In Great Britain, residents are facing energy bills soaring by more the 100 percent, costs so high the new prime minister is considering a freeze on energy prices.
French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne has warned her nation’s businesses about the risk of energy “rationing” this winter.
In California, residents are facing the potential of rolling blackouts and orders not to charge their EVs due to an overloaded energy grid.
And what is the Biden administration doing? According to a recent report from The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), President Joe Biden has restricted energy production more than any president in history.
“President Biden’s Interior Department leased 126,228 acres for drilling through Aug. 20, his first 19 months in office,” wrote Timothy Puko and Anthony DeBarros. “No other president since Richard Nixon in 1969-70 leased out fewer than 4.4 million acres at this stage in his first term.” Biden has slashed oil and gas leases by 97 percent compared to the average of presidents before him.
“In all, the Interior Department has awarded [just] 203 leases for oil and gas development during Mr. Biden’s first 19 months in office. Former presidents Trump and Obama each approved 10 times as many leases during the same period, the Journal’s analysis shows.”
Advocates of American consumers, as well as advocates of the West’s resistance to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, say the Biden policy is a disaster.
“The data is in and confirms what we have thought for a long time,” said Dan Kish, senior fellow with the Institute for Energy Research. “President Biden is doing more damage to American energy security than any president in history. It is simply cruel to withhold energy supplies from American families but that is exactly what the Biden administration is doing.”
Cole Ramsey, vice president of upstream policy at American Petroleum Institute (API), called the analysis a sobering but unsurprising look at the headwinds to developing essential American energy.
“Maintaining a strong federal leasing program is critical for advancing U.S. energy security, strengthening our economy, and ensuring producers can continue to provide the reliable energy that our country needs, and we urge the Biden administration to take immediate action to hold onshore lease sales and issue a final 5-year program for federal offshore leasing that includes all of the proposed lease sales,” says Ramsey.
Jeffrey Eshelman, president & CEO of the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA), is also concerned.
“The Biden administration’s federal lands policy is undermining U.S. energy production and global energy security,” Eshelman said. “And surprisingly, this administration doesn’t recognize the importance of federal land leasing to America’s revenues.”
There is also an impact on state budgets, leaving taxpayers to make up the difference, Eshelman said, noting that leases from natural gas and oil leases are one of the largest sources of income for government outside of taxes.
“These lease proceeds are also allocated for coastal restoration,” said Eshelman. “Replacing these funds seem to be unaccounted for under the Biden administration.”
These new numbers showing a massive decline in energy production leases run counter to the claims made by the Biden administration.
“Federal policies are not limiting the production of oil and gas,” said the White House. “To the contrary, the Biden administration has been clear that in the short-term, supply must keep up with demand, at home, and around the world while we make the shift to a secure clean energy future.”
And, the White House said in a statement, “Natural gas production has never been higher, and crude oil production is expected to hit a new high next year.”
The Interior Department, which oversees oil leases, made similar comments to WSJ this week that it has issued a record high number of drilling permits for existing leases this year.
“White House spokesman Abdullah Hasan said the administration is ‘making America a magnet for clean energy manufacturing investment, securing America’s clean energy future, and putting us on track to meet our climate goals’ while still producing near-record amounts of oil,” according to the WSJ report.
Critics respond that as global demand has risen and sanctions on Russia take hold, those comparisons are meaningless. The issue is not that the U.S. has increased production, it is the lost flow of oil and natural gas America could make available to its citizens and its allies.
Sterling Burnett with the Heartland Institute blames the Biden administration. He says Biden has routinely flouted the law requiring lease sales and ignored court rulings directing him to follow the law and hold them.
“Even when he has offered sales, they have been extremely limited in size and, and largely in areas that are likely to contain little oil and gas, so bidding has been limited,” says Burnett. “Biden then uses this fact to claim new leases aren’t needed.”
In addition, Burnett says leases are only good if one can get permits to drill them.
“With thousands of permits in backlog, why should a company bid on new leases when they have the reasonable belief based on the Biden administration’s permitting blockade, they will be unable to get permits to produce.”