- - Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Energy security is national security. When Russia invaded Ukraine, it sent shockwaves through the world’s oil supply. Unfortunately, the United States, which was buying 700,000 barrels of Russian oil per day courtesy of the Biden administration, saw its already struggling oil and gas sector sink even lower levels of production.

This was avoidable. If Biden had not increased our dependence on Russian oil and gas, our energy sector could have been spared. Even before serious talks of a Russian invasion mounted, President Biden displayed his weakness on the world stage by green lighting Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline. This early kowtow to Putin set the stage for his final, perhaps biggest misstep of all taking oil and gas sanctions off the table as tensions between Ukraine and Russia began to rise. If we came down with swift, harsh sanctions on Russia’s energy sector, Putin may not have launched his unprovoked attack.

For months, Republicans urged the administration to do exactly that. I introduced the Ending Dependence on Russian Energy Act, along with several of my House colleagues, calling for the United States to restart the Keystone XL pipeline and immediately ban the import of Russian oil and gas. Speaker Pelosi could have called it up for a vote.

Instead, it took the assault of an innocent nation, millions of refugees, and a slew of bombings on civilians for the White House to do what they should have since day one: ban the import of Russian oil and gas.

Notably, it is never too late to do the right thing and I am glad the administration finally took this step; however, this small step towards sanity did little to course correct the past year of President Biden‘s “America Last” policies.

From day one, this administration has propped up Russia and other foreign energy sectors while hamstringing our own. That didn’t change overnight.

Under President Trump, the United States achieved energy independence. The Keystone XL pipeline was under construction. Federal lands were open to energy development, and the White House encouraged innovation and growth in our energy sector.

The minute Biden was sworn in, everything changed. His first official move as Commander-in-Chief was to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline, killing 11,000 jobs and American energy dominance with it.

He banned energy development on federal lands, a move so harmful to our energy sector that he was recently forced to walk it back, albeit tepidly.

Candidate Biden declared a war on American energy and President Biden has delivered. But his so-called “green energy” approach is shortsighted at best. The United States produces the cleanest oil and gas in the world. We should be harnessing our energy potential here. We can’t outsource our energy needs to countries and call that progress.

As co-chair of the Roosevelt Conservation Caucus and a member of the Select Committee on the Climate, as well as the U.S. Representative for all of Georgia’s beautiful coastline, I understand the importance of implementing clean energy strategies that will preserve our planet for future generations. But we cannot let our energy policy get ahead of our innovation and ignore our need for reliable energy sources overnight, nor should we.

Reducing domestic oil and gas production might make left-wing environmentalists feel good, but it only exacerbates the impact our energy consumption has on the climate and the rest of the world.

President Biden has already implemented part of the Ending Dependence on Russian Energy Act by banning Russian oil and gas imports. Now it’s time for him to signal that his ambush on the American energy sector is over by restarting the Keystone XL pipeline.

Mr. President, it’s time to put America First.

• U.S. Representative Earl L. “Buddy” Carter, Georgia Republican, is an experienced businessman and pharmacist. He represents the state’s 1st Congressional District and is a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the House Budget Committee. He is also a member of the GOP Doctors’ Caucus and Select Committee on the Climate.

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