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Biden is exacerbating America’s energy crisis

Washington Examiner logo Washington Examiner 7/28/2022 Steve Milloy
President Joe Biden speaks about gas prices in the South Court Auditorium on the White House campus, Wednesday, June 22, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) © Evan Vucci/AP President Joe Biden speaks about gas prices in the South Court Auditorium on the White House campus, Wednesday, June 22, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

"I guarantee you — I guarantee you — we are going to end fossil fuel."

So said then-candidate Joe Biden to environmental activists at a campaign rally in 2019. The president has yet to deliver on his promise to turn the entire U.S. energy system on its head, but given the record high gas prices at the fuel pump, he's certainly made driving and powering homes punitively unavailable to low-income households.

The administration is keen on blaming the war in Ukraine for the hardships people are facing. This attempt is window dressing at best and blatant misinformation at worst. While European nations are heavily reliant on Russian gas in particular, the United States only used to get about 8% of its supplies from Russia. Most crude oil is imported here from Canada. Indeed, even Mexico is more important for America's oil trade than President Vladimir Putin's Russia.

Another striking difference with most European nations is the fact that the U.S. has its own oil reserves. In theory, this would mean more energy independence. However, oil drilling permits have been cut by more than half since Biden came to office. Biden says oil companies should feel encouraged to increase capacity. But the industry has hit back by revealing how the Biden administration delays its activities through actions such as initially banning and then slow-walking lease sales on federal land or making drilling permits more difficult to obtain.

Washington is eager to point to the fact that companies fail to use a number of permits while conveniently leaving out that the government also regulates the use of the drillings and associated costs in certain areas, making a large section of them useless in practice. When Biden's energy secretary, Jennifer Granholm, was asked how the U.S. plans to increase oil production, she laughed out loud. The public isn't laughing with her.

Curiously, even the Europeans have picked up on the notion that the U.S. holds the cards in the not-so-global race to ramp up energy production. French President Emmanuel Macron deliberately chose a walk at the G-7 to corner Biden in front of TV cameras and microphones, alerting him to the fact that Gulf nations will probably not increase their oil-pumping capacities. These are facts that Washington must be well aware of, making the stunt politically decipherable: Macron told Biden that the U.S. must step up and export more oil to strategic allies.

Biden is thus faced with a decision that will mark his presidency in the history books.

In a bid to win over the environmentalist wing of his own party, he chose to stack his administration with figures who wanted to see the fossil fuel industry go out of business entirely. Saule Omarova, at one point Biden's nominee for the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, said about fossil fuel companies: "A lot of the smaller players in that industry are going to probably go bankrupt. At least we want them to go bankrupt if we want to tackle climate change." Omarova, who was born in Kazakhstan back when it was part of the Soviet Union, tweeted in 2019: "Say what you will about (the) old USSR, there was no gender pay gap there. Market doesn't always 'know best.’" Omarova had thus become nonviable for the Biden administration, presumably because she said the quiet part out loud.

Regardless, the U.S. needs to ramp up its oil production drastically, not merely for the sake of the public but also to provide strategic support to our allies. If ever there was a moment in which American oil reserves provided a lifesaving advantage to this country, be it to tackle fading purchasing power and show geopolitical strength, it is now. The president needs to give up on his environmentalist daydreaming and cut red tape for oil drilling in this country.

Steve Milloy is a senior legal fellow at the Energy and Environmental Law Institute.

 

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Tags: Opinion, Beltway Confidential, Blog Contributors, Opinion, Energy

Original Author: Steve Milloy

Original Location: Biden is exacerbating America’s energy crisis

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