary part of the entire economy.
Palmer also discussed the geopolitical impact of energy prices and production, and said the United States needs to rethink its foreign investments and recommit its energy production.
“In today’s world, American energy is perhaps the most powerful weapon in the arsenal of democracy,” he said. “We have enough resources to dominate the world.”
When it comes to politics, Palmer noted a pervasive sense of division across the country, which is all the more evident in the low voter turnout.
“We have to come to the simple realization that ultimately we all live on this one piece of land, and the future depends on our ability to find a way to live there together,” Palmer said. . “We have to find a way to come together as communities, as cities, as a state, as a nation.”
Palmer meets with students the first Monday of every month during the school year to talk about leadership and their roles as citizens.
“We are trying to reinstill the principles our country was founded on, while admitting mistakes, but not letting mistakes destroy our future,” he said. “I think that’s what we need to do in our communities: encourage each other to recognize our mistakes, but chart a future that recognizes that we’re not perfect. Our Constitution says, “in order to form a more perfect union”, not a perfect union.
Regarding the war in Ukraine, Palmer said, “Russia cannot win the war.
“They can destroy the country, they can destroy the infrastructure, but they can’t take the country,” he said. “I think if we provide the material resources, Ukraine can win the war. We must continue to degrade Russia’s ability to wage this war.
The Washington Update Luncheon was co-hosted by Chelsea Business Alliance, Homewood Chamber, Hoover Area Chamber, Greater Irondale Chamber, Mountain Brook Chamber, Shelby County Chamber and Vestavia Hills Chamber.