America’s energy crisis is mostly US Democrats’ fault
Had Democrats spent the last 3.5 years liberating US oil/gas investment, production, and transport instead of strangling them, energy would be far cheaper.
I don’t identify as a Republican or Democrat.
But as an energy expert I must say this: had Democrats spent the last 3.5 years liberating US oil and gas investment, production, and transport instead of strangling them, energy would be far cheaper.
America is experiencing our worst energy crisis since the 1970s. High oil prices are making driving expensive, while high natural gas prices are making heating and electricity far more expensive—above all in the Northeast, where some ratepayers might see prices more than two times last winter’s.1
Here’s a chart of residential natural gas prices over the last several winters from the US Energy Information Administration. Notice the massive spike projected for this winter—meaning record heating bills for many.2
Democrats are claiming there’s nothing they could have done about today’s oil and natural gas prices. These prices, they say, are outside America’s control because they are largely set by global markets.
In fact, had Democrats been pro-oil-and-gas our prices would be much lower.
Democrats could have ensured far lower oil and gas prices despite global tumult had they, upon taking power in 2019:
1) Liberated oil investment, production, and transport.
2) Liberated natural gas investment, production, and transport.
Instead, they systematically strangled oil and gas.
How Democrats could have made oil prices lower
By supporting the liberation of oil investment, production, and transport, Democrats could have unleashed our vast resources and industrial ingenuity to dramatically add to global oil supply—putting major downward pressure on prices.
Energy Secretary Granholm’s statement “that oil is a global market; it is controlled by a cartel…called OPEC” captures the view that US policy has little effect on global markets. But as the shale revolution proved, American industry can have a huge effect on global markets.3
American oil producers can only have a huge effect on global markets if investors are free to invest in oil production.
But Democrats have sabotaged oil investment by 1) supporting various “ESG” policies that call for reduced oil investment and 2) threatening oil producers’ existence.
Since Barack Obama ran for President declaring “the age of oil must end in our time” and continuing through Joe Biden’s “guarantee” that “we’re going to end fossil fuel,” US Democrats have threatened the future of oil production—a major deterrent for investment.4
Leading Democrats like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders constantly threaten US oil production and make good on those threats by trying to prevent crucial oil infrastructure projects, such as pipelines. Having these kinds of politicians in power drives investment away from oil.5
Is it any wonder that, threatened incessantly by US Democrats and other anti-oil forces, global investment in oil declined dramatically despite growing long-term demand? Between 2011 and 2021, oil/gas exploration investments declined 50%.
Less investment = less supply = higher prices.6
High post-pandemic demand for oil would normally be a great opportunity for oil producers to rapidly increase their capital expenditures and profit from higher prices. But today’s hostile environment, overwhelmingly from Democratic politicians, makes companies reluctant to invest.7
In July one of America’s most successful oil execs, Cody Campbell, wrote an article, “Yes, Biden’s War On The Oil And Gas Industry Is Driving Shortages And High Prices,” citing Democrats’ idea that “the need for oil and natural gas is soon coming to an end.”8
In addition to sabotaging US oil’s enormous potential by going after oil investment, Democratic politicians have done everything they can to sabotage oil production: threatening to ban fracking, banning federal leases, and calling for new, costly taxes and regulations.9
Another Democratic position that has increased oil prices is hostility to pipelines, especially Keystone XL. This has inhibited Canada from bringing oil to market, which prevents Canada from using its vast oil deposits to their full potential—meaning lower global supply and higher prices.10
Summary: If Democrats, upon taking power in 2019, had liberated oil investment, production, and transport, we could have led the world in rapidly ramping up production post-pandemic. Instead, we’ve been considerably slower than OPEC+, which actively avoids fast ramp-ups in production.11
Next time you hear a Democratic politician say there’s nothing they could have done about oil prices, remember that we had the opportunity to produce far more oil—but Democrats were so hostile to oil that our “Energy Secretary” is someone who advocated “keeping fossil fuels in the ground.”12
How Democrats could have made natural gas prices lower
By supporting the liberation of natural gas investment, production, and especially transport, Democrats could have ensured we had plenty of cheap gas to use and to export to allies who need it.
They did the exact opposite.13
America has a virtually limitless supply of natural gas and an incredible ability to ramp up production quickly. E.g., between 2017 and 2018 we were able to increase gas production by 10B cubic feet per day—the equivalent of 1.7M barrels of oil (72M gallons) per day.14
US industry’s incredible ability to ramp up gas production has been desperately needed in recent years as gas has become more central to our economy and more needed by allies—especially those dependent on Russia.
But industry has been strangled by Democratic opposition to pipelines.
Our bountiful natural gas is only useful if it can be transported by pipeline—to where it is needed in the US and to export terminals for shipment abroad. But in recent years we have seen a Democrat-led movement to block pipeline after pipeline—such as these 6 pipelines.15
The extent of Democratic hostility to natural gas pipelines was captured in 2019 by then-Lt. governor of Wisconsin, Mandela Barnes, who said we shouldn't be “encouraging new pipeline construction” because “we have everything we need to make sure we don't have to use it.” This was dead wrong.16
Democrats’ fierce opposition to natural gas pipelines has been particularly crippling in the Northeast, which should be swimming in cheap natural gas from Pennsylvania—but due to lack of pipelines has actually had to import natural gas from Russia!17
When Northeasterners pay much more for heating and electricity this winter, they should know that their plight was preventable—if only Democratic politicians had supported the pipelines needed to maximize the availability of natural gas vs. working to destroy those pipelines.18
US Democrats’ opposition to natural gas has also harmed our allies due to Democrat’s combination of opposition to pipelines and to “Liquified Natural Gas” export terminals. Every cubic foot of gas helps lower global prices and dependence on Russia—and Democratic politicians have stopped every cubic foot they could.19
If, when taking power in 2019, Democrats had focused on liberating US natural gas, we could have rapidly increased production, leading to lower prices and more security for us and our allies. Instead, we are struggling to grow production—and many of us are struggling to pay our bills.20
When you see your neighbors struggling to pay the bills, when you see businesses struggling or shutting down despite the ample energy resources in the US, just remember: we could have prevented most of this. And instead our politicians, mostly Democrats, made it worse.
On top of causing most of our energy crisis, Democrats just committed to making things worse by passing the “Inflation Reduction Act” which further harms oil and gas by
imposing new oil/gas taxes
giving EPA more power to restrict oil/gas
giving more power to anti-oil/gas activists
To understand why the two basic arguments for Democrats’ anti-oil-and-gas policies—1. “Climate emergency” and 2. Solar and wind can replace fossil fuels—are false, read this.
I take no pleasure in singling out Democrats for criticism on energy issues. I consider it a tragedy that today’s Democratic Party is so monolithic in supporting anti-fossil-fuel policies that harm our and our allies’ economy and security. We need many pro-energy, pro-fossil-fuel Democrats.
Open invitation: Any Democratic office that is interested in rational energy policy and messaging—including the best ways to promote cleaner energy long-term—can reach out to me and I’ll help you in any way I can, free of charge.
Summary: America’s energy crisis could have been largely prevented if Democrats used their control of Congress since 2019 to liberate oil and gas investment, production, and transport instead of sabotaging them.
The party needs to take responsibility and reverse course.
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