EDITOR'S NOTE: Up until President Biden took office, America was energy-independent. The country had the luxury not only to export energy to its allies but to consider, in a prudent fashion, the transition from “legacy” to “clean” energy sources. But perhaps the nature of that transition wouldn’t have been possible without some disruption and certain vulnerabilities that have now rendered our economy more fragile. In the Op-Ed piece below, U.S. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy harshly criticizes the Biden administration for taking us down this path. He calls for an immediate increase to increase American energy production. Whether you believe in climate change or think it's a hoax, or whether you believe the future of this country rests on legacy or clean energy, we might have reached a juncture at which a “smooth transition,” though a great idea, simply may not be possible.
Kevin McCarthy is a Republican from California and minority leader of the U.S. House of Representatives.
The United States produces more oil and natural gas than any other country in the world. We are the top exporter of LNG and among the top five oil exporters in the world. As a global energy power, we can provide low energy prices, the creation of steady jobs, dependability, and security for America and our allies.
Republicans understand we are standing on top of the richest resources and have the technology to safely and cleanly harness them. But why stop there? We fundamentally believe in the power of this country, and fear what the world would look like today if American innovators, workers, and leaders before us simply settled.
We should never stop finding ways to make this country better, stronger and more resilient. An empowered Russia invading Ukraine and destabilizing our energy prices is one giant reason why.
Unfortunately, the Democrats’ wayward leadership for the past year has undermined America’s energy potential with senseless policies that seem designed to reverse decades of success and wreak havoc on our gas prices.
Under President Biden’s leadership, energy imports from Russia increased by 34%. This administration has not only stalled oil and natural gas exports to our allies, but has blocked further energy transportation infrastructure in the U.S., like the Keystone XL Pipeline, while supporting projects abroad, like Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline. With investments in our own pipeline infrastructure, American refineries could have easy access to Canadian crude oil instead of Russian oil.
Only after Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine did President Biden admit this vulnerability.
The only “plan” President Biden has for the current energy crisis is to release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and ask other countries to produce more oil.
These shortsighted ideas put America last, and the solution is obvious: rapidly increase American energy production, thus replacing Russian oil and gas with energy made in the U.S.A.
Republicans welcome the increase in calls from leaders around the country to do the same, because banning Russian energy is only half the equation. Unfortunately, the Biden Administration has said it does not “have anything in detail” about expanding production on our own soil.
For years, Republicans have championed policies to use and export American resources. The following proposals would do that while serving as immediate solutions to the effects of the current energy crisis – partly stemming from Russia’s war on Ukraine – and most importantly, help lower prices for the American people.
Republicans propose removing all restrictions, disguised as permitting delays, on LNG exports and increasing the supply of American energy by fully restarting the federal onshore and offshore leasing program and immediately approving projects such as the Keystone XL pipeline. These are common sense solutions that would supply us with more energy and more jobs.
After ensuring we can meet our own needs, we should fast-track LNG exports to North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) countries, much like exports to countries where we have an existing Free Trade Agreement (FTA). For example, Germany – Europe’s largest economy – depends on Russia for about 55% of its natural gas supply. The world would be safer and cleaner if Germany used more American gas, given Russia’s is 41% dirtier than America’s.
Next, export licenses pending at the Department of Energy (DOE) for over three months should be automatically approved. This action would authorize six major LNG export terminals, including Cheniere’s Sabine Pass, Cheniere’s Corpus Christi, Golden Pass, Sempra’s Energia Costa Azul, and Sempra’s Vista Pacifico LNG. Together, these projects would increase natural gas capacity by about 25%, or four billion cubic feet per day.
The U.S. should also maximize our existing capacity to get natural gas to Europe by giving our current LNG export terminals the flexibility to grow their exports to critical areas wherever possible.
Finally, Republicans call for reinforcing existing law and requiring the Bureau of Land Management to approve pending applications for permits to drill on existing leases within 30 days. This would release permits to drill that are being delayed by litigation or policy on already existing leases, increasing production in the short term.
By leaving our resources in the ground and turning to others like Russia, Iran, and Venezuela for help, Democrats are choosing to increase energy costs for and risk the security of American families – either to appease far-left activists or because they lack the moral clarity to do what is right for our citizens.
Our source of strength is not far. It is right beneath our feet.
Originally published on CNBC.