President Biden’s regulatory policies toward domestic energy production have unwittingly only worsened America’s energy crisis. The cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline, pausing lease sales on federal lands and offshore, and enacting new burdensome federal rules are not easing record costs we see today. The national average for gasoline is nearing $5 per gallon, $1.80 higher than it was just a year ago, while many states sit well above the national average.
The Interior Department’s announcement is significant because it signals the end of new lease sales under the current 2017-2022 leasing program. In testimony before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee in mid-May, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said the department planned to release a proposed five-year plan at the end of June, but she declined to detail if the plan will authorize any new exploration. Such ambiguity does little to create confidence. Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski recently suggested that, “the Biden administration needs to recognize how this decision is going to hurt Alaskans, reverse it immediately, and get the federal oil and gas program back on track now.” It is now June, and time for the administration to make good on Secretary Haaland’s assurances.
As the status of federal leasing remains vague, federal regulators are also in the process of deciding the status of a key pipeline that operates in the Midwest. The Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) is an indispensable piece of America’s energy infrastructure, transporting over half a million barrels of oil each day from North Dakota to Midwest markets. Yet this critical piece of energy infrastructure remains under assault, with far-left groups continuing to challenge it in courts. If opponents have their way, oil could stop flowing altogether.
Obfuscating their real intentions, opponents have raised objected to easements, environmental reviews, and safety issues. In truth their goal is much simpler – stop oil production, at a time when inadequate supplies already threaten the economy. The reality is that DAPL is also one of the safest pipelines ever built. DAPL features a control center that continuously monitors the integrity of the pipeline and has a comprehensive response plan endorsed by the federal pipeline safety agency I once headed. With nearly five years in active service, it has never been subject to a major incident.
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