Biden Ensures Americans Will Keep Paying High Gas Prices As He Continues To Shut Down U.S. Energy Production

President Biden, In Defiance Of Congressional Direction, Is Shutting Down Oil & Gas Leases In Alaska Following A Summer Of Similar Moves, Leaving OPEC, Russia, And China In The Driver’s Seat On Energy And Americans Paying The Price

SENATE REPUBLICAN LEADER MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “Across the country, the end of summer gave working families gas prices near all-time highs – beyond just a seasonal swing. Last week, Washington Democrats opened a new front in their war on affordable and abundant American energy. The Biden Administration announced the withdrawal of more than 13 million acres in the National Petroleum Reserve from oil and gas leasing and cancelled seven oil and gas leases in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The President calls this move a necessary step to ‘meet the urgency of the climate crisis.’ But any serious observer would call it bad news for families trying to make ends meet.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 9/12/2023)

  • “Last fiscal year, under President Biden’s stranglehold, the number of new federal acres leased plummeted. Comparing the first 30 months of each Administration, onshore leasing is down from 67 sales under the previous Administration to a mere 9 sales under President Biden. Meanwhile, the Biden Administration has let a five-year plan for offshore energy production – required by law – to expire over a year ago with no new plan in sight. In other words, there are no new offshore energy leases in the hopper. Now, Congress has exercised its authority and forced the President to re-instate an offshore lease it had already cancelled. But in response, his Administration put 6 million acres of the sale off limits to oil and gas exploration.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 9/12/2023)
  • “[F]reezing the development of clean and reliable energy here at home does nothing more than kick production of more expensive and less reliable fuels into overdrive overseas. You can guarantee fuels won’t be climate conscious or environmentally sound when they come from hostile regimes overseas. The cost of Washington Democrats’ shortsighted obsession is measured in higher costs at the pump, higher home heating and cooling bills, and greater reliance on foreign energy.  By outsourcing our energy policy to the radical environmentalists, the Biden administration is outsourcing America’s energy security. Our nation deserves better.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 9/12/2023)

SEN. LISA MURKOWSKI (R-AK): “Now the Biden administration, at a time when America and our allies need Alaska’s resources more than ever, has decided to go their own way by further locking Alaska down while refusing to consult with the Alaska Natives who actually live on the North Slope … It’s bad enough to tear up legal contracts and renege on federal commitments. But it’s even more unconscionable that the Biden administration is penalizing Alaska right as it allows Iran to produce more of its oil and solicits the same from Venezuela.” (The New York Times, 9/07/2023)

SEN. DAN SULLIVAN (R-AK): “Having just spent more than a month home in communities across our state, there is palpable anger and frustration among Alaskans about the Biden administration’s unrelenting assault on our economy and our ability to lawfully access our lands. This war on Alaska is devastating for not only Alaska but also the energy security of the nation.” (Sen. Sullivan, Press Release, 9/06/2023)

SEN. JOHN BARRASSO (R-WY), Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member: “President Biden’s war on American energy continues. With the stroke of a pen, his administration is placing more than 40 percent of the National Petroleum Reserve off limits for petroleum production. He is ignoring the law and making us more dependent on foreign oil. Not only is this bad energy policy, it’s bad foreign policy. Today’s decision rewards our adversaries and hurts American families.” (U.S. Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member, Press Release, 9/06/2023)

As Americans Are Feeling The Sting Of High Gas Prices Yet Again …

CNN: ‘Labor Day Weekend Gas Prices Are Near All-time Highs’ (CNN, 8/31/2023)

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: ‘Rising Gasoline Prices Hit Inflation-Weary Americans’ (The Wall Street Journal, 8/28/2023)

“The increase is already weighing on small-business owners. Companies are delaying upgrades, losing workers or avoiding hiring extra help and moving to charge customers more as a result of higher fuel prices.” (“Rising Gas Prices Hit Inflation-Weary Americans,” The Wall Street Journal, 8/28/2023)

  • “In the past few months, the Moving Company, a mover in Springfield, Mo., lost three drivers in part because higher fuel prices made their commute more expensive, said Will Wheeler, a controller at the company. Meanwhile, the company increased its mileage charge by $4 earlier this year because of higher fuel prices and might add another $3 on top of that, Wheeler said. The hike has contributed to turning some customers away. ‘We’ve lost a lot of business,’ Wheeler said.(“Rising Gas Prices Hit Inflation-Weary Americans,” The Wall Street Journal, 8/28/2023)
  • “Tony Black, a sales manager at Brown Brothers Catering in Orem, Utah, said the recent jump in gasoline prices has heaped new pressure on the business by postponing upgrades to more-efficient ovens and making it harder to build cash reserves. Food prices have stabilized, giving the company some breathing room, he said. But elevated fuel prices make it less likely that the company will hire extra help if it needs to, Black said. ‘It’s certainly a delay on our ability to grow.’(“Rising Gas Prices Hit Inflation-Weary Americans,” The Wall Street Journal, 8/28/2023)
  • “For now, pricey trips to the gas station are bringing back bad memories for Codi King, a hairdresser in Tennessee. She frequently drives about 160 miles a day to do hair and makeup for brides. After fuel prices skyrocketed last year, she bumped her rates by $25, to $225, and started charging clients a $40 travel fee when she has to drive more than 25 miles. Now, she is thinking of raising her rates in the coming months—by another $25. ‘I’m just aggravated that inflation is so high right now,’ she said.” (“Rising Gas Prices Hit Inflation-Weary Americans,” The Wall Street Journal, 8/28/2023)

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL EDITORIAL BOARD: “U.S. gasoline prices have risen 60 cents a gallon this year as Saudi Arabia and Russia command the oil market. The Administration flogs jobs created by its green-energy subsidies, but how many more are its climate policies destroying? Employment in oil and gas extraction is 15% lower than before the pandemic.” (Editorial, “Biden Freezes Alaskan Oil,” The Wall Street Journal, 9/08/2023)

REMINDER: Gasoline Prices Are STILL Over A Dollar Per Gallon Higher Than They Were The Week Biden Took Office

As of September 11th, 2023, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported that the weekly national retail gasoline price was $3.822 per gallon. (U.S. Energy Information Administration, 9/11/2023)

According to the EIA, the weekly national retail gasoline price on January 18, 2021 was $2.379 per gallon. (U.S. Energy Information Administration, 9/11/2023)

… Joe Biden Keeps Reminding Voters, ‘We’re Still Pushing Really, Very Hard’ ‘To Stop All The Drilling’ …

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: “I wanted to stop all the drilling on the east coast, and the west coast, and in the Gulf, but I lost in court. But, we’re still pushing, we’re still pushing really, very hard.” (President Biden, Interview With The Weather Channel, 8/09/2023)

… And Then Moves To Shut Down Even More Oil & Gas Development In Alaska

“In its most aggressive move yet to protect federal land from oil and gas exploration, the Biden administration announced on Wednesday that it would prohibit drilling in 13 million acres … in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska and cancel all drilling leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.” (“Biden Administration To Bar Drilling On Millions Of Acres In Alaska,” The New York Times, 9/06/2023)

  • “President Biden’s decision on Wednesday to block drilling on millions of acres of Alaskan tundra was the latest in a series of aggressive actions recently taken by the administration to curtail fossil fuel extraction on public land and in federal waters.” (The New York Times, 9/07/2023)

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL EDITORIAL BOARD: “Oil prices have climbed this week after Saudi Arabia and Russia extended their production cuts. The Biden Administration’s response? Restrict U.S. oil and gas development.” (Editorial, “Biden Freezes Alaskan Oil,” The Wall Street Journal, 9/08/2023)

“The entire Alaska delegation condemned Mr. Biden’s decision to prohibit drilling in 13 million acres … in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska and cancel all drilling leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.” (The New York Times, 9/07/2023)

The Biden Administration’s Action Clearly Contravenes Federal Law

“Interior Secretary Deb Haaland announced Wednesday her agency is motivated by the climate crisis to cancel the seven Arctic refuge leases from a sale the department determined was illegal. The sale was mandated by Congress in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which required the department to hold two lease sales before the end of 2024. The Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority purchased the leases in the 2021 sale the Interior Department held in the final days of former President Donald Trump’s administration, which eagerly supported drilling in the Arctic.” (“Arctic Oil Leasing Legal Fight Looms on Alaska Cancellations,” Bloomberg Law, 9/07/2023)

  • [T]he Interior Department may have now violated the tax act by canceling the leases, which were purchased in a Congressionally required lease sale, said Jon Katchen, partner at Holland & Hart LLP in Anchorage, Alaska, who represents industry and government clients. ‘The cancellation of the leases arguably violates this statutory mandate by nullifying the first lease sale,’ Katchen said. ‘The cancellation may also be deemed arbitrary and capricious, particularly in light of the 180-degree reversal from Interior’s prior position.’” (“Arctic Oil Leasing Legal Fight Looms on Alaska Cancellations,” Bloomberg Law, 9/07/2023)

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL EDITORIAL BOARD: “[The Biden Administration’s] climate agenda is also the most lawless and economically destructive in history.” (Editorial, “Biden Freezes Alaskan Oil,” The Wall Street Journal, 9/08/2023)

  • “The 2017 GOP tax reform mandated two lease sales within the Coastal Plain of ANWR. The first occurred in January 2021, and the second is required to be held before Dec. 22, 2024. Mr. Biden on his first day in office imposed a leasing moratorium in ANWR. Now Ms. Haaland is revoking seven ANWR leases issued by the Trump Administration in January 2021. She claims to have ‘the authority to cancel or suspend oil and gas leases issued in violation of a statute or regulation,’ and that the ANWR leases include ‘fundamental legal deficiencies.’” (Editorial, “Biden Freezes Alaskan Oil,” The Wall Street Journal, 9/08/2023)

GOV. MIKE DUNLEAVY (R-AK):The leases AIDEA hold in ANWR were legally issued in a sale mandated by Congress. It’s clear that President Biden needs a refresher on the Constitution’s separation of powers doctrine. Federal agencies don’t get to rewrite laws, and that is exactly what the Department of the Interior is trying to do here.” (Gov. Dunleavy, Press Release, 9/06/2023)

“AIDEA [The Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority], the state agency holding the remaining leases, said in a statement the cancellation of its leases is illegal and will be followed by court action to uphold them. ‘This latest action by the Department of the Interior shows arbitrary disregard for federal law, based on campaign trail rhetoric,’ said AIDEA executive director Randy Ruaro. ‘Campaign promises are not enough to justify this agency action. Under the law, Interior must present real facts and reasons that support this reversal in position.’” (“Biden Administration Cancels State-Owned Oil Leases In Arctic National Wildlife Refuge,” Anchorage Daily News, 9/06/2023)

Last Week’s Legally Dubious Cancellation Of Leases In Alaska Is Just The Latest Of A Series Of Moves by The Biden Administration In Recent Months To Restrict Or Raise The Cost Of Energy Exploration In The United States

“‘What we’re seeing right now is, on all federal lands and all federal waters, they are doing everything they can to stifle production in the United States,’ said Mike Sommers, president of the American Petroleum Institute.” (The New York Times, 9/07/2023)

The Biden Administration Has Spent The Summer Locking Out Areas Of Colorado, Wyoming, And New Mexico From Oil And Gas Production

“Over the past several months, the administration has moved to bar drilling on 1.8 million acres of sagebrush steppe in Wyoming and on more than a million acres of public land in Colorado. It insulated more than 336,400 acres of public land around Chaco Culture National Historical Park from new oil and gas leasing and mining claims for the next two decades. And last month, it said it would remove about six million acres of potentially oil-rich areas from an upcoming federal lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico that is required by law.” (The New York Times, 9/07/2023)

“Hundreds of square miles in New Mexico will be withdrawn from further oil and gas production for the next 20 years on the outskirts of Chaco Culture National Historical Park that tribal communities consider sacred, the Biden administration ordered Friday.” (“Biden Orders 20-Year Ban On Oil, Gas Drilling To Protect Tribal Sites Outside New Mexico’s Chaco,” The Associated Press, 6/02/2023)

“The New Mexico Oil and Gas Association has argued that the plan would leave additional leases on Navajo land or allotments owned by individual Navajos landlocked by taking federal mineral holdings off the board.” (“Biden Orders 20-Year Ban On Oil, Gas Drilling To Protect Tribal Sites Outside New Mexico’s Chaco,” The Associated Press, 6/02/2023)

Navajo Nation officials have made similar arguments, saying millions of dollars in annual oil and gas revenues benefit the tribe and individual tribal members. The Navajo Nation completed its own study last year and advocated for a smaller area to be set aside given the economic impacts a withdrawal would have on the tribe.” (“Biden Orders 20-Year Ban On Oil, Gas Drilling To Protect Tribal Sites Outside New Mexico’s Chaco,” The Associated Press, 6/02/2023)

And They Cut Down On Available Areas Offshore As Well

“The Biden administration blocked off millions of acres of federal waters from an upcoming oil and gas lease sale as a result of its settlement with environmental groups over wildlife protections. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), an Interior Department subagency tasked with managing offshore energy development, published a final notice of sale for Lease Sale 261 late Wednesday, including six million fewer acres than it previously scheduled.” (“Biden Admin Blocks Off Millions Of Acres From Oil, Gas Leasing After Settling With Eco Groups,” Fox News, 8/24/2023)

All The While, The Administration Keeps Making It More And More Expensive To Drill For Oil And Gas

“The Interior Department has also raised the royalties that fossil fuel companies must pay to pull oil, gas and coal from public lands for the first time since 1920, while increasing more than tenfold the cost of the bonds that companies must pay before they start drilling.” (The New York Times, 9/07/2023)

“The increases in the proposal are substantial, and will make it harder for smaller oil and gas producers to lease and drill on public land, said Dan Naatz, executive vice president of the Independent Petroleum Association of America. It takes a lot of land and millions of dollars of investment to put together a drilling program, and companies need to be able to cobble that land together over time, he added….  Industry officials say access to new areas helps ensure investment and long-term supplies, and that Biden’s decision to choke off that activity has made it harder for the industry to get cheap financing and keep gasoline prices low for consumers.” (“Biden Wants Oil Companies To Pay Much More To Drill On Federal Lands,” The Washington Post, 7/20/2023)

Biden Is Attempting To Curry Favor With Environmental Activists As He Eyes A Re-Election Campaign

But several people close to the administration said Mr. Biden was personally stung by the outraged response in March from climate voters, particularly young environmentalists, after he approved the enormous Willow oil project in Alaska and that he is eager to win them back. Energy analysts said they saw the new policies as an attempt to mend fences with young voters and as a sign of willingness to openly confront the oil industry.” (The New York Times, 9/7/2023)

  • “‘I see President Biden trying to reestablish green credentials ahead of the next election,’ said Kevin Book, managing director of ClearView Energy Partners, a Washington-based research firm.” (The New York Times, 9/07/2023)

“The agency has been issuing a raft of new rule proposals … as it attempts to fulfill Biden’s big climate promises before he faces reelection.” (“EPA Plan Would Impose Drastic Cuts On Power Plant Emissions By 2040,” The Washington Post, 4/22/2023)

  • “The Biden administration is under pressure to finish this work in a little more than a year, to make it harder to reverse should the president lose reelection.” (The Washington Post, 5/11/2023)
  • “EPA is rushing to fulfill Biden’s big climate promises before he faces reelection. [In April] the agency announced the strictest restrictions ever on emissions for cars and trucks … Later this year, the agency is supposed to finish new limits on the oil and gas industry’s emissions of methane …” (The Washington Post, 5/11/2023)

But The Real Winners Are China, Russia, And OPEC

“Saudi Arabia and Russia agreed [September 5th] to extend their voluntary oil production cuts through the end of this year, trimming 1.3 million barrels of crude out of the global market and boosting energy prices. The dual announcements from Riyadh and Moscow pushed benchmark Brent crude above $90 a barrel in trading Tuesday afternoon, a price unseen in the market since November. The countries’ moves could increase inflation and the cost for motorists at gasoline pumps.” (“Oil Prices Spike As Saudi Arabia, Russia Extend 1.3 Million Barrel A Day Oil Cut Through December,” The Associated Press, 9/05/2023)

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL EDITORIAL BOARD: “In any case, Vladimir Putin couldn’t care less about the caribou. Russia is drilling in the Arctic and using it as a shipping route to deliver oil to China. The Administration’s restrictions on U.S. Arctic oil and gas development amount to unilateral energy disarmament.” (Editorial, “Biden Freezes Alaskan Oil,” The Wall Street Journal, 9/08/2023)

  • “The Biden re-election campaign ran an ad during Thursday’s NFL kickoff touting the President’s economic agenda, including his supposed success in making the U.S. more ‘energy independent.’ Yet his Administration’s relentless war on fossil fuels has left Americans more vulnerable to Mr. Putin’s tender mercies and dependent on China for green energy.” (Editorial, “Biden Freezes Alaskan Oil,” The Wall Street Journal, 9/08/2023)


Related Issues: Energy