By Kevin Stone, Heartland Environment and Climate News
The Biden administration has asked the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to substantially increase oil production in and exports from its member states in an attempt to stem rapidly rising U.S. fuel prices.
The move comes in the wake of multiple administration policy initiatives designed to curb domestic production, in an effort to fight climate change. These actions include, imposing a federal moratorium on new permits to drill for oil and gas on federal lands and waters, canceling the Keystone Pipeline, and issuing a budget directive prohibiting the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from engaging in any project “that directly subsidizes fossil fuels, including work that lowers the cost of production, lowers the cost of consumption, or raises the revenues retained by producers of fossil fuels.”
Oil and gasoline prices have risen substantially in the United States in the aftermath of these initiatives.
Federal legislators have criticized President Joe Biden’s appeal to OPEC, saying it is hypocritical and dangerous to ask OPEC for more oil, when instead the administration could rescind its restrictions on domestic production.
The Biden administration’s energy policies are costing jobs in the United States while simultaneously giving aid and comfort to our geopolitical rivals, said Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) in a statement in response to Biden’s urging of OPEC to boost oil production to combat skyrocketing gas prices.
“The Biden administration needs to admit that killing American energy jobs is backfiring,” Cassidy said. “Begging our adversaries like Iran to bail them out from high gas prices instead of putting Americans back to work is totally unacceptable.”
In a speech from the Senate floor in July, Cassidy said Biden’s decisions allowing Russia’s Nord Steam II pipeline to continue while simultaneously killing the Keystone XL pipeline, and to plead with OPEC to increase oil production, while hampering domestic production was unconscionable.
“It’s been only six months of the Biden administration, but every day, that target on the back of an oil and gas worker and on their family’s future gets bigger and bigger and bigger,” said Cassidy. “It’s almost, if you will, a quadruple whammy: weakening U.S. security, increasing greenhouse gas emissions, increasing gas prices, and killing American jobs.
“That’s what this administration’s policies have been doing,” said Cassidy. “We are pleading – not with OPEC – but with the administration to leave our jobs and the livelihoods of Louisiana workers and American workers alone.”
Biden’s multiple restrictions on domestic production leaves the United States and its economy unjustifiably vulnerable to foreign governments for our energy needs, said Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA), ranking minority member of the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, in a statement.
“Begging OPEC+ to pump more oil while kneecapping abundant U.S. energy production is next-level stupidity,” said Graves. “From canceling the American Keystone XL pipeline while violating the law, and defying the courts by greenlighting Russia’s Nordstream 2 pipeline to suspending oil and gas leases on federal lands, President Biden has taken actions that result in killing American projects and pink-slipping American workers at nearly every turn.
“He’s even gone as far to direct the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to prohibit funds to any project that benefits oil and gas,” said Graves. “His actions not only harm Americans, they will result in higher global emissions as more carbon efficient domestic energy production is replaced by higher emitting sources from nations like Russia.”
‘Misguided … Anti-American’ Policies
Biden’s policies seem intended to hurt America, said Graves.
“Under President Trump we were energy independent, but thanks to these misguided policies we’re killing U.S. production while boosting Russia, Iran, and other adversaries,” Graves said. “It’s apparent the Biden administration isn’t anti-fossil fuel or concerned with increased global emissions, but anti-American energy and American jobs.”
‘Added Insult to Injury’
Biden’s policies foolishly harm the economy while producing no climate benefit, says Gary Stone, executive vice president of engineering with Five States Energy.
“Recent actions by President Biden have underlined the administration’s attack on the domestic energy and their hypocritical ‘support’ for green energy,” said Stone. “On top of previous regulatory changes – the cancellation of the Keystone pipeline, freezing lease sales on offshore and federal lands, threats of declaring produced water as ‘environmental waste,’ and crippling emissions and wildlife rules – the administration has added insult to injury to both the oil and gas industry and “green” groups by requesting OPEC+ increase production to make up for the domestic reductions caused by the administration’s own rules.
“Foreign producers are not limited by the same strict environmental regulations as domestic producers, and they do not care about or honor a ‘green’ agenda,” Stone said.
The Biden administration’s energy policies are likely to harm domestic prosperity by restricting available energy resources, says Stone.
“Looking at a bigger picture, the administration doesn’t seem to realize that the driving force for prosperity is abundant, relatively inexpensive fossil fuel based energy,” said Stone. “One cannot simply wish that ‘green’ energy sources like wind and solar, each producing their own negative environmental effects, can replace fossil fuels, because they are not consistent in their supply as was strongly demonstrated in Texas last February during The Great Freeze.
“An abundance of energy leads to prosperity, while a restriction or lack of energy leads to economic struggle and poverty,” Stone said. “The latest political nonsense coming out of Washington will lead to a reduction in available energy, increased prices, and increased pollution throughout the world.”
Kevin Stone (firstname.lastname@example.org) writes from Arlington, Texas.