Last month, CRES President Heather Reams served as an expert panelist in a joint forum hosted by the Congressional Western Caucus and House Committee on Oversight and Reform Republicans titled, “Holding the Biden Administration Accountable for Skyrocketing Prices & Failing Energy Policies.”
She joined four other expert witnesses, as well as more than 20 members of Congress, on the virtual forum—which you can watch here. They included Leslie Beyer, CEO of the Energy Workforce & Technology Council; Kathleen Sgamma, president of the Western Energy Alliance; Thomas Pyle, president of the American Energy Alliance; and Katie Tubb, senior policy analyst on energy and environment at the Heritage Foundation.
Biden Administration Squandered American Energy Independence
Experts and lawmakers excoriated the Biden Administration at length for its string of reckless energy policy choices during its first year.
“High energy, oil, and gas prices are not a failure of industry, but rather a failure of anti-energy policies that have artificially restricted supply and handcuff industry’s ability to provide affordable and reliable energy when people need it most,” began Western Caucus Chairman Dan Newhouse (R-WA). “President Biden must unleash America’s resource potential and protect our nationwide gains toward energy leadership, national security, and climate progress.”
Recall that President Biden was handed a country that had just recently, for the first time in decades, achieved domestic energy independence. But he quickly squandered our competitive advantage.
Even worse, President Biden has little to show for it with respect to climate change. Participants reiterated several times that within his first few days in office, Biden ended development of the Keystone XL pipeline to appease climate extremists in his party—only to lift sanctions on Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline a short time later. The emissions tradeoff of these two pipelines is likely around even, or perhaps worse, and it has certainly resulted in skyrocketing prices for working families at home.
Shareholder Activism Compounded Problem
Sgamma noted that activist shareholders have been increasing political risk for years by imposing Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) standards on the energy industry’s financing—a topic that surfaced several times over the two-hour discussion.
That’s why the additional regulatory risk Biden heaped on the situation so quickly decapitalized the industry last year, crippling its ability to increase output and respond when prices and demand spiked. Sgamma recommended the administration ease regulations at the Security Exchange Commission (SEC) and other agencies.
China Gets a Pass as It Strengthens Its Energy Security
China continues to build coal plants seemingly every day and is clearly making access to affordable energy their primary goal for the future. In fact, Reams noted that China didn’t even show up to the Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland, where CRES accompanied the first-ever Republican-only delegation to the international climate discussion.
“If this administration wants to transform the whole energy economy to renewables and electric vehicles, for example, they aren’t showing it,” claimed Pyle. “Because they’re block mining here for the critical minerals that China practically, if not completely, has a monopoly on.”
Export Affordable Clean Energy Technologies to Developing Countries, Not Jobs
“We should be focusing on innovative technologies that allow us to utilize our abundant domestic resources cleaner and cheaper,” Reams explained in her testimony. “We need to unlock our resources and unlock our entrepreneurs. Limit our emissions, not our energy choices.”
This is especially important because the U.S. must export these technologies to developing countries to solve this global problem. But she also said the U.S. must be clear-headed about what the rest of the world, especially developing countries, is willing to do. Many third-world countries simply have no choice but to rely on coal.
“It’s the difference between having energy and not having energy,” she explained, “You’re going to get it any way you can.”
“[Critical minerals] are here in the United States, but we’re not mining them in the United States, and this administration continues to want to export that responsibility,” she added. “It’s some kind of form of colonialism; it does not make sense. Again, there’s no strategic direction from this administration.”
Reams actually represented CRES at another House forum earlier this month titled, “Minnesota Mining and American Potential: An Opportunity for a Brighter and More Secure Future,” hosted by the Natural Resources Republicans.