Weekly Column

While on the campaign trail in 2019, then-candidate Biden guaranteed supporters that he would “end fossil fuel.”

Since taking office, President Biden and his Administration have followed through on that promise by doing everything in their power to curtail domestic energy production. For nearly a year and half, the Biden Administration imposed a moratorium on new federal oil and gas leases. While the moratorium was eventually lifted, to this day Biden officials are dragging their feet on permitting issues that are weighing down domestic drilling.

In September, a Wall Street Journal analysis found the Biden Administration had leased less area for drilling on federal lands and waters “than any other Administration in its early stages dating back to the end of World War II.”

This is just one example of the policy war being waged against fossil fuel energy. The impact of all these decisions: U.S. oil production still remains lower than pre-pandemic levels. Energy costs, including prices at the gas pump, remain high. American energy independence is wounded.

While Democrats blame Russia as the sole culprit for high prices, there is no doubt their anti-oil/gas agenda has wreaked havoc on the energy sector. In fact, gas prices started rising long before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

To compensate for their failures, President Biden announced he will continue to release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR).

The SPR was created in the 1970s to ensure the U.S. would have a secure domestic supply of oil in times of crisis. It’s specifically been used to respond to temporary emergencies like Operation Desert Storm and Hurricane Katrina.

This special oil reserve was never intended to serve as a counterbalance to disastrous domestic energy policies, or to lower consumer gas prices ahead of an election. Now after multiple impromptu releases, President Biden has brought the SPR’s reserves to their lowest level in four decades. This is ironic when one considers that just two years ago, Sen. Schumer and congressional Democrats vehemently opposed President Trump’s efforts to boost SPR levels when oil prices were at historic lows. After stopping the move, Sen. Schumer celebrated their success as blocking a “bailout for big oil.” Yet two years later, its these same reserves that are being used to cover the impacts of liberal energy policies.

The fact is that taking advantage of an emergency resource like the SPR for political purposes is dangerous, and it leaves the U.S. less secure.

Instead of simply supporting more domestic energy production, the Biden Administration seems more comfortable turning to foreign countries like Venezuela and Saudi Arabia for help. Before the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) convened its October meeting, reports suggest the White House begged Saudi Arabia to punt on any oil production decisions for a month. Such a delay would conveniently move production cuts until after the upcoming midterm elections.

There were also reports this month that the Biden Administration was considering easing sanctions against Venezuela – a horrific, despotic regime – to get more of their oil into international markets.

These misguided attempts to fix his Administration’s broken energy policies won’t work. Instead of attacking the oil and gas industry, we should be working together to boost domestic fuel production as quickly as possible. President Biden should also be exploring other all-the-above energy solutions, like my bill to make permanent the year-round sale of E-15. A recent study found such a move “could save drivers more than $20 billion annually.” Until the Biden Administration reverses course, our energy security is vulnerable.

Thank you for participating in the democratic process. I look forward to visiting with you again next week.

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