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Oil and natural gas industry pins high energy costs on Biden policies
FILE - Smoke billows from the Conemaugh Generation Station in New Florence, Pa., Feb. 6, 2007. (Todd Berkey/The Tribune-Democrat via AP)

The president of the only national trade association representing all aspects of America's oil and natural gas industry blamed surging energy costs on “restricting” government policies, such as those put in place under the Biden administration.

American Petroleum Institute President Mike Sommers gave a speech Wednesday on the “state of American energy” in 2022.

“In so many ways, the state of American energy is strong,” Sommers remarked. “Even so, we begin 2022 with Americans viewing energy and its costs as major concerns. This is in part because lately we've seen policies aimed at restricting production and delivery of US natural gas and oil.”

Sommers then listed a number of Biden administration policy decisions, including the Keystone XL pipeline cancelation and tax increases on natural gas, that he says have been restricting America’s domestic energy development. He also pointed to Biden administration policies limiting the development of new infrastructure, which he said has caused problems in production as well. 

Shortly after taking office, President Joe Biden issued an executive order placing a moratorium on oil and gas leasing on public lands. The move was later overturned by a federal judge, according to Reuters. The Biden administration then appealed but has since resumed leasing while the process plays out.

“New leasing for energy development on federal acreage was stopped for many months,” Sommers noted. “Meanwhile, with inflation soaring to historic levels, we've seen proposals in Congress for a targeted tax increase on natural gas and even further restrictions on American energy development. These decisions exacerbate Americans' concerns and put upward pressure on their energy prices.”

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The president of the only national trade association representing all aspects of America's oil and natural gas industry blamed surging energy costs on “restricting” government policies, including several put in place under the Biden administration. (TND){p}{/p}

Sommers urged lawmakers to avoid these policies, which he said, “don't put America on a path to progress nor help us meet basic energy needs.”

Sommers added U.S. policies that restrict domestic production “force our country to seek relief from OPEC,” which undermines America’s energy independence.

“It's when things get rough in energy markets when Americans have felt the turbulence of instability in places like California, Texas, or New England, that we can see energy as the bipartisan priority it should be,” Sommers said. He pointed to the failures of being dependent on foreign energy production, such as potential disruptions in the Nord Stream 2 pipeline in Europe, which could result from Russia’s ongoing conflict with Ukraine.

It sounds like a good idea for European economies to depend on regional energy suppliers,” said Sommers. “That is so long as you forget, who's on the other end of that pipeline.

Sommers said restricting domestic energy production and returning to energy dependence on foreign nations is a “short-sighted energy policy.” He also noted that as new energy sources come to fruition, alternative sources like solar and wind need natural gas as a backup because they are only intermittent forms of energy. “Natural gas will be critical to a reliable energy grid,” he said.

Sommers remarked that the oil and natural gas industry shares with global leaders the desire to urgently reduce emissions generated from energy production, transportation and use by society.

“Our industry brings the scale and expertise to make lower-carbon future a reality,” Sommers concluded. “This is about addition, not subtraction.”

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