America needs an energy and economic plan

All across the United States, Americans are suffering from a missing energy and economic policy that has wrought havoc for families and their budgets over the last six months.

In May, those costs included a 5.5% increase in housing, an 11.9% increase for groceries, and a whopping 48.7% increase in gasoline. The impact of these costs, and a general inflation rate nearing 9%, means Americans will continue to pay more to get the same. Consumers have long known that these economic woes are not “transitory” or simply a result from geopolitical unrest. Based on their actions and rhetoric, however, we are left to ask, does the Biden administration know the same thing?

The answer is very clearly, no. These economic woes are, at best, the product of a misguided and incoherent economic and energy plan from the administration and, at worst, the intentional efforts of creating unsustainable and unaffordable access to energy for millions of Americans.

Seven months ago, we wrote, “The president has at his disposal more than 10 million energy workers looking to re-chart America’s path back to energy independence and energy security, all the while protecting our nation’s natural resources and the environment better than any foreign producers would even consider. With pro-energy policies American oil and gas workers would have no trouble producing energy for Americans and exporting it to our allies abroad.”

Yet, despite rather uneasy foretelling, the Biden administration continues to plot a course towards energy scarcity and higher inflation with every agency action. Publicly the administration continues to propose short-sided policies that can only act like bailing wire and duct tape to a disjointed and failed economic and energy policy that is costing Americans more each day and driving our nation into recession.

The administration this year has begun releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. With that action having little to no effect on inflation and prices at the pump, the administration also asked Russia and Middle Easter nations as part of OPEC+ to increase production to drive down prices. Yet consumers are still experiencing higher and higher costs. Further, the administration has even reached out to China and sought to visit with Latin American leaders to request that they be the solution to our energy crunch. The oil and natural gas producers of America, however, still have received no genuine outreach from the administration. Despite this reality, the Permian Basin, which has been producing oil and natural gas for more than 100 years, is producing those fuel sources at record amounts.

Yet, this year the Biden administration has also limited oil and gas opportunities on state and federal lands and in the first nine days in office, the Administration unveiled three orders alone which further restricted oil and gas development throughout the United States. No action has been taken by the administration since those early days to actually encourage or increase oil and natural gas development in the United States.

And recently, only after losing a lawsuit, has the Administration begun working to lease more oil and gas properties, something they were required to do by statute anyway. However, the lead time for those leases to become developed are also hindered by long delays in permitting that the federal government manages.

Even though the administration knows American consumers need relief from increasing energy costs and inflation, they continue to take aim at oil and gas development. Based on its implementation by the Carter administration back in the 1970s, the administration’s “new” proposal of a windfall profits tax on the oil and natural gas industry will only work to decrease domestic production and drive costs for consumers even higher. The administration’s recently articulated new proposals that would continue to utilize the Endangered Species Act to limit areas of production in the Permian Basin, a region that has grown from producing less than 17% of total US oil production to more than 40% in the last 15 years, would further limit domestic production and drive consumer costs higher. And, a new and wholly unwarranted effort to move the Permian Basin into ozone non-attainment would have devastating impacts on the region that continues to lead the nation in oil and gas production, once again causing the consumer to suffer the most.

The administration isn’t stopping there. They have begun targeting capital investment in the oil and gas development sector with new rules from the Securities and Exchange Commission which would further hamper the sector from providing relief to Americans – a proposal to which two dozen state attorneys general have expressed opposition.

At a time when our country needs more energy production to reduce costs on consumers, limit inflation and keep our nation from going into a recession, this administration’s response has been to offer policy after policy that instead will limit domestic production and make our nation more and more reliant on foreign powers. Under these policies, American consumers will find themselves cutting back on essentials to fuel and feed their families. The administration’s response to those folks seems to be, if they can’t afford bread anymore, let them eat cake.

The examples offered above are only a few that fully illustrate the absolute lack of regulatory certainty or a coherent policy focused on energy and economic development in the United States, which has continued to produce more oil and gas, with a better environmental record than anywhere in the world.

PBPA continues to ask the Biden administration to view our members and their efforts as partners in solving his energy and economic crisis. In the meantime, we are not waiting to offer help. We will continue to safely and responsibly produce our region’s natural resources for the benefit of Americans and our allies abroad.

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