Opinion: The opposite of helping—Biden energy policies miss the mark

Edward Cross, President, Kansas Independent Oil & Gas Association July 21, 2023

(WO) - President Biden and his supporters continue to look for every opportunity to attack, weaken, and destroy domestic oil and natural gas production. The Biden administration’s actions are making it harder for our economy to recover and are damaging our nation’s future energy security.

The public primarily sees energy policy as an economic issue or an environmental issue. Republicans primarily view energy policy as an economic issue. Democrats are far more likely to view energy policy as an environmental issue.

The energy policy challenge for President Biden and the 118th Congress is to mediate these two opposing viewpoints to create policy that is beneficial to the economy and the environment. The U.S. public wants energy policy that will help bolster the economy, protect the environment, and require very minimal personal sacrifice by the consumer.

In his State of the Union speech last February, President Biden focused on three problems: 1. The decline of U.S. industry and infrastructure; 2. The global energy crisis; and 3. The supply chain crisis. Biden portrayed himself as the solution to all three problems. But he is, in fact, a major cause.

Because industry and infrastructure require development, Biden’s anti-development environmental policies have been a major obstacle to responsible development. In his State of the Union speech, Biden asked, “Where is it written that America can’t lead the world in manufacturing again?” The answer is simple. It is written in the endless anti-development and anti-energy regulations that the Biden administration continues to spew.

Biden portrayed the global energy crisis as a problem that he is solving. In fact, it is a problem he has helped cause and is making it worse with anti-fossil fuel policies. But the main cause is global anti-fossil fuel policies championed and supported by Biden.

Restrictions on domestic oil and gas production in the U.S. are pushing operations to countries with lower environmental and human rights standards. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) says global oil and natural gas demand will increase over the next 30 years. And nearly half of the world’s energy is expected to come from oil and natural gas in 2045. That demand will be met, one way or another. If America does not meet it, it will be met by other countries that do not share our security interests, environmental standards, or values. The solutions are right here in America, and we need to seize them.

Biden policies make things worse. Not only has Biden been a significant cause of the global energy crisis, but he has also taken actions to compound it by continuing to threaten fossil fuel producers. Biden says, “I guarantee you, we’re going to end fossil fuels” and then cannot understand why oil companies don’t invest more into increasing production.

Biden blamed the supply chain crisis on “the pandemic.” The supply chain crisis is caused in part by bad pandemic policies but also by general hostility toward energy and development by the Biden administration and many other world leaders. Hostility toward energy and development makes it hard for supply chains to recover.

The oil and natural gas industry can be part of the solution to our nation’s energy policy challenges. Entrepreneurs in the private sector and smart, state-led policies have created and will continue to drive American energy leadership.

It does not make sense to place unnecessary political and legal obstacles in the way of responsible American oil and natural gas production, cancel oil pipelines, discourage investment in fossil fuels, stimulate demand through outlandish spending, and then beg OPEC+ for more oil to contain inflation.

A dose of energy intelligence. The prevailing view, that the energy transition is a linear trajectory from fossil fuels to renewables, is misleading and potentially dangerous to a world that will continue to be thirsty for all energy sources.

To place expected future energy demand in some context, the 2022 World Energy Outlook sees total world energy demand increasing 23% from 2021 to 2045. Oil’s share of total energy in 2045 will only decline from 30.9% to 28.6%. Coal will fall further, from 26.1% to 16.6%. Natural gas will rise, as will nuclear, hydro and biomass. The biggest growth area will be renewables, which will grow from 2.6% in 2021 to 10.9% in 2045. If you are in the oil business today, you will still be in 2045.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports that oil and natural gas supplied 68% of U.S. energy in 2022. By 2045, the EIA estimates that oil and natural gas will supply roughly 50% of U.S. energy needs.

Despite the aspirational policies attempting to define a transition away from fossil fuels, actions speak louder than words. Countries are showing every day that they are more interested in affordable energy than in paying a green premium. That’s proving particularly true in light of the energy crisis, whether considering China’s interest in buying Russian oil, or Germany’s decision to hold onto coal. Believe what you see, and what is actually happening, in the marketplace, not what you hear. People want an energy policy that will help bolster the economy, protect the environment, and require very minimal personal sacrifice.

The situation transcends politics. American energy policy is not a Republican issue or a Democrat issue. It is an American prosperity and leadership issue. The American people want, expect and deserve elected leaders, who will place what’s best for our state and national economies and energy future above partisan ideology and political posturing.

I strongly believe that the American people need, and want, moral, intellectual and strategic clarity and courage from our policymakers.

The most pressing issues facing the U.S. economy in the foreseeable future are not those arising from climate change or an energy transition. Rather, the factors to watch are inflation, rising energy costs, and national security threats.

A long way to go. While the ambitious pledges from various international bodies and governments would suggest the energy transition is near, the gap between theory and reality is vast. It will likely be decades before an energy transition can take place. The energy transition may have begun, but there is a very long way to go before fossil fuel dominance is truly challenged.

The time to end the intrusion of extreme political ideology or personal agendas in energy policy debate is now. The only limits on our nation’s energy potential will be self-imposed by short-sighted, politically motivated energy policy decisions. The American public and future generations deserve better.

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