The Biden administration’s focus on moving toward alternative energy sources such as wind and solar—despite an abundance of fossil fuels—will damage America’s energy independence and economy, according to a panel of former and current lawmakers at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).
Former Rep. Bob Beauprez (R-Colo.) said on Feb. 27 that there are increasingly more ways to harvest fossil fuels in a safer, cleaner, and wiser way, as he referred to the administration’s energy policy “absolutely insanity at a time when we are blessed with an abundance with energy.”
“That’s what keeps the economy going,” he said at the panel discussion, titled “Flipping the Switch: Biden’s Energy Policy Goes Dark.” “If you pull the plug in that, you risk not only the energy supply but the security of the nation.”
On the same panel, Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.), said the abundance of energy has not only made the country energy independent, but also the “biggest exporter of energy in the world,” noting that this will help America to build stronger global relationships.
Kelly noted that “62 percent of power comes from the old standards.”
“How are you going to replace what you’re going to take out?” he said. “I just think that we know what works, what we rely on.”
In 2019, the United States became energy independent for the first time since 1957, according to the Institute for Energy Research. U.S. energy production in that year was higher than U.S. energy consumption for the first time in 62 years. Total U.S. energy production increased by 5.7 percent in 2019, the institute said, while U.S. energy demand fell by 0.9 percent (pdf).
Panelist Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) said half her state is on federal land, as are many others. She said these states will be hit hard by Biden’s 60-day moratorium on new oil or natural gas leases and drilling permits on federal land.
Beauprez said it’s not only “dangerous” but ignorant to believe that clean energy can somehow reliably replace what the oil and gas industry has done. He said it’s wrong to “put that aside and go down this other path and hopes it all works out.”
“We are sitting on an abundant supply of energy; now we have the technology to harvest that energy safer, cleaner than humankind has ever been able to do in existence,” he said.
“I have a wind turbine on my ranch; it works great. … But I always make sure there is propane. This quest to be 100 percent renewable, we are going to wind up someday exactly like Texas,” Beauprez said.
“On those critical days we need it; we don’t have what they call capacity energy, energy storage.”
TC Energy, the company behind the Keystone XL pipeline project that was shut down by Biden on his first day in office, had said in a Jan. 17 statement that it would “achieve net zero emissions across the project operations” when the pipeline is in service in 2023. TC said it committed to operations being “fully powered by renewable energy sources no later than 2030.”
The panelists also talked about the economic impacts of Biden’s climate agenda and energy policy. Beauprez said that if you limit the options and sources of energy, for example by only focusing on solar and wind, it’s going to drive prices up because the competition is eliminated.
Kelly said the people that always get hurt from things like increased electricity prices are the low-income people.
“The idea that this will all somehow be an advantage to them is ridiculous,” he said. “If you live in the rural areas, this is absolutely insane.”
“Why would we penalize the hardest working Americans with this foolish agenda and tell them that somehow it will work in the future?” he said. “I’m asking people if you haven’t been there, don’t tell them how to live.”