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Wednesday, April 27, 2022

OPINION:

Since his inauguration, President Biden has been saying “no” to U.S. energy producers. As a result, Americans are paying more for energy, whether at the gas pump or through their monthly utility bills. Higher energy prices drive up the costs of everything we consume meaning inflation will continue to rise, undermining the wage gains we’ve made in recent years and hurting lower income households the most. For an energy rich nation such as ours, this situation is unacceptable and completely avoidable.

Just a decade ago, my home state of North Dakota cracked the code on new horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing techniques, which unlocked the potential of our nation’s vast energy reserves in shale formations like the Bakken. This helped the United States become the world’s largest oil and gas producer as well as a net exporter of energy in 2019. Americans benefited from our energy independence through record low energy prices, good-paying jobs and greater economic and national security.


Rather than build upon this success, President Biden has hit the brakes on domestic energy production. For more than a year, the administration placed a moratorium on leasing for federal lands, stifling the opportunity to harness our abundant taxpayer-owned energy resources. Further, the administration’s recent announcement to resume leasing will reduce the amount of federal land available for energy development by about 80% and increase energy production costs. Despite the administration’s claims, current leaseholders have been held back from developing these energy resources due to burdensome regulations and court challenges led by anti-fossil fuel special interest groups.

At the same time, the Biden administration is undercutting our ability to move oil and gas across the country by blocking pipelines. In 2015, I introduced S.1, a bill to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline. We passed it through the Senate and the House, but President Obama vetoed it. If not for that, the pipeline would be bringing nearly a million barrels of oil per day from our closest friend and ally Canada. That’s now oil we don’t have.

The Biden administration has doubled down on this approach. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) under President Biden‘s appointees has been slow-walking the approval of much-needed natural gas infrastructure, including gas gathering systems and pipelines. FERC is now advancing two policy statements that add even more uncertainty to a burdensome regulatory process and threaten not only future projects, but also those that have already completed the required environmental reviews. This heavy-handed approach results in stranded natural gas and increased flaring because energy producers can’t get permits for the infrastructure needed to get natural gas to market, let alone to our allies in Europe, which would reduce their reliance on Russian natural gas. If we want to cut off the Russia war machine, we need to cut off their ability to sell energy.

While this administration pursues their Green New Deal agenda here at home, President Biden is pleading with OPEC and our adversaries, Iran and Venezuela, to pump more oil. It makes no sense to increase our dependence on nations that are less stable and have less stringent environmental practices, when our domestic energy industry is ready and willing to answer the call to meet our country’s growing demand for energy.

President Biden needs to take the handcuffs off our energy producers and work with us to empower American energy workers to develop our abundant energy reserves at home, using the latest and greatest technology to do it with the best environmental stewardship in the world. To this end, we are:

• Pressing the administration to end its restrictive policies to unleash the full potential of our abundant, taxpayer-owned oil and gas reserves on federal lands.

• Advancing efforts to crack the code on carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) technologies, which will enable the U.S. to continue utilizing all of its abundant energy resources, including oil, gas and coal, while reducing emissions.

• Working to provide regulatory certainty and streamline the approval of key energy infrastructure, including pipelines, transmission lines and other facilities needed to get energy to market.

Through these efforts, we are supporting the good work of our country’s energy producers and helping ensure more affordable energy for Americans, and President Biden should do the same. Increasing America’s domestic supply of energy means lower costs for consumers, a stronger economy and a more secure nation. It’s as simple as that.

• Senator John Hoeven, North Dakota Republican, serves on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and works to unleash the nation’s abundant energy resources to lower costs for consumers and help advance our nation’s economic and national security. Prior to his time in the Senate, Hoeven served as governor of North Dakota, where he initiated EmPower ND, the state’s comprehensive energy plan that led North Dakota to become an energy powerhouse and one of the largest energy producing and exporting states in the nation.


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