While the COVID-19 pandemic has spurred energy demand, leading to increased prices, the Biden administration’s reliance on imports is a greater contributor to the increased costs of oil and gas, according to Jerry Simmons, the president of the Domestic Energy Producers Alliance (DEPA).
On Nov. 23, the Biden administration announced that it would be taking oil out of the Strategic Petroleum Reserves (SPR) in an effort to lower gas prices, which are at a 20-year high.
“I believe that the White House probably said that a 2-cent drop in gasoline prices nationwide was a result of that,” Simmons told NTD’s “Capitol Report” on Dec. 23. NTD is a sister media outlet of The Epoch Times.
Simmons said, referring to the 50 million barrels that the Biden administration took out of the SPR. Simmons said taking oil out of the reserves will ultimately end up costing the taxpayer more, rather than saving money.
According to the most recent data from the Labor Department’s Consumer Price Index, October saw a 30 percent increase in the price of all sources of energy, while the price of gasoline itself increased by 49.6 percent.
The Biden administration has blamed the high gas prices on increased demand and a lack of supply from foreign sources.
“That’s why President [Joe] Biden is using every tool available to him to work to lower prices and address the lack of supply,” White House officials said in a statement.
Simmons disagrees with the Biden administration.
“And what’s it going to end up costing us is another question,” he said. “What was the price of those barrels that we put into the reserve? Were they purchased at maybe $30 a barrel, and now we’re going to have to replace them with $80 oil?
“And we will have to replace what we’ve taken out.”
The DEPA is a coalition of 39 associations from across the United States that aims to lower the cost of energy by ramping up U.S. gas and oil production. Simmons said the organization wants a U.S. energy-independent solution to climate concerns, saying that the United States has an abundance of natural gas and produces the least carbon pollution when refining oil, so importing it from adversaries doesn’t make sense.
“I think the most dramatic thing about the Russian imports to this country … for me, is natural gas,” Simmons told The Epoch Times. “The largest gas field in the world is the Marcellus and Utica shales in Northeast Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia. And because of restrictions on building pipeline infrastructure in the Northeast, this winter, in Boston Harbor, you will see Russian flagged ships downloading liquefied natural gas for the citizens of Massachusetts, which is ridiculous.”
Simmons said the Biden administration’s rush to “green energy” will also make the U.S. energy-dependent. He said that the demand for energy is going to increase, and electric, wind, and solar energy can’t meet those needs.
“I just want a real-world discussion. … There are huge limitations on what we can do as far as building solar panels and windmills,” Simmons said. “Most of those have to have what are called rare earth metals: lithium, cobalt, neodymium. There’s a whole list of those. The Chinese communist government controls about 70 percent of those rare metals worldwide.
“Number one, you’ve got to produce it all. Do we have enough to do that? That’s another problem,” Simmons said, referring to the Biden administration’s push to replace fossil fuel vehicles with electric ones by 2035. “I think they’re being dishonest. … They’re pandering to a part of their political base. But it’s just not true. It can’t happen.”
Simmons cited the fact that the Chinese Communist Party has been building hundreds more coal-fired power plants in the past few years while the United States has been required to reduce carbon emissions and stop the use of fossil fuels with a move to green energy. Simmons said after just one year, the United States is producing 2 million fewer barrels of oil.
Simmons believes that the use of U.S. fossil fuel sources, which are readily available, must be stressed to lower energy costs and mitigate climate challenges.
“Everything in this country is cleaner and better because of the way we do business, and that we’re required to do this. The other countries aren’t,” he said. “If you want to produce the cleanest barrel of oil and the cleanest cubic foot of natural gas, you produce it in this country, not any other country.”