Commentary by Anne Bradbury originally published by RealClearEnergy.org
Methane Fee, Windfall Profits Taxes, Repealing IDCs, calls for FTC investigations into price gouging, and now a federal gasoline tax suspension. The Administration’s energy policy is disjointed and often counterproductive. Rather than flailing attacks on the oil and natural gas industry, leaders in Washington need a serious energy strategy that embraces all of America’s energy resources, including oil and natural gas.
In addition to these problematic legislative proposals, there are numerous concerning policies currently being implemented across the agencies. The Administration is shutting down and blocking pipelines, greatly restricting oil and natural gas leasing on federal lands, slow walking LNG export permits, and issuing sweeping climate disclosure rules to discourage investment in the industry.
These bad policies do nothing to address skyrocketing inflation and are having a real effect on the President’s approval rating, putting him at low that few presidents have experienced.
Lest you dismiss this as partisan politics, let’s take a look back at the Obama White House’s statement on gasoline prices:
“The truth is that there is no silver bullet to address rising gas prices in the short term, but there are steps we can take to ensure the American people don’t fall victim to skyrocketing gas prices over the long term. That’s why since taking office the President has been focused on a sustained, ‘all-of-the-above’ approach to developing new domestic energy sources, expanding oil and gas production, and reducing our reliance on foreign oil…”
The Obama White House advocated for an energy approach that included oil and natural gas, rather than spreading false narratives and pointing fingers. They also knew the importance of domestic production, as they continued to hold federal lease sales for oil and gas development. They looked to domestic producers to increase supply – rather than actively seeking foreign nations, like Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, to produce more to meet our energy needs in America.
In contrast, the Biden Administration has not embraced an “all-of-the-above” approach. Instead, they continue to make confusing statements to the markets and the American people about role of domestic energy production:
* “Let me answer your question very directly: President Biden remains absolutely committed to not moving forward with additional drilling on public lands.” (Gina McCarthy, April 2022).
* “We have to put the industry on notice: You’ve got six years, eight years, no more than 10 years or so, within which you’ve got to come up with a means by which you’re going to capture [emissions], and if you’re not capturing, then we have to deploy alternative sources of energy.” (Secretary John Kerry, April 2022).
* “Oil prices are decreasing, gas prices should too…. Oil and gas companies shouldn’t pad their profits at the expense of hardworking Americans.” (President Joe Biden, March 2022)
The world knows that oil and gas producers do not set the price of gasoline. The price of gasoline is determined by the price of crude oil, which is set on the global market based on supply, demand, and costs. Prices are also affected by policies and promises – like those the Administration has been pursing since the election. Promises that sounded good during a campaign, like “no new fracking on federal lands” and “a transition to renewables.” But, campaign pledges don’t always equal good policy. The past two years have shown us that the Administration’s rhetoric, policies, and finger pointing has not created unity, and no one is better off paying $5/gallon to get to and from work.
The answer is working together – with the oil and natural gas industry – on implementing the policies needed to bring down the cost of energy for the American people:
*Lease federal lands and waters
*Build necessary pipelines to transport oil and natural gas
*Encourage investment and access to capital
*Relieve supply chain bottlenecks
The 8.6 percent overall inflation is quickly approaching what Americans faced in the 1979 energy crisis during Jimmy Carter’s presidency, when prices climbed 11.4 percent, and the Carter Administration imposed gasoline rationing and wage-price controls.
Arnold Weber, the former director of the Nixon Cost of Living Council referred to President Carter’s anti-inflation policies and efforts to sell them to the American people as a “sort of decoy operation … creating the illusion of involvement and action without creating the basis for action.”
We urge the Biden Administration to acknowledge the essential role of oil and natural gas for decades to come and focus on serious policy solutions that increase supply and help bring down energy prices. American families deserve more than the illusion of action when it comes to energy.
Anne Bradbury is CEO of the American Exploration & Production Council (AXPC) whose membership is composed of America’s largest independent oil and natural gas exploration and production companies. Anne joined AXPC from the Duberstein Group, where she was a Partner. Prior to Duberstein, Ms. Bradbury served as one of the top legislative strategists and technicians in Congress as Floor Director to two successive Speakers of the House of Representatives and Deputy Floor Director in the Offices of both the Majority and Minority Leader. During her decade-long career on Capitol Hill, Bradbury was instrumental in the implementation and adoption of major rules packages and legislative initiatives ranging from reforms to national security and intelligence policy to health care, energy, transportation, trade, and education policy passed by the House of Representatives.