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Wednesday, April 27, 2022

OPINION:

The Biden administration’s energy policy, or lack thereof, is mind-boggling. This 2050 fantasy has distorted their vision to the point they can’t see the geopolitical moment before us today. Our allies are asking for help. We can meet it if we unleash American energy production, but the absolute intransigence of the administration’s environmental regime stands in the way.

Here are the facts. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, total U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide emissions fell by 12% from 2005 to 2018. During the same period, the U.S. became the number one energy producer in the world, but global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions increased over 23.8%. So, our energy production increased while our emissions decreased, but the globe trended the opposite direction. Somehow President Biden concluded American energy was the problem.


We need more domestic energy production to meet global demand, not less.

This President and his administration want to impose their mediocrity not only on North Dakota, but the entire nation by hamstringing our energy independence. On Day One, they canceled the Keystone XL pipeline, which would have delivered heavy Canadian crude to Gulf Coast refineries instead of relying on Russia or Venezuela. They banned new oil and gas leases on federal lands despite quarterly lease sales mandated in the Mineral Leasing Act. They halted drilling in Alaska’s 1002 area, which again, contradicts the law.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) proposed natural gas pipeline policies requiring environmental analysis of both upstream and downstream emissions. Even though they were labeled as interim, the policies went into effect immediately. After immense blowback, FERC rightfully did an about-face, but the proposal itself sent the wrong message to a watching world: the U.S. is discouraging its own energy infrastructure.

The Biden administration’s agenda of regulatory overreach knows no bounds. The 30x30 initiative aims to conserve at least 30% of land and water by the year 2030. Why’s this important? It is no coincidence two of the top oil-producing states, Texas and North Dakota, are not dominated by federal lands and bureaucracy. 30x30 is merely an attempt to insert the federal government’s mediocrity into excellent work states already do.

Outside of the typical energy and environment avenues, unelected Biden administration officials are doing everything in their power to regulate fossil fuels out of existence. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency froze the Trump administration’s Fair Access Rule which would have codified guidance stating, “banks should conduct risk assessments of individual customers, rather than make broad-based decisions affecting whole categories or classes of customers, when providing access to services, capital, and credit.” The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) proposed the first-ever regulations to require companies to disclose their greenhouse gas emissions as well as imagine their exposure to any number of climate change related risks. Not only does the SEC not have this authority, this is yet another signal chilling markets at a time when we need to ramp up our domestic energy production.

Not to be outdone, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation recently issued draft principles directing financial institutions to address climate-related risks into their risk management frameworks.

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree given the President himself said, “I guarantee you we are going to end fossil fuel” on the campaign trail. Radical financial nominees from Saule Omarova to Sarah Bloom Raskin boisterously advocated for bankrupting the oil and gas industry to tackle climate change and other fundamental changes to reimagine the economy. Picking winners and losers seems to be a theme as Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry falsely exclaimed the U.S. will eliminate coal plants by the end of this decade and actively discourages foreign investment in U.S. energy production. These positions are beyond absurd and it’s absolutely tipping the scales to compensate for misguided climate guilt. But this moronic sentiment was only reiterated when Kerry publicly worried Putin’s war in Ukraine was a distraction from climate change efforts. The misplaced priorities are astounding.

Let’s get serious about energy and environment policy. To lower global greenhouse gas emissions, we need to produce more domestic energy and export it to the world. Rather than stupidly shooting ourselves in the foot, this would meet the world’s energy demands while reducing the West’s reliance on dirtier fuels from adversaries, despots, and dictators. There’s an easy road map for energy, national, and economic security at our fingertips, but the administration must be a willing partner in this effort. It starts with undoing nearly everything it’s done since January 20, 2021.

• Senator Kevin Cramer, North Dakota Republican, is a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. He served on the North Dakota Public Service Commission as an energy regulator for a decade where he helped oversee the most dynamic economy in the nation. He worked to ensure North Dakotans enjoy some of the lowest utility rates in the United States, enhancing their competitive position in the global marketplace.


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