This week, the Biden administration issued a long overdue approval of the Willow Project in Alaska’s North Slope, an oil production site within the National Petroleum Reserve. While the announcement signals the administration is waking up to the reality that fossil fuels are critical to our nation’s energy security, there is still more the administration must do – and quickly.
It has been more than two years since energy prices began skyrocketing and inflation crippled the economic outlook of millions of Americans. During this time, the Biden administration tried to downplay the importance of oil supplies in restoring economic stability. Instead, President Joe Biden preferred to fan the flames of insecurity, spending trillions of dollars on increasing America’s dependence on intermittent renewable energy sourced from China and draining the Strategic Petroleum Reserve for political price-fixing purposes.
All the while, the administration has been deaf to the efforts of a broad and bipartisan coalition of state and local officials, labor organizations like the AFL-CIO, industry and the American people. They all recognize that if America does not step up to fill the void left by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s belligerence in Ukraine, then Iran, Venezuela, OPEC, or any other nation will gladly take our place at the table of energy superpowers.
BIDEN ADMIN’S WAR ON HOUSEHOLD APPLIANCES WILL CAUSE HIGHER PRICES, DIRTIER CLOTHES AND DISHES, EXPERTS WARN
Alaska’s Willow Project has been years in the making, and it is representative of the hindered potential of the thousands of outstanding or rejected leases under an administration at war with fossil fuels. The project has the potential to produce 180,000 barrels of oil per day and generate between $8 billion and $17 billion in new tax revenue, much of which will dampen the blow of rampant federal spending, and create 2,800 jobs, 300 of which will be permanent.
The federal government created the National Petroleum Reserve for precisely this moment, and it’s high time the administration got on board. Sadly, Biden seems only to be doing the bare minimum. Biden’s approval of only three out of five leases in the North Slope demonstrates this, but that’s not all.
Just as soon as his administration reluctantly gave a partial green light to the Willow Project, Biden turned around and indefinitely removed 16 million acres of Alaskan territory from ever being developed in the future. For a state that relies on its energy resources, this places the economic future of Alaska and our nation at risk.
Alaska is not alone in being the victim of an administration so detached from the reality facing millions of Americans. In 2021, the Biden administration halted all onshore oil and gas leasing – a move that sent shockwaves through a vital industry already reeling from the impact of COVID-19.
The Biden administration is full of inconsistencies. First, the president canceled the Keystone XL pipeline on Day One, then boldly asserted at the State of the Union we will only need fossil fuels for “at least another 10 years,” and now his administration approves a project that will become fully operational at the twilight of Biden’s 10-year countdown for oil.
The project has the potential to produce 180,000 barrels of oil per day and generate between $8 billion and $17 billion in new tax revenue, much of which will dampen the blow of rampant federal spending, and create 2,800 jobs, 300 of which will be permanent.
Beyond the political roller coaster that is the Biden administration, the past two years have offered many harsh lessons, but few stand out more than the importance of abundant, affordable, and reliable energy for a growing world. When we ignore this lesson, Americans pay the price, our allies pay the price, and our adversaries reap the benefits.
If the Biden administration truly stands by the words “Made in America,” this must include American energy of all kinds. Most importantly, this must include long overdue permitting reform. This was a promise the Trump administration took to heart, and we made bold policy moves, including approving the Willow Project in 2020, to not only protect our national and economic security but extend that protection to the world by unleashing American energy abundance.
The United States can still be a global energy leader, we just need the federal government to grant Americans the freedom to realize our full potential and preempt the next global energy crisis. That can start by approving more oil and natural gas leases and approving new pipelines to feed an American and global economy in crisis.
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