The left’s ‘America Last’ energy policy
After the policies of President Trump’s administration boosted America to become the top energy exporter in the world, the Biden administration and his congressional allies have decided to reverse course. The administration’s actions and laws making their way through committee have made their goal clear: destroying America’s energy industry while boosting our enemies’ production.
This goal has been clear since last year: even on the campaign trail, Biden told voters he wanted to eliminate fracking.
He followed through on his first day in office. Shortly after his inauguration, President Biden rescinded approval of the Keystone XL pipeline with an executive order stating that the pipeline “would not serve the U.S. national interest.” Of course, this move killed thousands of high-paying jobs and hurt one of our closest allies, Canada.
Just a week later, Biden signed another order to ban new permits for drilling on federal land and the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). Despite the fact that drilling in ANWR could create over 100,000 jobs and bring in over $400 billion in government revenue, the administration decided that being “Green” was more important than American workers and taxpayers.
Then last month, the administration surprised the nation by supporting a pipeline — but not an American one. The Biden administration announced on May 19 that it had waived congressional sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project, a system of offshore natural gas pipelines that will run from Russia to Germany and will be operated by Gazprom, a corporate extension of the Kremlin.
Completion of the project will increase our western European allies’ dependency on Russia for energy, placing them at the mercy of a regime that has already demonstrated a willingness to shut down pipelines in the dead of winter for strategic advantage. The European Parliament recently called for a halt to the project, yet the Biden administration cites “U.S. national interests” as part of its nebulous and murky justification for the waiver.
The justification is astonishing: the Biden administration believes U.S. pipelines and U.S. jobs are not in the national interest, but a Russian pipeline is in the national interest. To most Americans, that sure sounds like America Last.
Now, Biden boosters in Congress are joining the America Last agenda: they’ve cooked up a scheme that would effectively shut down shale drilling operations within the United States through legislation called the CLEAN Future Act.
This federal power grab would seize the authority to regulate hydraulic fracturing from the states and place it in the hands of Biden’s activist Environmental Protection Agency. Not only is that a federal power grab, but it’s redundant. Each of the oil- and gas-producing states has comprehensive regulations in place to ensure safe operations and to safeguard drinking water sources that have proven effective.
The legislation would also classify produced water and hydraulic fluids used in horizontal shale drilling as “hazardous” under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, an underhanded tactic intended to kill the shale drilling industry. In truth, both the EPA and numerous peer-reviewed studies have concluded that hydraulic fracturing does not pose a major threat to ground water. Even the Obama administration’s EPA, in its comprehensive report on the potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing on water resources, found further regulation at the federal level was unnecessary.
In a twist, The CLEAN Future Act has the potential to create an environmental nightmare. More than 180,000 non-hazardous waste wells are meeting disposal needs under the current, well-established program. But just 800 wells are approved to handle legitimately hazardous waste. The disparity caused by reclassification would inevitably lead to producers keeping more of this waste at the surface, rather than securely and permanently disposing of it under the system currently in place.
Finally, if the administration wants to reduce emissions, they’re going backwards by targeting hydraulic fracturing. Carbon dioxide emissions in the United States fell by 2.6 percent in 2019, and 96 percent of that reduction is thanks to low-cost natural gas. Hydraulic fracturing and natural gas are also responsible for reducing American electric power emissions by 33 percent since 2007. No “green” energy politician has ever achieved that.
The Biden administration and congressional Democrats are working together to dismantle the U.S. oil and gas sector, making it harder to run current energy operations and banning new drilling and pipelines. Meanwhile they are paving the way for Vladimir Putin to expand the Russian oil and gas sector, undermining our national security and driving up energy costs to every American consumer. These policies just don’t add up — the left is putting America Last.
Jessica Anderson is executive director of Heritage Action for America.