Why Is the Biden Administration Attacking America's 'Energy Independence?'
Earlier this month, we celebrated 245 years of American independence. Since 1776, our nation has emerged as the global superpower thanks in part to our innovative energy industries. America would not be where it is today without the utilization of our abundant natural resources and energy production. While many presidents who came before him shared the collective goal of achieving and maintaining American security and independence, President Biden and his Administration are acting in direct contradiction of those interests.
In March of this year, the U.S. Department of Energy reported that the U.S. imported 6.1 million barrels of crude oil from Russia, the highest level in nearly 10 years. March also marked a milestone for Russia, which became our third-largest oil exporter. To make matters worse, June crude imports from Russia were reported at a staggering 7.5 million barrels, or nearly 30% higher than they were even in the highest month under President Trump (May 2019).
Before President Biden took office, the U.S. dominated energy production on a global scale. We became a net exporter of natural gas in 2017, and until recently, our exports have exceeded our imports. These unprecendented milestones provided our country with revenue, stability, and peace of mind that our reliance on foreign nations for energy development was diminishing.
Oil and natural gas production in the U.S. has impacts both here at home and abroad. It provides reliable and affordable domestic energy for American families and businesses; it also allows us to empower other counties with that same affordability and reliability, creating geo-political partnerships and strengthening international security.
Innovation, research, and development of new technologies – such as carbon capture and liquified natural gas – have expanded the U.S. capacity to grow its export potential in a way that also reduces emissions. These innovative developments allow us to remain energy independent while setting an example that environmental stewardship and resource production can go hand-in-hand.
Rather than harnessing the power and innovation of American energy, the Biden Administration has created a power vacuum by taking American oil and gas off the market. This allows nations like Iran, Russia, and others to step into the void, providing them opportunities to weaponize markets and threaten the stability and security of the globe. The Administration opened the door for Russia by lifting the Nord Stream 2 pipeline sanctions. It also terminated the Keystone XL pipeline and banned any new oil and gas leases on federal lands – forcing the U.S. to retreat from the global energy stage.
By curbing domestic energy production and supporting energy development in countries like Russia, President Biden is making it clear that his administration will prioritize Russian jobs and the Russian economy before ours here at home.
Decreasing supply does not curb demand, and the attempt to shut down energy production from the U.S. does not change domestic energy consumption. It puts power into the hands of hostile nations while stifling the American economy and threatening our national security.
It is unacceptable that the Biden Administration is pandering to bad actors. Candidate Biden lectured our allies about their dependence on Russian energy, and now, President Biden has reversed his position to allow U.S. petroleum imports from Russia to hit record highs. At the same time, his Administration is actively engaged with OPEC Plus to increase their oil production while blocking ours here at home - the exact opposite of American energy security.
As chair of the Congressional Western Caucus and a Republican chair of the Congressional Energy Export Caucus, we are proud to lead these groups in Congress to strengthen American energy security and independence. Together, we will always push back on policies that make America more dependent on hostile regimes and instead, work to bolster safe, responsible domestic energy production.
America has an opportunity to continue to be a global energy player, but if we prioritize foreign energy production, we risk destabilizing the market for ourselves and partners abroad. As we look toward 245 more years of American independence, we must ask ourselves – how can we seize that opportunity?
Dan Newhouse represents Washington’s 4th Congressional District and serves as Chairman of the Congressional Western Caucus.
Carol Miller represents West Virginia’s 3rd Congressional District and serves as co-chair of the House Energy Export Caucus.