The most meaningful contribution the United States could make to Ukraine’s war effort is to restore American energy independence and increase our exports to countries currently dependent on adversaries for oil and gas. And yet, President Joe Biden is doing the opposite, undermining U.S. energy independence and giving Russian President Vladimir Putin a crucial assist.
Last month, Russia announced it was drilling in the Chukchi Sea, just kilometers from the maritime border between Russia and Alaska. Despite this knowledge, the Biden administration just prohibited drilling on more than 10 million acres in Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve, a special area created by Congress to ensure access to energy supplies vital to national security.
Under President Biden, more than 40 percent of the reserve is off-limits for U.S. energy production.
The administration also canceled all remaining leases in the “1002 area” of Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, a small portion of the refuge which Congress set aside in 2017 for similar energy security purposes.
According to the administration, canceling all remaining leases in Alaska’s arctic refuge serves to “meet the urgency of the climate crisis.” “From day one, I have delivered on the most ambitious climate and conservation agenda in our country’s history,” the White House bragged in a statement on canceling all remaining oil and gas leases from the Trump administration.
Canceling the leases joins other major interventions the President has made in the name of this climate agenda. The Inflation Reduction Act was at the end of the day a Green New Deal, promising $350 billion in corporate give-aways for carbon reduction efforts.
The President should be less proud of such dubious accomplishments. During a time of global unrest, the United States should be far more concerned with maintaining global stability than entertaining climate hysteria. These lawless actions, which directly contradict laws governing management of these lands, achieve the exact opposite.
In July, Russia earned $15.3 billion from crude exports according to the International Energy Agency (IEA)—more than almost 20 percent from the previous month. We’ve already seen the oil market rise with Russia, along with Saudi Arabia’s initial announcement this past June to cut production by 1.3 million barrels per day. We saw prices rise again when Russia and Saudi Arabia reported these cuts would remain through the end of the year. It sent Brent crude above $90 a barrel, blowing straight past the Biden administration’s $60 sanction’s cap.
Energy policies that harm U.S. production only make us more vulnerable to hostile aggressors who seek to benefit from an American rush to green. And these policies undercut the U.S. support for Ukraine’s fight against Russia’s unjust war.
The need for fossil fuels is not going anywhere. OPEC+ predicts that world oil consumption will increase by 2.2 million barrels a day by 2024. Let’s not forget – a barrel of oil produced in the U.S. has a carbon intensity that is 23 percent lower than the average international barrel. If Joe Biden wants clean energy, he should start by investing at home as U.S. oil lowers the carbon footprint on a global scale.
Biden’s emotional tugs of climate hysteria have emboldened our enemies and blinded Americans from seeing the mixed signals from this administration. While Biden asks Congress for an additional $24 billion in aid to Ukraine, his energy policy is funding the Russian war machine.
Even the administration’s recent exchange brokered over American detainees for energy revenues shows how prominent energy is on the global stage. If energy is present, there is leverage to exercise.
Joe Biden has allowed Russia to get away with much more than the American people know or should be okay with themselves. He has lost his grip on a reliable security source and leverage over Russia, and the Biden administration must get it back before it is too late.
This opinion piece first appeared in Newsweek HERE.