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Wednesday, April 27, 2022

OPINION:

In Utah, gas prices are currently $4.48 per gallon, and nationally, they are up $1.23 from a year ago. For weeks, the average Utahn has been spending over $100 each time they fill up their gas tanks.

This is unacceptable and unsustainable.


Vladimir Putin’s egregious war on Ukraine is wreaking havoc on global stability and contributing to these skyrocketing energy prices. Despite Biden’s insistence otherwise, rising gas prices predate Putin’s current war on Ukraine and are the product of a flawed approach to energy policy and federal spending.

To ease the pain at the pump, we must bolster American energy production as we counteract Russian supply. For years, Russia has positioned itself as a global energy superpower and exporter. Around 40% of the European Union’s natural gas and 25% of Europe’s oil comes from Russia. And in 2021, American imports of Russian oil hit an all-time high. Then in late March, Putin’s army invaded Ukraine and put our global reliance on Russian energy into clear view as gas prices soared to over $4 per gallon.

I was proud to vote to limit dependence on Russian energy, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. Since joining Congress, I have seized every opportunity to focus on American energy independence. and at every step, this effort has been met with opposition from the Biden administration.

Instead of shackling American energy production, we must take every action possible to unleash our energy producing capabilities. This will help us meet our own needs and provide energy to our allies while reducing global reliance on dangerous foreign actors. As consumer inflation levels continue to skyrocket to the highest levels since 1981, Americans need real action.

The United States has vast untapped energy production potential and shoring up our energy production would be broadly beneficial. For starters, American energy provides American jobs. As we work diligently to remove barriers to economic growth, we owe it to our nation to build an economy that allows our workers to work. We must also remove artificial barriers to economic expansion, such as President Biden’s policies that have hamstrung American workers, companies, and communities.

On day one, President Biden suppressed domestic energy production through executive orders and then a week after taking office announced a pause on new oil and gas leasing on public lands. When we needed to cut off our supply of Russian energy, the Biden administration turned to adversarial actors like Venezuela and Iran to replace these lost resources. As we seek to support allies and partners, we should not be looking to bad actors to replace our own energy supply. After over a year of pressure, the administration finally announced late last week that it would proceed with extremely limited lease sales on federal lands, but this is insufficient to address our current energy crises.

Using American energy is also cleaner for the environment. The International Energy Agency said that per unit, Russian energy produced 30% more methane emissions than U.S. energy. According to reports, Russian gas exported to Europe has a 41% higher lifecycle GHG emissions profile than LNG exported to Europe from the United States. Because these demands must be met today, efforts to stifle the American energy industry do little more than outsource pollution to Russia and drive-up global pollution. While efforts to diversify our energy production portfolio will continue and are crucial for reasons related to efficiency, emissions, and economics, we must not lose sight of the bigger picture.

In Congress, I am helping lead the charge to promote energy independence and exports. As Ranking Member of the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, I introduced the Protecting Energy Independence and Transparency Act to require the Department of the Interior to issue Applications for the Permit to Drill that have successfully undergone review and reverse the logjam the Biden Administration needlessly created. I have also cosponsored and voted for legislation that will streamline energy approval processes and approve the Keystone XL pipeline.

Because efforts to rein in skyrocketing prices of energy will take time, it is paramount that not a minute more be lost. I call upon Speaker Pelosi and the Biden administration to address our immediate energy needs so we can build American energy independence, relieve the financial burden on Americans at the gas pump, and assist our allies in time of war for the sake of our own security.

• Blake Moore, Utah Republican, represents the state’s 1st District. He serves on the House Natural Resources Committee as Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, as well as on the House Armed Services Committee. Moore is a native of Ogden, Utah, and has four sons with his wife, Jane.


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