Working like the devil to lower energy prices
Kathleen Sgamma and Dan Naatz, opinion contributors
Last week, President Biden said he would “work like the devil” to bring down gasoline prices. Somehow, after more than half a year of watching him beg Russia and OPEC to increase their oil production while making it more difficult for American oil and natural gas producers, we’re skeptical. But here are a few simple ideas to help the president channel his inner Lucifer and reduce energy prices.
- Move forward with leasing on federal public lands. The government is required to conduct quarterly lease sales, but since President Biden banned leasing during his first week in office, later overturned by a federal judge, there has not been one lease sale on federal lands. The Interior Department just missed the deadline for holding a lease sale this quarter. He could instruct the department to move forward with leasing now.
- Stop the Biden administration’s regulatory overreach agenda. The Interior Department, Environmental Protection Agency, Securities and Exchange Commission, and other agencies are moving forward aggressively with regulations meant to make American oil and natural gas production more expensive. When you make something more expensive, you get less of it and higher prices for consumers. Simply halt the deluge of new regulation meant to slow American production.
- Immediately appeal a federal judge’s decision overturning the recent offshore lease sale 257. Rather than dithering on whether to take action to appeal this ruling, the Biden administration should immediately join with the attorneys general of Louisiana and other Gulf states in appealing that ruling.
- Rescind the nomination of Sarah Bloom Raskin to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. She has written extensively about debanking the oil and natural gas industry. Rescinding her nomination would send a strong signal to the market that the Biden administration will not use the Fed and other government agencies to block lending to energy companies, thereby giving the green light to banks and other lenders to invest in American production.
- Approve the Keystone XL pipeline. Doing so would create jobs and a conduit for oil to flow from Canada, thereby reducing dependence on Russia and OPEC. Keystone XL also has capacity for American production from Montana and North Dakota. The approval of the permit would send a strong signal to other pipeline projects that have been held up by anti-oil-and-gas groups. More pipelines mean more low-cost American energy would reach consumers and decrease imports from unfriendly nations.
- Instruct the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to move forward with approvals of pipelines all across the country that are held up in red tape. Oil and natural gas pipelines enable quicker, safer, and more efficient transportation of energy all across the country, which helps relieve energy inflation.
- Support the modernization of National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) rules that sensibly reduced the time for conducting environmental analysis on federal infrastructure projects. NEPA analysis takes years and dramatically increase the costs of building or reconstructing roads, bridges, and energy infrastructure.
- Follow the judge’s ruling last week and stop efforts to impose a Social Cost of Carbon (SCC) on every federal energy project. The SCC is specifically meant to increase the cost of energy consumption. Recognize that the law does not support imposing a SCC on energy production and use, and simply stop such efforts that increase costs for consumers.
These are just a few simple ideas that would enable America’s oil and natural gas producers to increase production and our nation to recapture the top spot as an energy superpower. Rather than begging OPEC and Russia for help, the Biden administration should pursue an energy strategy that unleashes the ingenuity of the American oil and natural gas worker.
Our nation’s producers have a proven record of outstanding results supplying America and the world with abundant energy resources, while at the same time protecting the environment and our nation’s public lands. No need to reinvent the wheel Mr. President. Just let us do our work and the United States and the world will benefit.
Kathleen Sgamma is President of Western Energy Alliance. Dan Naatz is Executive Vice President for Government Relations & Political Affairs for the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA).