By U.S. Senator Roy Blunt
Affordable energy is important for our entire country, but it’s especially important where we live – for families, farmers, manufacturers, and small business owners. Unfortunately, President Biden has started his administration off with a rush to reinstate some of the worst Obama-era energy policies. These are policies that will destroy jobs, raise costs, and make us less competitive at a time when we’re fighting for our economy.
Within hours of taking office, President Biden issued an executive order halting the Keystone XL pipeline. As a result, the company building the pipeline said it would stop construction and lay off more than a thousand workers. In October, the company had announced plans to hire more than 7,000 union workers and said it expected to employ more than 11,000 Americans this year. As the leader of the AFL-CIO recently put it, the president’s order “did and will cost us jobs.” Even President Obama’s State Department said, after a thorough review, that the pipeline would have no significant impact on the environment. Thousands of jobs lost, nothing gained.
In another move on his first day in office, President Biden unilaterally recommitted the U.S. to the Paris Climate Agreement. In 2015, President Obama completely ignored the Senate’s constitutional role to advise and consent on treaties and entered the U.S. into this agreement. I opposed this move in 2015, and I oppose it now.
The Paris Agreement seeks to eliminate the use of coal, an affordable energy source that Missourians have historically relied on to power more than 80% of our electricity. Getting rid of coal means higher energy prices. It amounts to a new energy tax on anyone who flips a light switch, buys groceries, or harvests a crop.
The agreement also requires the U.S. to send billions of taxpayer dollars to developing countries under the name of “climate mitigation assistance.” And it allows our adversaries like Russia and China to increase emissions while we place extensive restrictions on ourselves. The Paris Agreement will cost trillions of dollars and millions of jobs. Simply put, it’s a bad deal for America.
Third, the Biden administration has banned new leases for oil and gas production on public lands and offshore waters. If this leads to a total ban on energy production on federal territory, one analysis estimated it could cost one million jobs by 2022. By 2030, U.S. GDP could be cut by a cumulative $700 billion. It would mean we would likely have to import energy from overseas – sending American jobs to places like China, Russia, Venezuela, and the Middle East.
According to the Energy Information Administration, the U.S. became a net total energy exporter in 2019, a feat last achieved in 1952. The Biden energy ban could wipe out our energy independence.
These early moves do not bode well for what’s ahead. If the Biden administration continues heading down this path, we could see a return to the disastrous Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) Rule and the so-called Clean Power Plan (CPP) – two of the most costly and burdensome regulations that came out of the Obama administration. The WOTUS Rule alone would put more than 99% of our state under the jurisdiction of Washington bureaucrats. And under the CPP, families could see double-digit increases in their utility bills.
Before the pandemic, America had the strongest economy and most favorable regulatory environment we had seen in decades, thanks in large part to the Republican-led Senate and Trump administration working together to cut red tape and advance an all-of-the-above energy strategy. I continue to believe that’s the right approach to get our economy back up to full speed. I’ll do everything I can to fight policies that hurt families and stand in the way of our recovery.