Typically conflicting energy, environmental groups unite to oppose Biden’s gas gambit

Jennifer A. Dlouhy 6/22/2022

(Bloomberg) — President Joe Biden’s latest plan to attack high gasoline prices is uniting normally warring environmentalists and oil industry leaders who have found common ground blasting it as a political gimmick.

Biden is set Wednesday to call on Congress to suspend the 18.4 cents-per-gallon federal tax, though it’s unclear he could muster enough support from his own Democratic party for the pause. Opposition from across the political spectrum is only complicating the push. 

Oil leaders and their allies on Capitol Hill are panning the approach, saying it does nothing to address more fundamental problems holding back U.S. crude and gasoline production. Anne Bradbury, head of the American Exploration and Production Council, said the president would be better off encouraging the construction of pipelines and addressing supply chain bottlenecks hindering drilling. 

“Instead of calling for temporary Band-Aids that have little hope of becoming law, the administration should be calling for policies that support all-of-the-above American energy production,” Bradbury said.

Leslie Beyer, CEO of the Energy Workforce & Technology Council, said it’s unfortunate to see the administration try every option except the correct one to lower energy prices. 

"The proposal of a gas tax holiday does nothing to lower energy costs in the long-term, and could potentially exacerbate inflation by increasing demand without increasing supply," Beyer said, adding that the obvious solution is to produce more energy at home and invest in domestic energy infrastructure.

Environmentalists say a gas tax holiday would only stoke more demand for fossil fuels while delaying a necessary pivot away from them. 

It would amount “to little more than yet another subsidy for the fossil fuel industry,” Sierra Club Legislative Director Melinda Pierce said in an emailed statement. “Rather than helping oil companies pad their bottom lines even further,” Pierce said, Congress should “make investments in affordable, accessible clean energy.”

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