With energy prices spiking, Biden must not shut down another pipeline

The average price for a gallon of gas is hovering around $5 , with some parts of the country paying upward of $6 per gallon . As a country, we continue to surpass the highest recorded average gas price each day. As consumers, we watch the prices soar just as we hoped to travel during the summer. Seeking a solution, the White House announced a trip to Saudi Arabia to petition the crown prince to produce more oil. The irony shouldn’t be lost on the general public: President Joe Biden wants the Saudis to bail him out of this oil crisis but has made it harder for domestic energy companies to produce here at home. Instead of flying halfway around the world this week, he should travel to states such as Oklahoma, Texas, and North Dakota and support their abilities to drill.

Since Biden took office, the price of gas has more than doubled, and some are estimating the national average could rise another dollar. Without a doubt, energy prices have risen in part due to global factors that go beyond the scope of the president’s authority, such as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. The upending of oil and gas deliveries from Russia has certainly pushed prices higher, but this doesn’t absolve Biden of his role in worsening energy costs. This president has not hidden his disdain for fossil fuels and on multiple occasions has promised to end their use in the economy.

On Day One, Biden signed an executive order to kill the Keystone XL pipeline, a decision that ended thousands of construction jobs and froze the energy industry. If he had just let the pipeline proceed as planned, it would have delivered 830,000 barrels of oil per day to domestic refineries. The president also put a moratorium on oil and gas leases on federal lands, canceled over 1 million acres of offshore shelf for drilling, proposed more red tape, and championed harmful taxes and regulations in the stalled “Build Back Better” legislation.

Taken together, these actions have undoubtedly put upward pressure on prices.

While tying the hands of US businesses, he is cozying up to hostile nations as a way to increase the supply of oil. When he was a candidate, Biden once called the Saudi crown prince a “pariah,” but now he appears more than willing to appeal to the Saudis for help. This also isn’t the first time Biden has flirted with hostile countries for help. Following Russia’s invasion, the administration sought to import oil from places such as Iran and Venezuela. Even Democrats in Congress criticized his approach as nothing more than substituting energy from one dictator for another.

In addition to impeding the businesses that produce energy, Biden is also seemingly willing to make fuel transportation harder, too. On the campaign trail, he agreed with a voter that there shouldn’t be any pipelines, saying, “Yes, yes, no pipelines, exactly.” Even if a reversal on the Keystone XL pipeline decision is not on the table, Biden would be wise to embrace infrastructure pipeline, a critically important method of transporting oil and gas across the country. Without the ability to move energy efficiently and safely from oil-producing regions to refineries, the cost of gas will increase even more.

Biden’s continued opposition to fossil fuel infrastructure is incredibly concerning as his administration is reviewing whether the Dakota Access pipeline should remain operational. The pipeline transports nearly 600,000 barrels per day from oil-producing regions in western North Dakota to terminals in Illinois. It is also one of the most technologically advanced pipelines ever built and is monitored around the clock every day by a computer network control system. Entirely underground, this pipeline meets or exceeds every state, local, and federal safety requirement but is once again being subjected to a redundant court-ordered environmental review.

The operation of the Dakota Access pipeline is certainly in the best interest of our own domestic energy supply and would positively affect our allies in Europe. Without it, oil produced in North Dakota would need to be transported via truck or rail, each bringing a chance that the transporter may derail or get into an accident — both of which can be deadly and destructive and will increase the wear on our federal, state, and county highways and roads. The project also has the support of 83% of North Dakotans , who have witnessed the jobs and economic benefits up close.

Encouraging domestic energy production here at home should be common sense for this administration. Specifically, the White House should streamline the pipeline permitting process, support the Dakota Access pipeline, and encourage production in the United States. It is not too late to put our country’s energy sector back on track, but it’ll take a great deal of effort from Biden to get it done.

Patrice Douglas is an attorney and former chairman of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission.


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