President Biden is struggling to deflect criticism targeting America’s dependence on foreign energy. His current predicament is a symptom of a much larger problem: the disingenuous form of environmentalism that is embraced by both his administration and the Democrats in general.
The Democratic Party claims to be committed to protecting the environment, but many of their policy positions simply shift the emissions that come with energy production to overseas producers, rather than companies here in America.
On day one of his presidency, Joe Biden shredded the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, which would have carried 830,000 barrels of oil a day from Alberta to Houston for refinement. While some may view this as a step towards reducing oil consumption, the pipeline never had any effect on the consumption of oil. The pipeline simply gave America a more reliable way to import oil from Canada, which could then be consumed or exported.
Now that the project is canceled, the U.S. now has to import that oil by truck or rail. Canada is responsible for over 60% of all American oil imports, and the cancellation of the pipeline massively increases the logistical costs of transporting that oil, as well as the emissions that come with its transportation.
Biden also, through the Department of the Interior, halted oil drilling on federal land, further crippling American oil production. In lieu of American energy production, we are forced to import more and more oil from foreign nations, oftentimes countries with questionable intentions.
In the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, issues stemming from American and European reliance on Russian energy production have been exacerbated. On Tuesday, President Biden announced a ban on American imports of Russian oil. European countries, which are more dependent on Russian oil and natural gas, have also announced plans to phase out imports of Russian energy over the coming months.
Although Russia only accounts for 7% of American oil imports, European countries are far more dependent. According to a congressional report, the European Union depends on Russia for 48% of its natural gas consumption. Citizens of western countries are the ones burdened with cost increases due to the widespread sanctions on Russia.
As a result of the ban, Biden is turning to Venezuela, which is ruled by socialist dictator Nicolas Maduro, in hopes of bringing down the rising cost of oil. Talks surrounding the U.S. easing existing sanctions on Venezuela to increase their oil exports are just swapping one dictator for another.
Democratic refusal to unleash American energy production in the name of furthering shallowly environmentalist policies only serves to increase our allies’ dependence on Russia and the Middle East. Rather than producing and exporting oil and natural gas to our allies, they are instead forced to cooperate with dictators to meet their countries’ needs.
Oil drilled in America and oil drilled overseas have the same detrimental effects on the climate, American oil is actually cleaner emissions-wise. The substantial difference, however, is that relying on foreign energy creates foreign policy externalities that can be exploited by our enemies.
The reality is that many Democrats support environmental policies more to appease the progressive wing of the party than to actually make progress tackling the climate. As a result, America is forced to turn to Russia and OPEC member nations in order to meet our energy needs.
The right way to begin shifting America off of fossil fuels is to put our energy production back in American hands. Taking full control of our energy production allows us to be in the driver’s seat when it comes to our attempts to shift away from nonrenewable energy sources.
Producing energy in North America means no more dependence on hostile nations, leaving us less vulnerable to sudden changes in the market and more resilient against international conflicts. Even more important, halting business with countries like Russia and Venezuela ensures our energy production is not paid for with blood.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.