As Americans face seven-year high gas prices and an imminent surge in power bills this winter, President Joe Biden is begging for help from the very industry he’s pledged to destroy.
On Wednesday, Reuters reported, “The White House has been speaking with U.S. oil and gas producers in recent days about helping to bring down rising fuel costs,” citing “two sources familiar with the matter.”
The plea for help follows nine months of the president following through on his campaign promises to phase out fossil fuels.
“The oil industry pollutes, significantly,” Biden said at the third presidential debate. “It has to be replaced by renewable energy over time.”
Then-Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler warned at the time that even in the absence of an outright ban, a new administration could regulate the industry out of business. As Biden nears the completion of his first year in office, that’s exactly what’s happening.
After a temporary suspension on new oil and gas leases on federal land, which was only overturned on the order of the courts, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland has floated the possibility of placing outright limits on oil and gas extraction. Such a decision would only restrict supply and raise power prices even further as the average gallon of gas has reached $3.30 across the country, according to AAA.
The administration’s animosity toward fossil fuels has led prices for crude oil to double since November, now at $83 per barrel. Higher energy prices present ripple-effects on the entire economy as more expensive transportation leads to more expensive goods, compounded by what’s becoming permanent inflation.
As demand returns to pre-pandemic levels, free-market supply remains suppressed by the White House, which is considering a release from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve maintained for emergencies. This is supposed to be for real emergencies, however, such as hurricanes that severely hamper Gulf Coast refineries and cause a sudden disruption in supply, not when prices exceed $80 a barrel, which they often have over the prior decade.
Now looking to the oil industry for rescue, the administration has raised costs of production when not outright prohibiting it, as is the case in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge with equipment ready to be put to use in nearby Prudhoe Bay. Constant threats of cascading taxes and regulation, the postponement of new leases until spring, and pressure on Wall Street to rethink investment has crippled opportunities for expanded domestic production.
“We would be happy to increase our production, but this administration is doing everything in its power to run us out of business,” Kathleen Sgamma, president of the Denver-based industry trade group Western Energy Alliance, told The Federalist. “I think if they stop manipulation markets the problem would be solved.”
Sgamma emphasized that the restriction of capital has become one of the greatest obstacles to ramping up operations.
“We can’t get capital because they’re putting so much pressure on banks not to lend to us in the name of climate change,” Sgamma said.
Even if the U.S. were to reach net-zero emissions, a primary target of Biden’s by 2050, it would post a minimal effect on global temperatures.
“If the whole country went carbon-neutral tomorrow, the standards United Nations climate model shows the difference by the end of the century would be a barely noticeable reduction in temperature of 0.3 degree Fahrenheit,” reported Copenhagen Consensus President Bjorn Lomborg in The Wall Street Journal. Lomborg citied high-emissions from India, Africa, and China, the last of which is the largest contributor of greenhouse gases on the planet.
Instead, the White House has shopped overseas, begging foreign adversaries to raise oil output to solve an energy crisis on the horizon as Biden actively suppresses production at home.
“Higher gasoline costs, if left unchecked, risk harming the ongoing global recovery. The price of crude oil has been higher than it was at the end of 2019, before the onset of the pandemic,” Biden National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan wrote to OPEC+ in August. “While OPEC+ recently agreed to production increases, these increases will not fully offset previous production cuts that OPEC+ imposed during the pandemic until well into 2022. At a critical moment in the global recovery, this is simply not enough.”‘
Middle East nations are not particularly known for high environmental standards.
OPEC+ denied Biden’s plea to increase supply and last week announced they would maintain the schedule of gradual increases that member nations agreed to in July.