March 8, 2022

Energy Policy

“The United States is willing to move ahead with a ban on Russian oil imports without the participation of allies in Europe… President Joe Biden held a video conference call with the leaders of France, Germany and the United Kingdom on Monday as his administration continues to seek their support for a ban on Russian oil imports.” Reuters

Gasoline prices are pushing even farther above $4 a gallon, the highest price that American motorists have faced since July 2008, as calls grow to ban imports of Russian oil. Prices at the pump were rising long before Russia invaded Ukraine and have spiraled faster since the start of the war. The U.S. national average for a gallon of gasoline has soared 45 cents a gallon in the past week and topped $4.06 on Monday.” AP News

See past issues

From the Left

The left calls for a faster shift to renewables in order to reduce reliance on foreign fuels.

Axios reports U.S. officials are considering a trip to Saudi Arabia to persuade that kingdom's rulers to start pumping more oil to replace the lost Russian production. Those are the same rulers who ordered the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018, and whom President Biden once promised to make a ‘pariah.’ Similarly, the Biden Administration is looking to start the oil flowing from Venezuela, a country under sanction since 2017…

“This is what happens in wartime: You make a deal with the devil in order to avert some greater evil. The United States allied with the Soviet Union to defeat Nazi Germany, then opened the doors to China — on the cusp of its most violently repressive era — to contain the Soviets. Conflict always means such brutal choices. There's no way to do this cleanly. ‘Let me put it this way,’ Emma Ashford, a senior fellow with the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security, wrote Monday on Twitter. ‘You can either have your democracy vs. autocracy frame, or you can have oil sanctions on Russia. Impossible without working with some authoritarian states, just as we did in the Cold War.’”
Joel Mathis, The Week

“The Biden administration has outpaced Trump in issuing drilling permits on public lands and water in its first year, according to federal data analyzed by the Center for Biological Diversity. His administration set a record for the largest offshore lease sale ever in the Gulf of Mexico last year, before a federal court blocked the lease sale for not considering climate impacts… [The US] became the world’s largest exporter of liquified natural gas (LNG) for the first time in 2021

“Oil companies have made it clear in earnings calls with shareholders that they don’t plan to produce much more, anyway. Remember that just two years ago the industry was in a complete free fall when demand crashed because of the pandemic. Banks sought government bailouts for oil investments that went under, and oil prices actually hit negative levels as producers grew desperate for oil to be taken off their hands… Now that companies are making handsome profits, they’re using that extra cash to reward investors and pay down debts, not invest in new production…

“[Finally] Actions like building LNG terminals and approving new leasing don’t help in the short term when people are struggling to pay high bills. It doesn’t achieve energy independence. But it would lock the world onto a dangerous path for climate change.”
Rebecca Leber, Vox

“The oil industry already controls at least 26m acres of public land and is sitting on more than 9,000 approved drilling permits they’re not using. They have a similarly gratuitous surplus offshore, where nearly 75% of their active federal oil and gas leases, covering over 8m acres, have yet to produce a single drop. If industry did start to ramp up production from federal leases, the overall increase to the total US supply would likely be marginal… The vast majority of oil and gas resources are beneath state and private lands – not public lands or federal waters…

“The fact is that crude oil is a volatile global commodity. Worldwide supply, demand, and unpredictable events – like wars – influence the price of gas, not the current administration’s decision to approve a few new leases or permits… we can’t afford to maintain the status quo… We must wean ourselves off our oil and gas dependence and make transformational investments in cleaner renewable energy technologies.”
Raúl M Grijalva, The Guardian

From the Right

The right calls for an increase in US energy production in order to reduce reliance on foreign fuels.

The right calls for an increase in US energy production in order to reduce reliance on foreign fuels.

“Fossil fuels are still the leading source of global electricity, with coal accounting for 36.7% and gas 23.5%. The total fossil-fuel contribution, at 63.3%, is down only slightly from two decades ago. In terms of overall energy, fossil fuels are an even larger proportion, 84.3%… Vladimir Putin knew this and understood the power it gave him, even if European policymakers wanted to evade the matter…

“The phrase ‘War for oil’ is a cliché and usually a smear, but it is certainly true that no one has ever fought a war for wind. In light of all this, Europe still [chose] to subjugate itself to an anti-Western authoritarian, and even as Russian opera stars are getting canceled, it is hesitant to stop purchases of Russian oil and gas. Some perspective is called for. While climate change may indeed prove a serious long-term challenge, it is not reducing parts of European cities to rubble or a threat to use as a tactical weapon. If this horrifying episode hasn’t scared the West straight on energy, nothing will.”
Rich Lowry, New York Post

“[The Department of the] Interior has been slow-rolling oil and gas permits since Mr. Biden took office. A judge last June struck down the President’s leasing ban on federal land and ordered Interior to hold quarterly leases as required by law. Only in November did Interior finally hold an offshore sale. Then green groups sued, and a liberal judge blocked the sales. The Administration hasn’t appealed…

“Still, Mr. Biden hasn’t held an onshore lease sale and is the only President in at least two decades not to have done so in a given year. Approvals for new liquefied natural gas terminals and expansions are also sitting at the Department of Energy and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, according to the American Petroleum Institute…

“We take the point that reducing regulatory barriers to development won’t increase production or reduce energy prices overnight… [But] Regulatory uncertainty and political hostility to fossil fuels discourage long-term investments, which are needed to increase supply and keep energy prices in check.”
Editorial Board, Wall Street Journal

“The White House’s actions betray the extent to which the American energy market has been artificially constrained… Ahead of a new agreement with Tehran, the Biden administration shied away from enforcing secondary sanctions against Iranian oil importers… [The] administration is also reportedly preparing for a potential presidential visit to Saudi Arabia…

“Repealing executive orders prohibiting oil and gas leasing on federal land, directing executive agencies to restore spending that could subsidize fossil-fuel producers, and approving stalled but critical transit networks in the U.S. would not have an immediate effect on the price of energy. But they would have a long-term effect by helping restore long-term investment in the development of new wells, and it would create financial incentives to augment U.S. export capacity…

“If our conflict with the Russian regime will be a long one, we should have an energy policy that is equally far-sighted. That would be a serious approach to confronting the geopolitical threat represented by America’s near-peer competitors. And it would be an approach that preserves as much as possible the West’s claim to support the aspirations of oppressed peoples everywhere.”
Noah Rothman, Commentary Magazine

Get troll-free political news.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.