Vladimir Putin’s war machine runs on fossil fuels. Experts agree that America could deprive Russia of much-needed funds if we explore our own untapped supplies and achieve sustained energy independence. Unfortunately, the Biden administration has pursued and promoted policies that advance Left-wing ideologies and set back American interests. In the process, he hands nations like Russia wealth, power, and leverage over the United States and our allies.
Russia has always been an energy behemoth and now, they produce 11% of the world’s oil. Last year, selling oil and natural gas accounted for more than one-third (36%) of Russia’s budget — well ahead of experts’ forecasts.
The proceeds come in dollars, euros, and British pounds. “Between the United States, the U.K., and the European Union, every single day, we are sending $700 million a day to Putin by buying his oil,” said Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) on the day of Biden’s first State of the Union address, as a coalition of Republican lawmakers demanded Biden prioritize U.S. energy independence.
In 2020, Russia supplied 7% of all U.S. petroleum imports and was America’s number-one supplier of imported gasoline in 2021: We import more gasoline from Russia than we do from Canada. “President Biden needs to stop financing Putin’s war with Russian oil, because he shut off the spigots of American energy,” said Scalise.
While his remarks came during a GOP press conference, energy independence has bipartisan support. “Putin has used energy as a weapon. We must counter that, making sure that we have enough energy,” said Democratic Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) separately. “We’re producing the energy in our country to be independent, but also to be able to support our allies.”
“That would be the greatest asset we have,” said Manchin.
Energy supplies, made-in-America, constitute a newly achieved asset this administration has largely squandered. President Donald Trump believed that energy production is an America First issue. His administration took off the shackles the Obama administration clamped down on the U.S. energy sector and, soon, U.S. energy came roaring back to life.
In 2020, the U.S. became a net exporter of oil for the first time since at least 1950, according to figures supplied by the U.S. Energy Information Agency. In 2020, the last year for which data are available, Americans produced more oil than we consumed. (To be specific, we consumed 18.12 million barrels a day but produced 18.4 million.) And we became a net exporter of petroleum, shipping about 635,000 barrels a day more than we imported.
Joe Biden knew if he hoped to maintain the support of a party that had lined up behind the Green New Deal, he had to change things, fast. He canceled the Keystone XL pipeline and has yet to approve any new pipeline to take its place. In his first week in office, he signed an executive order to “pause new oil and natural gas leases on public lands or in offshore waters.”
U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty overturned that order last June. Biden also ordered federal regulators to invent a new measure that he called the “social cost of carbon,” which would factor in the harms the environmentalist movement claims are created by fossil fuels. When a different federal judge struck down that make-believe metric, Biden reimposed a moratorium on federal leases.
Yet Biden has faced criticism from environmentalists for still allowing some oil and gas drilling permits to go forward.
At the same time as President Biden’s anti-energy policies have been implemented, the amount of oil the U.S. imported from Russia reached a record-high under President Biden in May 2021 — when we imported 26,171,000 barrels of oil in a single month though imports have since declined to about 12,500,000.
The previous record occurred when Biden was vice president, in May 2009 (25,083,000 barrels). In fact, the U.S. set records for oil importation from Russia the first three years of the Obama administration. Joe Biden’s awful energy policies are sending Americans back to the future.
Under the Biden Administration, domestic prices have spiked. The price of a barrel of oil has increased almost 50% since last March. Since January, the cost of gasoline in Michigan has risen 33 cents a gallon. Perhaps not surprisingly, Americans are fed up. A Gallup poll in February found that “satisfaction with energy policies has fallen the most this year. Higher gas prices are likely the reason this sentiment has dropped 15 percentage points in the past year.” And that was before the war.
Increasing exploration of domestic oil, natural gas, and coal will prove necessary to reduce Americans’ energy bills. As the world prospers, and worldwide demand for fossil fuel rises, prices will march steadily upward without significant increases in domestic energy production. The U.S. government estimates that global energy use will increase 50% by 2050.
As this month has proven, U.S. energy independence is also necessary because Russia’s abundant energy reserves give Vladimir Putin tremendous leverage over U.S. allies. Even without the Nord Stream 2 pipeline operating, Germany imports 55% of its natural gas from Russia. As a result, President Trump once called Germany “a captive of Russia.” Coincidentally, in the lead-up to Russia’s military conflict with Ukraine, it was Germany that was most ambivalent toward the impending war.
Thankfully, Germany has decided not to wait on the U.S. to secure its own energy indepenence. The nation which just a few years ago announced it would radically shift its energy consumption to so-called renewable energy, has determined to create a strategic energy reserve of fossil fuels, including coal. “Further measures are on the way for next winter, including ensuring a gas reserve,” said German Vice-Chancellor, Robert Habeck. “If there is such a thing as good news on such a day, it is that the energy supply in Germany is secure.”
Would that Americans could say the same thing.