While responding to reporters about Russia’s incursion into Ukraine two weeks ago, President Biden committed that his administration was using every tool at its disposal to protect American businesses and consumers from rising prices at the gas pump. “I will do everything in my power to limit the pain that the American people are feeling at the gas pump.”
This would’ve been spectacularly good news for every American and the larger economy were it actually true. But as one considers the U.S.’s current energy policy, implemented when Biden took office, it is clear that Vladimir Putin’s attack on Ukraine will end up delivering precisely what the Biden administration itself has been working so furiously to achieve over the last year: higher domestic energy prices. Putin has inadvertently become the scapegoat and gift the Biden administration desperately needs to explain away increasing domestic energy prices that began at least eight months before Putin ever stepped foot on the stage in Ukraine.
When the Biden Administration took office, it unleashed a dangerous “Mandate and Moratorium” strategy, a green jihad of sorts against the U.S. energy sector. The strategy was simple-- create supply constraints for domestic oil and gas producers by dismantling distribution systems, tightening regulations, and suspending leases and permits, therefore impacting future drilling activity. Co-conspirators like Black Rock’s, Larry Fink, then jumped in by urging institutional divestment from the oil and gas sector and wielding a pseudo-sophisticated set of investments standards known as environment, social and governance (ESG). The strategy was topped off with the complicity of social media and tech’s intolerance for a diversity of ideas, ensuring Americans couldn’t discuss the flawed energy policy, let alone dissent from it.
How much longer can this go on?
Biden’s anti-oil strategy has necessarily created a dangerous dependence on foreign producers, such as Russia. Higher prices for oil and gas, in the Biden narrative, deliver greater price parity with alternative energy sources like wind and solar, a "reality" toward which this administration demands American consumers must move. To the administration, economic "pain at the pump" has been its objective since taking office and is considered a positive turn of events. National security, food security, and economic security were never part of their calculus.
While announcing a suspension of the importation of Russian oil and gas yesterday, the administration is merely planning to swap one U.S. adversary with others, including Iran and Venezuela, both sidekicks of Russia. In all cases, the Biden strategy is to import oil and gas from anti-democratic, totalitarian regimes instead of relying upon the American energy sector to close the supply-and-demand gap that currently exists.
These adversaries of American democracy will use the funds received through Biden’s oil purchases to harm the country and our allies. The U.S. buys oil from our Russian-backed adversaries. Russian-backed adversaries use those proceeds to attack the U.S. America buys more oil and gas from Russian-backed adversaries… and so it goes. While on this merry-go-round of madness, the administration needs to consider the threat that walking away from domestic energy independence represents to the nation's short and long-term economic vitality and security.
But how did the U.S. get into this desperate position, when as recently as 2020 the U.S. was energy independent? What did the Biden administration do when it entered office that Congress should now seek to undo in the face of higher prices that began over eight months ago?
I did what?
From its first moments in office, the administration has sought to destroy the U.S. energy sector by using administrative rules and orders that circumvent Congress, and therefore the need to garner political consensus. The administration has aggressively hidden behind regulatory edicts at various federal agencies rather than defend their energy strategy publicly. Such tactics represent an overreach of the executive branch that has now exposed our nation to threats from foreign actors intending to dismantle western democracies. Congress must assert its power by requiring congressional ratification of all new regulations annually.
By destroying our energy independence, the administration also weakens the middle class and establishes a permanent underclass, reliant on government handouts and blocked from the opportunity and privilege that historically has been a beacon to the world. Guided by bad ideas, the administration has sought to diminish our economic security, food security, and energy security, while insisting it has the interest of America at heart. But consider the changes for which the Biden administration is directly responsible since taking office:
- Dismantling Distribution Networks
Keystone XL-Pipeline de-construction: With construction already under way, President Biden stopped the Keystone XL Pipeline project via executive order on his first day in office. The line was intended to transport oil from fields in western Canada and the Bakken basin in North Dakota to Steele City, Nebraska, connecting to other pipelines that feed refineries on the Gulf Coast. It would have moved up to 830,000 barrels of oil daily, creating a safer, higher capacity and faster way to get product to market.
- Increased Regulatory Overreach
Because the administration knows it lacks the necessary majorities in Congress to compromise American energy independence, it circumvents the legislative process by using administrative rules. Immediately upon entering office, agencies began implementing new rules that have reduced supply or increased the cost for energy producers.
- The Department of the Interior (DOI) suspended new oil and natural gas leases on public lands and in offshore waters, including areas where oil and gas production was already occurring.
- Department of Energy (DOE) is also holding up permits and approvals for multiple liquid natural gas (LNG) terminals. Instead of the U.S. supplying Europe with American natural gas, Russia has been filling the void. The Biden administration needs to speed the permitting and approval process for these export projects and remove harmful barriers to domestic production and pipeline projects. The delay diminishes future supply, thus increasing the price.
- The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) has been broadly interpreted by Biden-controlled agencies, impeding an array of oil and gas related projects and driving up the cost to develop and complete those projects.
- The Social Cost of Carbon Standard (SCC) is a contrived measurement predicated on energy-related projects' being environmentally costly and therefore harmful economically. With biases built into the construct, no energy project will ever be "green" enough. This thumb on the scale is intended to increase the price of U.S.-produced energy.
Say it ain't so, Joe.
The Biden “Moratorium and Mandate” energy policy was foisted upon the country with a sophomoric and malignant understanding of economics and a bias toward using alternative-energy sources exclusively. Without consideration for the actual role oil and gas plays economically and geo-politically, the Biden administration now seems willing to bet the well-being and future of America on a campaign slogan.
In the meantime, you're paying for it at the pump.