By William Haupt III [Tennessee Watchdog Journalist, Columnist, Author, and Citizen Legislator via The Center Square]
A few weeks ago, President Joe Biden announced he was banning oil imports from Russia in retaliation for their invasion of Ukraine. He bluntly said that Americans will have to pay more at the pump. This left people scratching their heads, asking why in 2020, America was energy independent under then President Donald Trump? And the U.S. produced so much petroleum, America was a major exporter of oil?
Biden stoically claimed higher gas prices were due to the Russians invading Ukraine. Yet for over a year, Americans have faced sharp increases in gas prices each week, along with rapid increases on fuel oil and all other fossil fuels. Biden not only made America dependent on importing oil from rogue nations, double digit inflation has caused the price of all consumer commodities to skyrocket.
In reaction to panic at the pump, Biden announced he is tapping our emergency oil reserves to stem a rising tide of energy prices. He just released 50 million barrels of crude from the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve. In a PBS interview, the oil industry’s Dan Meter said, “This will have little impact on gas prices since Biden’s energy policies will continue to drive future prices higher.”
Biden claims once the Russian-Ukraine conflict is over, the energy market will return to pre-war conditions. Yet this is little consolation for consumers since the price of gas, methane, natural gas and fuel oil almost doubled since he took office. With double digit inflation, there is no end in sight.
“By God, this will be over sooner than people think. They just need to be more patient.” – Joe Biden
The liberal media and the Democratic Party are frantically running interference for Biden’s failed energy policies and the resulting chaos around the nation. Blue states are finding it hard to convince drivers this is for the good of the climate. And red states are saying, “We told you so!”
It’s getting more difficult each day for the left to blame the conflict in Ukraine for the spike in energy prices. Biden is walking in lockstep with the environmentalists and the EPA on energy policies. This will continue to empty the pocketbooks of consumers and it will negatively affect economic growth.
To reward his climate geeks, on his first day in office, Joe Biden signed executive orders to halt new oil and gas drilling permits on federal lands and waters. He canceled the Keystone pipeline and suspended oil and gas leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. He then reinstated the “Waters of the United States” rule to ban energy projects in New Mexico; a move that has infuriated the Navajo Nation.
This not only resulted in higher energy costs for all consumers, it blew gas and oil futures through the market’s roof. U.S. prices last month rose 8.9% over last year, the largest increase since 1982.
Last year, Biden directed the EPA to enact new regulations governing methane emissions from oil and gas production, storage and distribution. They will increase costs well over a billion dollars this year.
He also signed a resolution to cancel Trump’s EPA energy production reforms. Biden’s move will increase prices with onerous regulations, and will negatively impact consumers and businesses.
Shortly after he took office, without the consent of Congress, Biden rejoined the Paris agreement, which will result in increased “punishing new energy manifestos” that will additionally raise energy costs. Paris energy gurus are pursuing new standards for ozone content that will create barriers for energy project permits. And these levels of air purification are impossible to achieve in any country.
Biden created a number of new oversight agencies to reform and regulate energy. These councils are run by people appointed by him without Senate confirmation. He has given them broad powers to develop new regulations on U.S. energy production without consenting approval from Congress.
The left’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act included the climate-change wizard’s wish list of new regulations supported by the White House. These will force states to develop carbon-reduction plans that must be increased every four years and be approved by the Department of Transportation. Failure to comply will result in cutting interstate matching funds for highway maintenance projects.
This plan was developed by progressives to make the people more dependent on costly new rapid transit systems financed by state and federal funds. They are supposed to reduce driving even for those in rural areas where little public transportation exists and driving is their only option.
“It’s our goal to get more electric cars on American roads and more charging stations built.” – Joe Biden
Biden’s proposed new carbon taxes on electricity markets will be costly, ineffective and regressive. This is another attempt to pass former President Barack Obama’s failed “Cap and Trade” redistribution of wealth stratagem.
“Under my plan, you can build a coal fired burning plant but it will cost you dearly.” – Barack Obama
With midterm elections around the corner, Biden and the Democrats are looking for any way to right the ship of public approval before November. But they could be opening up an even bigger can of worms. They see Biden’s best bet to boost supply is reaching a nuclear deal with Iran. But getting in bed with another rogue nation armed with nuclear weapons can be a fatal mistake for America.
One option that is being discussed by Biden and his advisors is banning future U.S. oil exports to insulate U.S. drivers from global volatility. That is a progressive pipe dream. With Biden’s current energy policies, it is unlikely we’ll ever be producing enough oil to export one single barrel again.
Stephen King wrote, “Why can’t we see the elephant in the room?” The get out of jail free card for Biden to end our dependence on importing oil from rouge nations is to trash his domestic energy killing global warming agenda. If he was to turn back the energy hands of time to the day he took office, we’d be oil independent in less than a year. But, “Hell will freeze over before that happens.”
With the Democratic Party sharply divided, Biden is walking a tightrope. Socialists in the House claim the Russian invasion of Ukraine is a result of American “imperialism” and demand the U.S. withdraws from NATO. Those on the moderate left can no longer defend Biden’s energy policies. The Ukraine crisis is upending the party’s midterm agenda, and it is now “a crisis for Democrats.”
“America has no business getting involved with the war in Ukraine.” – Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Biden can run but he can’t hide from voters. His fiscal and his energy policies have caused a labor shortage, runaway inflation and a major energy crisis. Biden knows he must clean up his act before the midterms, since the economy, energy and foreign policy have the greatest influence on the way people vote Election Day.
“The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a President and senators and congressmen and government officials, but the voters of this country.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt
About the Author: William Haupt III is a retired professional journalist, author, and citizen legislator in California for over 40 years. He got his start working to approve California Proposition 13. His work also appears in The Center Square, The Western Journal, Neighbor Newspapers, KPXJ 21 (Shreveport, LA), Killeen Daily Herald, Aberdeen American News, InsideNova, Kankakee Daily Journal, Monterey County Weekly, Olean Times Herald, The Greeneville Sun and more. Follow William on Twitter @iii_haupt.
Biden Shrinks U.S. Land Open for New Oil and Gas Drilling
By Jennifer A. Dlouhy | Bloomberg News
The shift is part of a Bureau of Land Management plan to resume selling drilling rights on government-managed federal lands concentrated in the western U.S. When the government holds those auctions, expected later this year, roughly 80% less land will be available for oil and gas leasing, the Interior Department said.
Energy companies also will be forced to pay higher royalties for the oil and gas they extract from the newly leased land.
The changes, which would ultimately boost the cost of oil and gas development on federal lands, could clash with Biden’s efforts to tame persistently high gasoline prices by releasing crude from the nation’s emergency stockpile and authorizing wider summertime sales of a cheaper higher-ethanol fuel.
“For too long, the federal oil and gas leasing programs have prioritized the wants of extractive industries above local communities, the natural environment, the impact on our air and water the needs of tribal nations, and, moreover, other uses of our shared public lands,” Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said in a news release.
“Today, we begin to reset how and what we consider to be the highest and best use of Americans’ resources for the benefit of all current and future generations,” she said.
The new leasing plan, which does not apply to U.S. coastal waters, falls far short of some climate activists’ demands that the administration permanently block oil and gas development on public land.
The administration’s plan to sell new leases is “a reckless failure of climate leadership,” said Randi Spivak, public lands director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “These lease sales should be shelved and the climate-destroying federal fossil-fuel programs brought to an end.”
Oil industry advocates argue the U.S. can’t afford to restrict oil and gas development on federal lands and waters that provide nearly a quarter of the nation’s crude production. They’ve argued the U.S. should accelerate domestic oil and gas development amid the war in Ukraine and concerns about Europe’s reliance on Russian energy supplies.
Anne Bradbury, chief executive officer of the American Exploration and Production Council, called the announcement of new onshore lease sales -- the first under Biden -- “a step in the right direction.”
But “to really unleash American energy, the Biden administration should continue to hold ongoing lease sales,” as well as “issue permits more expeditiously and provide consistent regulatory certainty,” Bradbury said.
The changes flow from a Biden administration assessment last year that concluded the federal government’s oil and gas leasing program should be overhauled to better account for climate change and ensure a higher return to taxpayers.
Under the approach, the Interior Department is narrowing the amount of land available for oil and gas leasing, a shift meant to target the highest-potential territory while avoiding wildlife habitat and sensitive cultural areas. Some 173 parcels spanning roughly 144,000 acres will be available for auction under sale notices the Bureau of Land Management will release Monday.
Royalty rates for competitive leases will increase to 18.75%, a boost from the longstanding typical charge of 12.5% the value of oil and gas extracted from onshore leases.
Conservationists and good-government groups have argued higher royalties are necessary to avoid shortchanging U.S. taxpayers, especially since states and private landowners typically impose much higher rates. For instance, in Texas, royalty rates can be double that charged by the U.S. government.
Biden paused oil and gas lease sales in January 2021 to consider the path forward, after previous campaign promises to ban new oil and gas permitting in the territory. Though a federal judge last June ruled that moratorium was unlawful, the planned Bureau of Land Management auctions would be the first sales of onshore oil and gas leases since the president took office.