The United States enjoyed a period of energy dominance in recent years. Responsible development of our natural resources provided Americans with more affordable energy produced domestically. In September 2019, the United States became a net petroleum exporter for the first time since the keeping of monthly records began in 1973.
Americans have paid less to heat their homes and fuel their cars and benefited from job growth tied to the energy industry as a result of energy dominance. Unfortunately, President Biden seems to have prioritized reversing these gains since taking office.
He set the tone on day one of his Administration by revoking permits for the Keystone XL pipeline. If this pipeline proceeded, it would ship oil from our neighbor and ally Canada across the United States and create thousands of construction jobs. But Joe Biden said no.
One pipeline Joe Biden won’t say no to is Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline carrying natural gas to Germany. His Administration has waived sanctions imposed by Congress on the company constructing the pipeline. While taking steps to curb natural gas production in the United States, President Biden is removing hurdles for Russia’s natural gas industry, which has an emissions profile 42 percent higher than American natural gas.
Waiving these sanctions enables the completion of the pipeline, a project which will give Vladimir Putin significant leverage over Europe. President Biden likes to talk tough about Putin, but he is casting aside one of the most important tools he has to actually counter Russia.
This decision comes on the heels of the hacking of Colonial Pipeline by a group of cybercriminals based in Eastern Europe with possible ties to Russia. The hack disrupted gasoline supplies, triggering a run on gas stations and a spike in prices. So far, justice has not been delivered to the hackers, only a $4.4 million ransom. While the Biden Administration dreams of windmills and solar panels to be strewn across the country in the coming decades, work must be done now on securing the infrastructure upon which our society survives and prospers.
Against the backdrop of these stories in the news emphasizing the importance of getting energy policy right, U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm appeared before the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy, of which I am a member.
The purpose of the hearing was ostensibly to discuss the Biden Administration’s proposed budget as it relates to the Department of Energy. President Biden has not yet released a detailed budget, but if budgeting reflects priorities, it is clear that his budget will prioritize ideological commitments over reliable and affordable American-produced energy. I used my time during the hearing to advocate for a realistic energy budget.
I first brought up the need for parity in research dollars spent on fossil and renewable fuels. Even if the Biden Administration achieves some of its more far-fetched goals for reliance upon renewable energy, fossil fuels such as coal, natural gas, and oil will continue to be burned around the world. Finding ways to burn them in a cleaner and more efficient way will reduce global carbon emissions and open up export markets for American technology.
Inventing and manufacturing those technologies can create jobs, which is why I am excited about work being done close to home. Innovators such as the Center for Advanced Separation Technologies, which includes Virginia Tech as a partner, and MOVA Technologies of Pulaski have taken meaningful steps toward finding new uses for fossil fuels or reducing their impact on the environment. These endeavors deserve our support.
I further noted to Secretary Granholm that a power grid dependent upon renewable energy would need an enormous buildout of high-voltage power lines, burdening landowners by taking their land through eminent domain. Secretary Granholm’s answer, colocating power lines on federal land, may work in limited circumstances but will not be sufficient.
Just think of the high-voltage power lines currently in our area. Some cross through federal land, but they also cross over private land.
When advocates talk up a carbon-free economy, they often omit these less exciting but vital details.
American energy independence was an incredible achievement. The Biden Administration seems intent on squandering it with real costs to follow for American families, workers, and businesses. I urge President Biden to change course before further damage is done.
If you have questions, concerns, or comments, call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405, my Christiansburg office, at 540-381-5671, or via email at www.morgangriffith.house.gov.