President Joe Biden speaks to celebrate Black History Month from the White House on Monday. (Patrick Semansky / AP)
By Randy DeSoto March 1, 2022 at 7:24pm
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine last week has served to highlight how dependent much of the world is on Russian oil.
Imports filling Moscow’s coffers have reached record levels even here in U.S. under President Joe Biden, topping over 600,000 barrels per day.
On Monday, GOP Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington and Bruce Westerman of Arkansas introduced the American Energy Independence from Russia Act.
The legislation would require Biden take action within 30 days “to unleash America’s oil and natural gas production to offset Russian imports,” the two said in a joint statement.
“We shouldn’t be buying a single barrel of oil from Russia,” Rodgers said from the House floor Tuesday. “This bill flips the switch on American energy.”
Westerman added, “Our bill is simple, and it stands up to Russian aggression by going after their major source of funding.
“It will empower U.S. domestic production by one, immediately approving the Keystone XL pipeline, [and] by restarting the oil and gas leasing program on federal lands and waters,” among other measures, the congressman said.
FLOOR ALERT: Russia could threaten our energy security at any moment, but @HouseDemocrats blocked @HouseGOP requests to consider @cathymcmorris & @RepWesterman‘s bill to unleash AMERICAN-made energy & support our energy independence, strengthen our security & help our allies. pic.twitter.com/RZEyeKyVsQ
— House Rules Republicans (@RulesReps) March 1, 2022
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy asked, “as an economic and energy super power, why are we relying on dictators when we should be supplying the world?”
Under former President Donald Trump, the U.S. became the top oil producer in the world in 2018 for the first time since 1973.
It still holds that position followed by Saudi Arabia, Russia and Canada, according to the Energy Information Administration.
However, in the early days of presidency, Biden put American dominance in peril.
Under the auspices of addressing climate change, Biden suspended oil and gas leasing on federal lands and reinstated an Obama-era carbon dioxide emission federal fee to oil drilling operations, which had been lowered significantly under former President Donald Trump.
Additionally, the Biden administration shut down oil exploration in the Arctic Wildlife Preserve and canceled the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada.
Last week, Biden’s team announced it would be delaying decisions on new oil and gas leases and permits on federal lands after a judge ruled officials had no constitutional authority to impose higher climate fees on drilling without congressional approval, CNBC reported.
🚨Biden put a new pause on oil and gas leases in America—the same day Russia invaded Ukraine!
Biden is banning American energy production but importing oil from Russia that is funding Putin’s invasion. pic.twitter.com/4i3bWLlX6y
— Tom Cotton (@TomCottonAR) March 1, 2022
Biden’s executive actions, taken together, continue to signal to the world oil market that the U.S. will be providing less over time, putting upward pressure on gas prices.
The price per gallon was in fact nearly $1 per gallon cheaper when Biden took office than it is now.
CNBC reported Tuesday that oil surged 11 percent to over $100 per barrel, which is a seven year high.
Biden made his moves to stifle oil production, even as the U.S. is pumping one million barrels less per day than at its pre-pandemic peak under Trump.
Should the U.S. return to producing the same level of oil as under Trump?
In November 2019, the U.S. produced nearly 13 million barrels per day, while in November 2021, the amount was 11.7 million, according to EIA.
In other words, if we get back to producing closer to 13 million, the U.S. will have no need of Russian oil.
The House and Senate should pass the American Energy Independence from Russia Act immediately, and Biden should sign it into law.