For an Administration hellbent on unilaterally dictating energy policy in the name of climate change, the President’s actions work against his so-called purpose.
President Biden’s executive orders ending the Keystone XL pipeline and pursuing a moratorium of oil and gas production on federal lands and waters are counterproductive. It was an Obama Administration’s State Department report that pointed out the Keystone XL pipeline would actually lower global greenhouse gas emissions.
During her confirmation hearing, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland confirmed a moratorium on federal oil and gas leasing will not reduce global production nor consumption. She conceded that these emissions are being exported to a dirtier country subjecting everyone to higher global greenhouse gas emissions while killing good paying energy jobs.
It doesn’t end there.
The Biden Department of the Interior (DOI) is also spreading misinformation to support their narrative. In a March press release they wrote, “Fossil fuel extraction on public lands accounts for nearly a quarter of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions” to justify their review of the Federal oil and gas program. When, in reality, an accurate reading of U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) data an agency of DOI shows carbon dioxide emissions from oil and gas extraction itself on federal lands account for just 0.43% of the total emissions associated with federal lands.
This Administration resorts to misleading the country on the science because the policies are bad for the environment and puts a target on the hardworking men and women in Louisiana. Offshore oil and gas production supports countless jobs and communities throughout the Gulf Coast. This provides critical revenue for the local, state, and federal government. It also funds conservation projects across the U.S. In Louisiana, our constitution dedicates revenues from offshore energy production to pay for environmental projects that preserve and restore its eroding coastline.
Real solutions should be more important than convenient talking points. Oil and gas will still be produced for all the fuel, plastics, and lubricants required in a modern economy. Independent forecasts continue to show oil and natural gas will provide about half of the global energy mix for decades to come.
If not produced here, they will be produced elsewhere, creating jobs in those countries—not the U.S. It is also likely to create more global greenhouse gas emissions as Russia, Iran and Nigeria’s environmental standards are used instead of ours.
There are concepts we can all agree on: the need for reliable energy, the goal of lowering emissions, and sustaining our energy independence. This happens via development of our natural resources, not keeping it in the ground and transitioning fully to renewables.
Since 2005, the United States has lowered its annual emissions, thanks to increased use of cleaner-burning natural gas. This is in despite population growth of 35 million and $4 trillion more in annual GDP. In some way this larger economy can be attributed to cheap American natural gas, in that companies build and create jobs here under our environmental standards and not in China, for example, where environmental regulations are not enforced.
This is why the Biden Administration’s actions on energy production are concerning. They are incentivizing the movement of manufacturing to other countries like China. China consumes half of the world’s coal and is building new coal-fired facilities. Eliminating our country’s emissions will do nothing if they are replaced by another country benefiting off of our lost jobs and damaged economy.
We will make a larger dent in global greenhouse gas emissions by keeping production in the U.S. and working with American companies to develop infrastructure in these countries to replace their high polluting energy sources with cleaner-burning, American natural gas. This is a goal we can pursue that will also create jobs here in the United States—and Louisiana.
The Biden Administration’s energy policy is shortsighted and counterproductive to their so-called aims. They are gambling the livelihoods of my constituents in Louisiana, all Americans, and the environment with their backwards efforts.
• Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D., Louisiana Republican, serves on the Finance Committee, the Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions Committee, the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and the Veterans Affairs committees. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, he led a group of health care volunteers to convert an abandoned building into an emergency health care facility for hurricane evacuees and, in the U.S. Senate, led efforts to secure coastal restoration projects to protect Louisiana families from natural disasters.