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As President Joe Biden embarks on his trip to the Middle East, he is leaving behind obvious domestic challenges as it relates to the ongoing energy crisis our country is facing. The White House is long overdue for a visit with Saudi Arabia. After all, the Kingdom is a strategic partner of the United States on many fronts, not least of which is our combined leadership in curtailing rampant global energy inflation. However, the Biden administration doggedly denies the leaders of the two largest oil producers will discuss options for increasing production. Regardless of the trip’s outcome, it remains painfully clear to Americans struggling to fill their gas tanks, that our leaders would rather first look abroad for solutions to the current energy crisis rather than removing barriers to American energy development.
Just recently, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm hosted oil and gas executives in a closed-door meeting to discuss the record-high fuel prices. Unsurprisingly, no significant consensus was reached. Instead, the Biden administration continues to obstruct new domestic energy development, including considerations of a misguided oil export ban, while ceding markets and economic growth to Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, and Iran for oil and gas.
The fact is fuel prices will not subside as long as the administration maintains a “keep it in the ground” stance on energy production, transportation, and sales. Instead of embracing American-sourced fossil fuel production, pipeline infrastructure, and exports, Biden has focused his efforts around blaming energy companies and constraining their operations. It wasn’t that long ago that the energy industry and its workers had support from the government. When I served as secretary of Energy under President Donald Trump, we prioritized American energy development by advancing smart tax policies and pragmatic regulation.
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Thanks to our work, gone were the days of America’s crippling dependence on foreign energy sources. When I left the Department of Energy, America was a net-exporter of American oil and natural gas.
That all changed in January 2021 when Biden killed the Keystone XL Pipeline, restricted new oil and gas leases on federal lands, and slow walked the approval of energy infrastructure projects. And just last week, the Interior Department announced its proposed offshore leasing plan sending more mixed signals to industry. Pending the public comment period, the plan could open up to 11 lease sales or none off the U.S. coastline. These actions, coupled with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, are not alleviating gas prices, where some states are paying over $5 a gallon and $6 in California.
And now, the Biden administration is openly contemplating a proposed windfall profits tax to penalize the very industry that’s working to strengthen America’s energy security. This new tax would be a major blunder. During the Carter administration after a windfall profits tax was enacted, domestic production decreased and the U.S. increased its reliance on foreign oil. Repeating the same mistake would lead to higher prices and less production.
Instead of expanding American energy production in the face of foreign turmoil, Biden has signaled more reliance on imports. Later this week, he is heading to Saudi Arabia in an effort to increase oil imports.
Before traveling to Saudi Arabia, President Biden should look right here in Texas, and send a special envoy to Midland, which is one of the most critical energy producing regions in the country, to understand the need of American producers. In addition to Texas, production from the Bakken Formation in recent years has elevated North Dakota to one of the most significant sources of oil in the United States, thanks to robust business investments. Now, North Dakota accounts for nearly 10 percent of our nation’s oil production, the third-largest producing state in the union.
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It is safe to say states like Texas, North Dakota and many others across the country have played an outsized role in helping the United States decrease its need for foreign energy sources.
Biden can offer certainty to the domestic energy market by supporting critical infrastructure projects like the Keystone XL Pipeline and Dakota Access Pipeline. DAPL has created thousands of jobs, and is currently transporting roughly 570,000 barrels of oil per day, while generating millions of dollars in tax revenue for local economies.
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The Biden administration has the ability to send a clear message to industry and American consumers by supporting U.S. energy, infrastructure and offshore leasing projects. Instead of prioritizing ineffective solutions, the administration needs to come to the table and work with industry in earnest instead of blaming the energy industry.
Biden should listen to Americans who are struggling to fill their gas tanks and pay their grocery bills by reversing course and finally put forth tangible, long-term solutions to address our country’s energy crisis.
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