Gas prices are climbing back up since pandemic shutdowns and travel restrictions crippled the industry, and Americans are feeling the price at the pump. This week, President Joe Biden’s White House, claiming to want lower gas prices, urged OPEC to get back to pre-pandemic production.
That’s right. The president of the United States, the global leader in oil and natural gas production, is begging for an increase in foreign oil – ironically, just months after shutting down the Keystone XL Pipeline that would offered plentiful oil to the nation.
Let’s unpack the many reasons why this is just another step towards putting America last.
President Biden has promised to cease oil drilling in the United States in an effort to transition the economy away from fossil fuels and towards “green” energy. His first step was cancelling the Keystone XL Pipeline.
The pipeline would have boosted economic growth, adding more than $3 billion towards the U.S. GDP. More importantly, it would have been a great stride towards American energy independence, delivering safe, secure crude oil—from an ally, Canada. The U.S. State Department estimated that the project would have supported more than 42,000 direct and indirect jobs within the U.S.
The 2020 pandemic-related oil bust saw the fastest rate of layoffs in the industry’s history, totaling to more than 100,000. In Texas alone, roughly 60,000 jobs were lost and 100 rigs stacked. Many of those who were able to stay on payroll had to take a significant pay cut.
Even with the demand for oil increasing, Biden’s apocalyptic climate policies are crushing morale for oil and gas workers. A majority of workers have not been able to return to the field, as oil companies consider what the demand will be moving forward.
Biden has called for oil and gas workers to transition to renewable energy jobs, which would almost always result in pay cuts. Oil and gas jobs on average pay between 70 and 200% higher than the average private sector wage, while most renewable jobs are temporary and offer lower salaries. Workers also face being replaced by robotic drilling systems, which could decrease the annual cost of U.S. wages in the industry by more than $7 billion by 2030.
The industry faces potential further attack from investment decisions being based on arbitrary and discriminatory Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) standards, rather than financial returns. If companies do not meet ESG criteria, they risk losing capital and insurance needed to operate their businesses.
Today’s culture of climate fearmongering denies investors a chance to consider American energy producers. Rather, it forces us to depend on irresponsible foreign oil cartels.
In truth, American fossil fuel producers provide affordable, reliable energy that fuels progress and improves our quality of life.
In 2019, the U.S. achieved energy independence, meaning that we produced more energy than we consumed, and we produced more oil and natural gas than Russia and Saudi Arabia. Energy independence allows the U.S. to withstand adverse economic impacts of geopolitical events.
To sustain energy independence, the Trump administration made it easier to obtain liquified natural gas project approval and to access federal land for oil and gas development. On his first day in office, Biden signed a 60-day order to freeze new oil drilling on federal lands, rejoined the anti-American Paris Accord, and killed the Keystone XL Pipeline.
This great nation has the capability to safely and effectively meet our own energy demands. With our ample and affordable energy supplies, we do not need to entertain OPEC’s price wars as we have for many decades.
Biden has declared climate change a national security risk. In fact, depending on foreign, autocratic nations for our energy is a much larger threat.
Instead of strangling American energy production with new layers of environmental regulation, Biden should maintain the Trump Administration’s reforms to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulations and ease his restrictions on drilling on federal lands and water, which generated almost $6 billion in government revenue last year.
The White House’s insistence on bowing down to foreign entities for American necessities continues to put America last. The continued demand for fossil fuels as the economy recovers is evidence that affordable, reliable energy is the lifeblood of the American economy.
The president should see this as an opportunity to harness American ingenuity and dexterity to strengthen our economy and empower our labor force.
This commentary originally appeared in The Cannon Online on August 13, 2021.