Americans count on Wyoming energy for gasoline and diesel fuel for our cars and trucks. Natural gas powers and heats our homes in the winter. We rely on coal to generate our electricity. Tens of thousands of Americans have jobs that rely on production of Wyoming oil, natural gas, coal and uranium.
The Biden administration is trying to change that. Once again, the president has sided with the radical left to choke off American energy production. This latest move is through a process called “sue and settle.”
Earlier this month, the White House settled a lawsuit brought by environmental activists. That settlement wraps thousands of oil and natural gas leases in additional red tape.
The settlement freezes energy production on 4 million acres of federal land in the West. Much of that land is here in Wyoming.
The lead plaintiff in the litigation has one goal: “Stop fossil fuel production in its tracks.”
Making matters worse, many of the Biden administration’s officials are former environmental activists, or embrace their objectives.
Prior to her nomination as Secretary of the Interior, Deb Haaland said she was “wholeheartedly against fracking and drilling on public lands.” When running for Congress, Ms. Haaland pledged to “keep fossil fuels in the ground.”
These extreme environmental radicals can’t lose when they sue the federal government. They are sitting on both sides of the negotiating table. American workers and families are ignored and left out of the process.
The sue and settle process lets enemies of American energy put up roadblocks to new production — all while claiming their hands are tied by the courts. Blocking energy production in Wyoming will not only kill energy jobs in our state, it will weaken our energy security and drive up energy costs for all Americans.
What’s more alarming is that this is likely just the first in a series of court settlements. These will have a huge impact on jobs and the economy nationwide. It’s all happening at the same time families in Wyoming and across the country are facing 40-year record high inflation and record gas prices.
High energy prices are taking a toll on American families. Savings accounts are being depleted. Credit card debt is near a record high. Two-thirds of American families are living paycheck to paycheck and have nothing left at the end of the month.
The president will try to deny responsibility, but he’s been pursuing this agenda since before he took office. As a candidate, Joe Biden promised, “No more drilling on federal lands. No more drilling, including offshore. No ability for the oil industry to continue to drill, period.”
On his first day in office, Joe Biden shut down the Keystone XL pipeline. That one pipeline would eventually have brought nearly 800,000 barrels of oil every single day to this country from Canada.
Days after that, Joe Biden imposed an indefinite ban on federal oil and natural gas lease sales.
The President should be unleashing American energy, not undermining it.
That means holding new oil and natural gas lease sales on federal lands and waters. That’s where about a quarter of our oil comes from. It means cutting red tape and approving new natural gas pipelines.
It means buying American-mined uranium for a strategic reserve. Nuclear power is the largest source of carbon-free energy and is key to our national security. It’s time to use the vast uranium resources we have in Wyoming.
It’s also vital we use the critical minerals we have here at home. In order to do that, we have to approve these mines right away. This will allow us to secure our supply chain and stop relying on China and Russia.
President Biden is making Wyoming workers and families pay for an agenda that he has stacked against us. The administration’s focus on ending the production and use of traditional sources of American energy has contributed to soaring inflation and record-high prices at the pump. It’s time to embrace the resources we have at home and regain our energy dominance.
John Barrasso, a Republican senator from Wyoming, is ranking member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
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