Unleashing American Domestic Energy Production Must Be Priority No. 1

Unleashing American Domestic Energy Production Must Be Priority No. 1
A pump jack operates in the Permian Basin oil production area near Wink, Texas, on Aug. 22, 2018. (Nick Oxford/Reuters)
Chris Talgo
On March 11, the average price of a gallon of gasoline in the United States hit an all-time high of $4.33, surpassing the previous record of $4.12 in July 2008.
Also, President Joe Biden announced on March 8 that he would sign an executive order “to ban the import of Russian oil, liquefied natural gas, and coal to the United States—a significant action with widespread bipartisan support that will further deprive President Vladimir Putin of the economic resources he uses to continue his needless war of choice.”

While I commend Biden’s tough stance on Putin, I am also concerned the administration’s latest move is more about virtue signaling than tackling one of the most pressing problems in America right now: sky-high gas prices.

According to the White House, Biden “will keep working to mitigate the pain that American families feel at the pump” by “releasing more than 90 million barrels from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve this fiscal year” while engaging “in conversations with a range of energy producers.”

Unfortunately, this plan will do next to nothing to mitigate the pain that American families feel at the pump and will likely enrich and embolden despots just as bad as if not worse than Putin.

First, the United States consumes, on average, about 19 million barrels of oil per day. So Biden’s release of 90 million barrels from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) will last less than a week. It will have little effect on the price of gasoline, but will leave a big hole in the SPR.
What’s more, this is the second time Biden has tapped the SPR. In late 2021, Biden released 50 million barrels “as part of ongoing efforts to lower prices and address lack of supply around the world.”

Since taking office, Biden has greenlighted the release of 140 million barrels of oil from the stockpile. In other words, Biden has squandered more than 25 percent of the reserve just over one year into his presidency.

Second, Biden’s plan to replace Russian oil with increased purchases from Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela makes a mockery of the notion that banning Russian oil imports is a humanitarian issue.

The last time I checked, the Islamic Republic of Iran and Maduro’s socialist Venezuela weren’t exactly havens of human rights. For that matter, neither is Saudi Arabia.

On the other hand, there is one simple action Biden could immediately take that would mitigate the pain Americans feel at the pump: unleashing domestic oil and natural gas production.

Not only would this reduce U.S. prices at the pump, it would also create thousands of good-paying jobs, lessen the influence of hostile regimes, and ensure that American energy was widely available for our allies across the globe, especially those in Western Europe who are hooked on Russian oil and natural gas.

Moreover, this isn’t uncharted territory; the United States was energy independent just a few years ago.

Of course, much of the pro-energy policies that were put in place by the Trump administration have been abandoned by Biden. But this can easily be reversed.

For instance, Biden could instantly open leases on federal lands for oil and gas exploration and extraction. He could also greenlight the Keystone XL pipeline with the stroke of a pen. If he were really serious about increasing domestic oil and natural gas production, he could also relax regulations on the oil and gas industry.

However, based on his March 8 statement, Biden is unlikely to take these measures. Instead, the Biden administration is asking the American people to hunker down and wait for green energy to save the day.

Per his statement, “In the long run, the way to avoid high gas prices is to speed up—not slow down—our transition to a clean energy future. We cannot drill our way out of dependence on a global commodity controlled in part by foreign nations and their leaders, including Putin. The only way to eliminate Putin’s and every other producing country’s ability to use oil as an economic weapon, is to reduce our dependency on oil.”

Perhaps Biden should quit listening to radical environmentalists and green-energy grifters. According to a recent Rasmussen poll, 70 percent of Americans “favor increased U.S. oil and gas production.”

Biden ought to listen to the American people, who are paying the price (literally) for his weakness abroad, incompetence at home, and reluctance to reverse course regarding ramping up domestic energy production.

Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.
Chris Talgo is an editor at The Heartland Institute. Talgo writes op-eds, articles for Health Care News and Environmental and Climate News, and hosts podcasts.
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