Barrasso: President Biden Hasn’t Learned from Putin’s War of Aggression & the Energy Crisis in Europe

February 16, 2023

Click here to watch Ranking Member Barrasso’s remarks.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources (ENR), delivered opening remarks at a full committee hearing to examine the impact of the Russian Federation’s war in Ukraine on European and global energy security one year after the invasion. 

The hearing featured testimony from the Honorable Dr. Andrew E. Light, assistant secretary of Energy for International Affairs; Ms. Ditte Juul Jørgensen, director-general for Energy at the European Commission; and Dr. Anna Mikulska, fellow in energy studies at the Baker Institute for Public Policy at Rice University. 

For more information on witness testimony click here. 

Senator Barrasso’s remarks: 

“Thanks so much Mr. Chairman, and thanks for your incredible remarks as we open up this committee hearing today. 

“I want to thank you for holding the hearing. 

“As we know, Europe has learned some hard lessons following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

“None are clearer than the need to have access to an affordable and dependable supply of energy. 

“Unfortunately, President Biden has not learned a thing from Putin’s war of aggression and the energy crisis in Europe. 

“Europeans understand the crucial importance of increasing U.S. oil and natural gas production and exports.

“The president still does not. 

“A week after Russia’s invasion began, President Biden delivered his 2022 State of the Union address. 

“With Russia rampaging through Ukraine, energy prices in Europe skyrocketed. 

“President Biden did not say one word about increasing American energy production, and he should have. 

“Just last week – at this year’s speech – the president again refused to support any policies that would increase American energy production. 

“He would rather increase energy taxes than increase U.S. energy production. 

“The president also seems to believe that we can stop producing oil and gas in just 10 years.

“That’s a dangerous fantasy.

“It’s no wonder oil and gas companies are thinking twice before investing in American energy. 

“The reality is that the world still runs on oil, natural gas, and coal. 

“It will do so for the foreseeable future – even as we reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 

“Killing American production is not going to change that. 

“It will just enrich our adversaries and leave America and our allies weaker and less secure. 

“The president also doubled down on his zealous approach to climate. 

“His focus on climate change above all else is hurting American families and it is harming our national security and national competitiveness.

“Look at the damage Europe’s climate policies have inflicted so far. 

“They brought the continent some of the highest energy prices in the world and they increased the continent’s dependence on Russian energy. 

“Many in Europe have had to turn to wood, peat, and garbage to heat their homes. 

“But for President Biden, Europe’s energy policy is a model. 

“He believes he can impose the same goals and policies here and somehow get different results. 

“But following Europe’s example means living with Europe’s results. 

“Europe’s energy policy is a warning – not a model. 

“What has not worked in Europe will not work here. 

“Europe’s experience should also teach us the folly of depending on tyrannical regimes for energy. 

“Thanks to the shale revolution, the United States no longer needs to depend on cartels and rogue nations for our energy. 

“It took us decades to achieve that. 

“But the president’s assault on American energy production will surrender this vital economic and geopolitical advantage. 

“His unrealistic renewable and electric vehicle goals will also make us much more dependent on our adversaries, like China and Russia, for critical minerals and materials. 

“The president’s goals would require massive amounts of copper, cobalt, nickel, lithium, graphite, and many other minerals. 

“China and Russia control the supply chains of many of these minerals. 

“We need more American production. 

“But it is almost impossible to get a permit for a new mine in the United States. 

“In fact, the Biden administration recently killed two U.S. copper mines. 

“President Biden would prefer that we import these minerals – even sending money to our enemies. 

“It’s also a disgrace that we do not have the capability to fuel our own nuclear reactors. 

“You mentioned it, Mr. Chairman. 

“Ensuring a secure supply of American uranium for existing and advanced reactors is a top priority of mine.

“Yesterday, our chairman, Senator Manchin, as well as Senator Risch, and I introduced legislation to do just that. 

“We also plan to introduce a bill to ban Russian imports. 

“We can’t allow President Biden to throw away America’s hard-won energy independence and increase our reliance on China and Russia. 

“Europe’s plight makes it abundantly clear that this would be a colossal mistake.

“Thank you, Mr. Chairman.”