With a fast-developing energy crisis on their hands, President Joe Biden and his team seem to think there is nothing they can do.
They blame OPEC, but the fact is the administration has worked to reduce domestic oil production in the name of combating climate change. As if canceling the “net-zero” Keystone XL pipeline wasn’t damaging enough, the Biden administration is now reportedly considering closing the Line 5 oil pipeline in Michigan.
The Line 5 pipeline has been the subject of a conflict between Canada and Michigan as the Canadian government tries to prevent the state, under Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, from shutting down the pipeline, which has been operating since the 1950s. In October, Canada invoked a 1977 treaty, escalating the conflict and forcing the Biden administration to weigh in.
Line 5 delivers 65% of propane to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and 55% of the rest of the state’s supply. It transports up to 22.68 million gallons per day of light crude oil and natural gas liquids. According to the pipeline’s operator, Enbridge, a shutdown of the pipeline would create a shortage of 14.7 million U.S. gallons per day for gas, diesel, and jet fuel in the Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Ontario, and Quebec regions.
Shutting down a pipeline that has served the United States for more than six decades would further drive up costs and damage our relationship with our ally Canada. The Biden administration shouldn’t even be considering such a step.
Everyone is suffering from rising energy prices at the pump and at home, but the Biden administration seems intent on making the problem worse by blindly following the outdated notion that the U.S. must destroy reliable energy sources to combat climate change. And it also forgets that much of the recent emissions reduction in the U.S. is due to the increased use of natural gas.
During a CNN Town Hall in October, Biden falsely claimed that there’s nothing he can do to reduce gas prices, saying “I don’t see anything that’s going to happen in the meantime that’s going to significantly reduce gas prices.”
Clearly, there is one thing Biden can do: not pursue policies that would make the problem worse.
Coming off the heels of the Trump administration, under which the U.S. became the No. 1 producer of oil and natural gas in the world, it’s pathetic to have our president now begging OPEC to release more oil — and even more embarrassing to have his requests denied. From the president to the energy secretary, no one will take responsibility for solving this crisis, and according to polls, people are noticing.
Instead, U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm has laughed at the idea of increasing domestic oil production and instead blamed foreign nations such as those in OPEC for the rising prices. This is not leadership.
There are solutions to this problem: Support domestic oil producers and help make U.S. energy independent once again.
In 2019, the U.S. celebrated becoming a net exporter of oil for the first time since 1952. Two years later, domestic oil producers are hesitant to ramp up production after suffering huge losses during the pandemic and facing pressure from climate activists and investors to switch to renewable energy.
The Biden administration has further damped domestic production by placing a moratorium on new oil and gas leases on federal lands, only reluctantly lifting it (while promising to fight to reinstate it) following a judge’s order.
People are hurting because of the high oil and gas prices. And it’s only going to get worse as temperatures drop and folks are forced to spend more to keep their homes heated this winter. Biden and his team need to take this crisis seriously and use all possible means to stop the skyrocketing costs.
A good place to start is by stopping the pursuit of bad energy policies, such as the shutdown of Line 5, and antagonism toward natural gas and oil more broadly.