By: U.S. Senator John Barrasso
February 9, 2022
After President Biden blamed Republicans for his own failures during his Jan. 19 press conference, he asked, “What are Republicans for?”
When it comes to energy, the answer is easy. Republicans are for policies that will sustain and strengthen America’s energy revolution. We want to maintain our status as the global energy superpower.
Republicans are for unleashing America’s workers to find and develop energy on federal land. This is the source of a fifth of our oil supply and a significant source of federal tax revenue. We also support allowing energy producers to develop the necessary pipeline and transmission infrastructure to move energy to market.
The president’s policies against American energy have caused uncertainty in the energy market. His policies have contributed to the underinvestment we’ve seen in the oil and gas sector.
Killing the Keystone XL Pipeline on his very first day in office and following that with a ban on oil and gas lease sales offshore, on federal lands, and in Alaska was a declaration of war on American energy. It sent the message that investing in U.S. energy is a risky proposition.
The Biden administration is making financing for oil and natural gas projects more difficult and more expensive. The Securities and Exchange Commission’s upcoming rules to enhance “environmental, social, and governance” disclosures are sure to raise the cost of producing American energy. This will only cause more inflation.
Republicans are for affordable energy. High energy costs are a direct attack on American households. Families on low or fixed incomes should not have to choose between heating their homes or eating three meals a day. Under this administration, too many people are left with that choice.
Affordable energy is good for American workers. Energy is two to four times cheaper here than in Europe. Mr. Biden seems intent on making energy more expensive for American families and businesses by imposing the same policies that are causing economic havoc in Europe.
Internationally, we need transparent and competitive energy markets. America became the world’s largest combined producer of oil and natural gas in 2018. We were no longer subject to the whim of the global oil markets dominated by OPEC and Russia. U.S. gas exports also helped our allies diversify their energy supplies.
Mr. Biden’s weakness is on full display when he has to plead with the OPEC cartel and Russia to produce more oil to sell to America. This is at the same time his administration throws roadblocks in the way of American production.
Republicans believe critical minerals are called critical for a reason. We should develop our own supplies, not import them from overseas. Critical minerals are needed for new technologies and the conveniences of modern life. The supply chains of many of these materials are dominated by China and often tainted by human rights abuses.
This administration has set a pattern of blocking mining in the United States. Republicans support a timely approval process for new mines, so our domestic supply chains for critical minerals are strong. We can’t become even more reliant on China.
Republicans are for a reliable electricity grid that can withstand harsh weather without blackouts. That means ensuring sufficient baseload generation, including coal, nuclear, natural gas and hydroelectric power, and providing adequate capacity margins.
Mr. Biden’s planned makeover of our nation’s grid would push even more unpredictable sources of electricity onto the system. It would result in higher costs and less reliability like we’ve seen in California, where rolling blackouts have become commonplace.
Above all, we should focus on energy innovation, not government mandates. Instead of raising the costs of traditional energy — the president’s preferred option — we should diligently work to lower the costs of alternate technologies like advanced nuclear power, carbon capture and hydrogen.
Innovation, not regulation, offers the best long-term solution for providing energy. That’s how we can lift people out of poverty, keep America’s economy growing, create jobs and manage climate change risks.
On climate, rejoining rigged international deals is the wrong answer. Large emitters like China, India and Russia are not held accountable, and the international community looks the other way.
America has been a world leader in reducing emissions over the past 15 years. Innovation is the way forward. We can protect the environment without punishing the economy.
Republican energy policies make sense. They are a proven path to reliable, affordable energy. These policies will deliver a country that makes energy as clean as we can, as fast as we can, without raising costs on American families.
Restoring America’s energy dominance is something we all should be for.
Mr. Barrasso of Wyoming is ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.