The Biden administration moved Monday to indefinitely block 16 million acres of future oil and gas leases in federal lands and waters in the Alaskan Arctic. Its decision reflects the aggressive climate agenda that seeks to forcefully supplant traditional energy industries with less efficient green energy alternatives through his inflationary spending policies.
At the same time, the Biden administration has approved ConocoPhillips’s $8 billion Willow project, a project that will deliver a mere 180,000 barrels of oil per day, generating roughly $17 billion in total tax revenue for the federal government over 30 years. Even though adding more oil production in a vacuum a good thing, the Willow project still produces far less than what America should be producing if fossil fuels were truly a priority.
By contrast, the Keystone XL pipeline that President Joe Biden canceled on his first day in office would have carried 830,000 barrels of oil per day at a benefit of $50 billion per year for the U.S. economy.
Additionally, after the administration canceled the Keystone XL pipeline, it declined to sanction and thereby tacitly approved the Russian Nord Stream 2 pipeline, funneling billions of dollars into Russia’s coffers and funding the war in Ukraine. The decision of the Biden administration to restrict American energy production, while supporting foreign adversaries that threaten America’s energy and national security, has become the Biden administration’s all too familiar approach.
While the Biden administration has moved to block federal leasing and permitting in the Arctic, Vladimir Putin has committed massive funding for Arctic icebreakers — armed with missiles and exploitative drilling projects along Russia’s Arctic coast. Instead of making the Alaskan Arctic and the entire United States more prosperous and energy independent, the Biden administration is deliberately forcing reliance on malign governments such as Russia, OPEC and Venezuela.
Furthermore, it is economically impossible to argue that the Willow project will serve as a strategic tradeoff to the wholesale locking up of the Alaskan Arctic. The Willow project is expected to generate 600 million barrels of oil at the end of its 30-year tenure, an amount that would not fully refill the depleted Strategic Petroleum Reserve a single time. Comparatively, the Alaskan Arctic holds an estimated 70 billion barrels of the world’s undiscovered oil — that’s enough to refill the SPR 100 times or to independently meet our domestic consumption of oil for the next 10 years.
The Biden administration’s choice to throttle American energy production is further action in the administration’s movement of de-industrializing the West, throwing caution to the wind in favor of a radical climate agenda. Instead of prioritizing clean, cheap and abundant energy that safeguards our national security and provides a decisive advantage over our adversaries, the Biden administration is doubling down on the Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) scam while our rivals accelerate their harvesting and use of fossil fuels.
While Russia extracts oil and natural gas in the Arctic, China also is seizing rare minerals, coal, and natural gas in Africa.
As the Biden administration continues to pursue its misguided approach, now is the time to pivot to a sound energy policy so that we have affordable energy for the American people, our economy, and our national defense.
The United States is the only nation capable of producing the cleanest and most reliable energy on earth. The energy revolution of the Trump administration catapulted the U.S. from being a net importer to being a net exporter of oil and natural gas.
The United States officially became energy independent in 2019, something that had not been achieved since 1957. Now is the time to return to energy dominance. The American people are waiting.
Carla Sands is the former U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Denmark. She currently serves as the Vice-Chair of the Center for Energy & Environment at the America First Policy Institute.
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