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The United States imports nearly 600,000 barrels of oil a day from Russia, a quantity that could be offset by more than 800,000 barrels of oil. Keystone XL pipeline able to deliver every day if the Biden administration did not interfere. While Vladimir Putin is carrying out his vicious and unprovoked attack on Ukraine, now, more than ever, we must reduce our energy dependence on Russia, while increasing energy production here at home.
Over the past decade and a half, hard work and strategic policies have steered the United States toward energy independence. The shale oil and gas revolution has created tens of thousands of high-paying jobs, reduced energy costs for Americans and eliminated a key lever previously held by hostile countries.
On his first day in office, President Joe Biden signed an order to block the Keystone XL pipeline. With the scope of his pen, he destroyed thousands of jobs and set the tone for how his administration would approach the U.S. energy industry. The president has even redoubled this strategy by banning new oil and gas developments on state lands.
And last May, despite his own administration’s report that the company behind Russia’s Nord Stream-2 pipeline was engaged in sanctions-worthy activities, Biden gave Putin even more leverage by abandoning sanctions. The simultaneous blocking of the American gas pipeline and the green light of the Russian oil pipeline send a message that American security will be sacrificed to reassure European leaders and extremists.
After a significant delay and after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Biden administration finally gave in and took steps in the right direction regarding financial sanctions. Now we must continue to put pressure on Putin, eliminating dependence on Russian energy.
Our current situation follows years of warnings from Republicans in Congress about the consequences of strengthening Russia’s position in the global energy market. Not only have some of our most powerful European allies become unbearably indebted to Russia for oil, but so has the United States.
One of the greatest tragedies is that this situation could have been avoided if we had just looked at the evidence before us. Two years of crisis in supply chains caused by the pandemic, chip shortages and inability to supply personal protective equipment to workers at the forefront have shown that relying on opponents for critical goods and infrastructure is a bad idea.
Dependence on China has squeezed Americans during the crisis, and now the West’s dependence on Russian energy will squeeze Americans in an inflationary crisis that is already setting new records. Last year, gas prices rose by almost 60 percent, the biggest increase in 40 years. Rising household heating bills have forced millions of Americans, more than 20 percent, to donate food or medicine last year to keep warm. These policy failures have real and immediate consequences for every American, but for single mothers or workers living from paycheck to paycheck, it can change lives.
For decades, Vladimir Putin and other strongmen have watched the Western world become more and more interested in climate change at the expense of virtually all other national interests. There is no doubt that the Earth is warming and we need to have a common sense plan to address this in proportion to our country’s emissions compared to the rest of the world. Or, to put it more simply, the U.S. doesn’t have to pay most of the bills for a tab held by such chronic major polluters as China.
The problem is that Democrats have abandoned common sense. We first experienced this administration’s radical environmental program when President Biden announced last summer that global warming is the greatest threat to our country’s national security. And on the day Russia launched the invasion of Ukraine, former Secretary of State and Tsar for Climate Biden John Kerry said the climate consequences of Putin’s invasion were as important as the deaths of Ukrainians in the struggle to defend their national sovereignty.
Shocking comments betrayed a new ideological radicalism that became mainstream left. It is a strategy that helps Putin and harms Americans. Instead of providing a layer of isolation from rising costs, anyone who fills their gas tank or pays their electricity bills will feel the pain of suppressing U.S. energy independence.
The crisis in Ukraine, but it is also here, at home, and growing. I urge President Biden to listen to common sense and get America back on the path to energy security.