The damage done by President Biden’s anti-energy policies is no secret to working families across the United States. How we got here is plain to see for those who now pay higher utility bills and put more expensive gas in their cars and trucks. It turns out that shutting down pipelines, stopping oil and gas leases, denying or delaying permits and targeting energy producers with fees and burdensome regulations eventually strains families’ budgets and strangles the U.S. economy.
Whether or not President Biden recognizes the negative consequences of these policy failures at the upcoming United Nations climate summit, COP27, will be significant as countries gather to discuss ways to reduce global emissions.
His constituents should be watching closely, since they’re the ones feeling the impacts of a president who promised on the 2020 campaign trail to go after fossil fuels of any kind, no matter the harm to lower-income Americans. On his first day in office, he killed the Keystone XL pipeline and he went on to halt oil and gas leasing on public lands.
His Environmental Protection Agency continues to develop rules to penalize domestic energy production, target small refineries and levy new regulations on the natural-gas industry, which is ironic because it has become a leading energy source for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions.
As oil and gas prices rose to alarming levels and a war in Europe underscored the necessity of energy independence, the Biden administration continued to appease environmental groups and the far Left, all at the expense of U.S. workers and employers.
The passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), a reckless tax-and-spending spree sure to be touted by President Biden at COP27 as the most important piece of climate legislation in history, came next. The reason Republicans view the bill so unfavorably isn’t just because of the rushed, partisan process deployed to pass it.
Opposition to the misnamed IRA is simple: It won’t do what its backers say it will. The untimely spending of $370 billion on subsidies to “confront the climate crisis” while inflation remains near 40-year highs won’t have much of an impact on the climate at all. The IRA is much closer to a Democratic midterm-election wish list than substantive energy policy.
The bill establishes a $27 billion greenhouse-gas-reduction slush fund to give cash to “green banks” and environmental groups. It creates another $3 billion fund for environmental groups and activist organizations and includes multiple other spending provisions containing no climate equities.
At this month’s international climate summit, instead of trotting out the same talking points on these empty climate policies and reviewing the last 18 months through rose-colored glasses, President Biden should take the opportunity to lead with concrete steps that can ease the current hardships of U.S. consumers and our allies, while also protecting our environment.
Ending the war on American natural gas would be a good place to start. Approximately 47% of U.S. homes currently use natural gas for heating. Households will spend an average $931 on heating during the upcoming winter months, a 28% increase from last winter. Perhaps more important to those who agree with President Biden’s environmental policies, America’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) is 30% cleaner than Russian natural gas. Increasing domestic energy production here — where it’s produced, refined and transported in a much “greener” way than in other nations — isn’t just good for business; it’s good for the planet.
The greenhouse-gas contributions of the fastest-growing global emitters also deserve to be confronted. Two countries, China and India, are responsible for 90% of the increase in carbon emissions over the past decade. Chinese coal production hit a record high in 2022, while President Biden’s policies are projected to kill tens of thousands of U.S. coal jobs by 2035. That’s an alarming trend and one that won’t be reversed by government spending or White House ceremonies celebrating slush-fund grants for activists.
To compete with other nations, we can speed up construction of domestic energy projects of all kinds — fossil fuels and renewables — through needed permitting reform. For example, the National Mining Association found it takes between seven and ten years to permit a mine in the United States. This is simply too long, especially as future demand will only rise for minerals and materials needed for products such as batteries and turbines. These emerging technologies will not progress if red tape and regulatory reviews don’t allow these projects to get off the ground.
At COP27, the world should hear about American efforts to lead on these issues. We’ve seen the failed results of virtue-signaling and climate appeasement. However, it’s not too late. We still have an opportunity to turn the tide and ensure that the United States becomes more energy independent and, in turn, more prosperous.
Senator Capito is a Republican senator representing West Virginia and is ranking member of the Environment and Public Works Committee.