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Administration’s energy policy: Ineptitude in the short, inaction in the long

An oil drilling rig is pictured at sunset, Monday, March 7, 2022, in El Reno, Okla.
Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press
An oil drilling rig is pictured at sunset, Monday, March 7, 2022, in El Reno, Okla.

Over the past two years and more recently, over the last few weeks, we have the seen devastating consequences of radical liberal energy policies. California, which U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm considers to be the leader in energy policy, was forced into a “Flex Alert.” This means the state called on residents to take actions to conserve energy use, including setting thermostats to 78 degrees Fahrenheit, avoiding the use of large appliances, and even calling on residents to halt charging their electric vehicles. Keep in mind that this is the same California that is seeking to ban gas-powered vehicles by the year 2035. California should serve as a warning to the nation at large.

However, since the Biden administration took office, they have waged an all-out assault on the oil and gas industry. On his first day in office, Biden caved to the environmentalists in his party by canceling the Keystone XL pipeline and halting drilling on federal lands and waters. These actions led to record high gas prices and rising costs on goods and services. Even more concerning are the actions the president has taken for America’s long-term energy security and independence. During his first 18 months in office, President Biden has approved the lowest amount of leasing acreage on federal lands and waters since World War II.

This crisis is of his own making, not the fault of an orchestrated invasion of Ukraine by Russian President Vladimir Putin, as the administration claims. Following the invasion, President Biden has consistently demonized oil and gas companies, who are eagerly working to provide the energy sources on which we rely. These companies make domestic drilling decisions based on multiple variables, some including royalty rates, leasing rates per acre, refining accessibility, and government regulation. These are all being negatively impacted by the administration.

On the international stage, if we truly want to emerge as a global energy leader once again, we must fill the void created by blocking energy imports from Russia. Our strategic partners and allies are looking for America to step up. Russia provided the European Union with roughly 40 percent of its natural gas, and as winter approaches, countries like Germany will be feeling the negative consequences. We cannot afford to maintain our reliance on OPEC or countries such as Venezuela and Iran. It is imperative that we learn from the mistakes made by European countries, such as scaling back nuclear energy and fossil fuels, to avoid policies that increase reliance on foreign adversaries who can turn off the spigot at any moment.

Domestically, if we want to halt energy price spikes, the administration cannot afford to increase royalty rates on federal lands or increase acreage fees from $2 to $10. Sadly, this is exactly what the Democrat’s so-called “Inflation Reduction Act” does. Recently, the Biden administration settled with liberal eco groups, preventing 113 leases spanning 58,617 acres in the northern United States. He should not cave to groups who are seeking to fundamentally change America’s energy approach.

This administration has clearly added additional hurdles to the process, which force the oil and gas industry to make difficult business decisions. Increasingly, it seems like Biden’s only priority is to scapegoat companies and blame them for America’s high energy prices. In fact, President Biden is forcing Americans to adopt a lifestyle powered by the Green New Deal. His efforts in the short term have cost Americans thousands of dollars per person, while the long-term consequences are unimaginable. His actions will force businesses to drastically change long-term outcomes and product lines, placing the jobs of hard-working Oklahomans at risk.

The solutions are simple. In the short term, Congress must encourage oil and gas companies to increase domestic production and increase refining capacity. In the long term, we must provide these companies with positive surety that the government is their friend, not foe. We can do so by increasing drilling opportunities on federal lands and waters, which account for nearly 25 percent of our nation’s crude oil production. We can also provide certainty that we will not hamper the industry by canceling long-standing and costly energy projects.

As we move forward, we cannot continue to simply withdraw millions of barrels per week from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which is supposed to be used for national security or weather emergencies. While such emergencies often conveniently stop right after an election cycle, we must ask ourselves, what position is the president putting our nation in? It’s imperative we halt the political games and continue to build energy production facilities throughout the United States. We should also lower royalty fees on oil and gas companies and repeal anti-energy provisions within the so-called “Inflation Reduction Act.” In the end, we must get our country back on track.

Stephanie Bice represents Oklahoma’s 5th District.

Tags Biden energy independence Jennifer Granholm Keystone XL pipeline Oil drilling

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