The Biden administration has ruled out ramping up domestic oil and gas production ahead of a global energy crisis while still welcoming imports of Russian crude.
Speaking to reporters Thursday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki reiterated White House talking points that the solution to decade-high power prices is more investment in “clean energy” while the administration dodges sanctions on high-emitting Russian producers.
“If we do more to invest in clean energy, more to invest in other sources of energy, that’s exactly what we can do to prevent this from happening in the future,” Psaki said of the vulnerabilities presented by western reliance on Russian fuel. Such vulnerabilities are a direct consequence of the administration’s promotion of Moscow’s oil and gas producers while decapitating domestic production.
On Friday, Psaki doubled down on the White House’s refusal to reverse course on an energy strategy that’s hindered the nation’s economic comeback and limited President Joe Biden’s diplomatic options to counter Russian aggression. Lifting sanctions on Iranian oil, Psaki admitted, is now on the table, which was made clear Wednesday by Transporation Secretary Pete Buttigieg as the Middle East adversary brokers a new agreement with the U.S. and Russia.
While the administration touts “clean” alternatives, enhanced reliance on Russian and Iranian oil imports will only serve to raise global methane emissions, the most potent greenhouse gas.
According to the International Energy Agency’s global methane tracker, Russia was the world’s leading producer of methane emissions last year with its oil and gas operations producing 30 percent more per unit of production than the United States. Iranian producers emitted 85 percent more methane per unit of production when compared to U.S. operators.
Such differences are likely higher given the limited reliability in the data collected under authoritarian regimes.
The White House however, has made it a point to carve out exemptions to sanctions for the Russian energy sector over fears of disrupting supply from the world’s third-largest oil producer.
“We don’t have a strategic interest in reducing the global supply of energy,” said Biden’s Principal Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Air Force One Wednesday. Sanctioning Russian oil she added, “would raise prices at the gas pump for Americans.”
Such price shocks, which could have been avoided had the administration not eagerly forfeited the nation’s energy independence, are already materializing as private firms steer clear of Russian products anyway. Gas prices are now rising at a pace not seen for more than 15 years with the national average at 3.84 per gallon Friday, according to AAA’s gas tracker.
As President Biden axed energy projects at home, the U.S. doubled its imports of Russian oil and related petroleum products with an average of more than 600,000 barrels a day, according to data from the Energy Information Administration. As its primary export, Russian oil and gas generated $119 billion for the Kremlin’s war machine now dropping bombs on Ukrainian civilians.
“It is amazing that the Biden administration refuses to ban Russian oil and now is even looking at Iranian oil, when both countries’ methane emissions are exceptionally more dirty than U.S. outputs,” Rick Whitbeck, the Alaska state director of the energy non-profit Power the Future told The Federalist.
In Alaska, decades of reserves remain to be tapped with costly critical infrastructure ready for deployment near the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Oil and gas operations in America’s most northern state in particular, Whitbeck added, are far cleaner than what’s produced even in the lower 48 since “we don’t flare our gas.”
Instead of flaring, where excess gas is burned off into the atmosphere, Alaskan oil rig operators reinject the fuel into the ground.
Alaskan oil leases however have become a political football with Democrats seeking to make environmental protections of empty wilderness permanent.