ICYMI: Barrasso Op-Ed: Biden’s Anti-Nuclear Move Fits His Anti-American Energy Agenda

August 21, 2023

By: U.S. Senator John Barrasso
August 21, 2023
National Review

The American people want our nation to be energy-independent. They know increasing production of American energy is the best way to achieve that.

President Biden is telling the American people to pound sand.

According to recent polling, four out of every five Americans say the U.S. should strive for energy independence. More than 50 percent want to see greater domestic oil production, compared with just 17 percent who believe it should be reduced. Two-thirds say the U.S. energy mix should include fossil fuels. The Biden agenda, however, is to ensure that these affordable and traditional sources of American energy stay buried in the ground.

The president recently went around Congress to lock away key deposits of uranium and other critical minerals in Arizona. Biden did this to satisfy his left-wing base.

Right now, nuclear power accounts for about 20 percent of the electricity the country uses each year. It is a reliable source of electricity and an economic driver that provides close to half a million Americans with stable, high-paying jobs. It is also our largest source of carbon-free electricity. The president is undermining even his own stated climate goals by dancing to the tune of the environmental extremists.

The U.S. currently purchases three times as much uranium from Russia as we produce. That’s not because the U.S. lacks resources. It’s because the administration wants it that way. Uranium is abundant in a number of places around the country, including my home state of Wyoming.

President Biden’s reckless move only makes our dependence on Russia worse. Vladimir Putin can sleep better knowing Joe Biden is protecting a key source of funds for his war machine.

It’s not just uranium mining that the Biden administration is making off-limits. When it comes to fossil fuels and other traditional energy sources, the president’s record is clear. He has consistently refused to follow the law on leasing of oil and natural gas. His administration has approved the lowest level of such leases since World War II. The president is slow-walking federal coal-mine permitting, and judicial overreach has frozen new leases.

These attacks on American energy have a dire impact in my home state of Wyoming. Oil and gas production on federal lands employs tens of thousands of people in the state. It generates tax revenue that pays for K–12 public education and other essential services.

Energy leases are central to the economies of rural communities. By failing to hold legally required lease sales each quarter, the White House is setting our states up for failure in the future.

Families across America bear the cost of an anti-American energy agenda. It undermines our energy security and makes blackouts more likely. In states such as Wyoming — America’s energy breadbasket — it crushes communities as it hurts jobs and the economy.

American families now spend almost 40 percent more for energy since Biden’s inauguration. On top of all that, it forces Americans to buy energy from enemies and countries that hate us.

There is an alternative — an approach supported by millions of Americans who see the benefits of an “all of the above” energy agenda. It starts with my legislation to reform the permitting process so that safe and valuable energy projects are approved, instead of remaining wrapped up in litigation and Washington red tape.

I introduced the SPUR Act with every Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. The goal is to benefit the entire country — not just a narrow range of interests. It is technology- and fuel-neutral, helping to ensure that America will see a growing supply of both traditional and alternative energy sources.

It will also put an end to the needless project delays by unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats. Our legislation includes specific time limits with enforceable deadlines for environmental reviews.

The SPUR Act establishes time limits for legal challenges. Groups would be able to challenge environmental reviews. These reviews would have to be done in a timely way, rather than using endless litigation simply to kill projects.

Additionally, the bill prevents the executive branch from hijacking the permitting process as part of an ideological vendetta.

The Biden administration has used the broken permitting process to undermine American energy production at every opportunity. The president even said recently that he is “pushing . . . very hard” to stop all drilling across America — a disastrous move for Wyoming and the entire country.

America is extraordinarily lucky to have abundant energy resources including coal, oil, natural gas, and nuclear. Those energy resources do us no good if President Biden and the climate extremists keep them locked up from production.

JOHN BARRASSO represents Wyoming in the U.S. Senate and is the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.