Commentary: Joe Biden’s War on Fossil Fuels

by Jakob Puckett


Try as they might to mitigate the severe energy crisis plaguing the U.S., the Biden administration’s attempt to shore up supply is a few wellheads short of an oil rig.

With gasoline prices averaging over $4.60 per gallon and several electric grid operators warning of rolling blackouts, increasing the supply of America’s most critical energy sources is vital. Fossil fuels account for 80% of America’s energy usage, yet the administration is intent on curbing oil and gas supply, cutting gasoline refining capacity, and making it more challenging to meet rising electric demands.

Oil prices are hovering around $100 per barrel, and millions of barrels per day of Russian oil are exiting the market due to unwilling buyers, international sanctions, and contracted Western oil companies abandoning drilling sites. With this dip in the international oil market, the U.S. ought to be preparing to increase domestic oil supply, but the Biden administration is simply not interested in that. Instead, it’s moving to block oil and gas production on federal lands, where roughly a quarter of American oil is produced. The Interior Department’s recently proposed five year offshore lease plan would block offshore drilling in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans and offer a small number (possibly zero!) of leases in the Gulf of Mexico. Onshore, the administration cut available leased land by 80% and significantly increased royalty fees.

The situation is no different for drilling on private land. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lacks the authority to ban fracking, but is considering regulating America’s most productive and cost effective oil field into irrelevance. The Permian Basin in Texas and New Mexico accounts for 40% of America’s oil production and 15% of its natural gas production. Undeterred by the Supreme Court’s recent rebuke of its industry-remaking regulations, the EPA is contemplating using ozone standards to force Texas and New Mexico to curb oil drilling, potentially jeopardizing 25% of America’s gasoline supply.

And yet even if the administration encouraged more domestic drilling (in contrast to the president’s repeated calls for OPEC to pump more oil), that oil must be refined to turn it into gasoline and diesel fuel. However, in the face of increasing renewable fuel mandates, gasoline and diesel refining capacity in the United States has been declining for years, as many refineries are either closing or converting to biofuel refineries.

No large refinery has been built for 46 years, in part because of the EPA’s ratcheting up of biofuel blending requirements to unsustainably high levels. Moreover, the EPA’s recent decision to end its longstanding practice of granting biofuel waivers to small refiners will only lead to more refineries closing under those mandates’ costly weight. Regulating refineries out of business is not the way to lower gasoline prices.

Nor is the electric grid immune from attention. A new EPA power plant emissions proposal is so aggressive that four of the nation’s seven electric grid operators have opposed it citing threats to  grid reliability. Without changes, the rule would force reliable fossil fuel generation out of service at a time when ready-at-hand electric generation is rapidly declining throughout the country. With rising electric demands as the economy electrifies, shutting down needed power plants will make it harder to keep more than just the lights on.

Nor is this challenge a far-off possibility. Several grid operators and regulators have issued warnings that maximum electric generation may not be enough to meet this summer’s demands in more than half the country due to early coal and gas plant closures. Incorporating clean energy is important, but going too green too fast means summer blackouts may no longer be confined to California.

Despite the urgency of the situation, there are few policy moves that would bring down energy prices overnight. In industries where billion dollar investments take years to pay off, long term certainty and consistency of the kind the Biden administration refuses to provide are needed.

Fossil fuels are vital for economic activity and global power projection, and the administration should strategize accordingly. Periodically releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is not a strategy, especially when that oil ends up in China. Nor is the EPA’s consideration of eliminating half of America’s liquified natural gas (LNG) exports or federal regulators slowalking permits for a new LNG terminal, at a time when increasing more environmentally-friendly, less emissions-intensive American exports can help wean European allies off Russian gas.

But these strategic and economic casualties are not accidental. Across the board, the Biden administration has placed fossil fuels in its crosshairs. Americans stuck with high energy prices are simply collateral damage.

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Jakob Puckett is an energy analyst and a Young Voices Contributor. Follow him on Twitter at @jakobrpuckett.
Photo “Joe Biden” by Joe Biden. 




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6 Thoughts to “Commentary: Joe Biden’s War on Fossil Fuels”

  1. OldIron

    It’s not the worst of all time England’s been covered with ice and driven the human population from its Shores at least three times in history. Please read all the information and understand that for the last 12,000 years we have been warming up from the last ice age 12,000 years ago there were no SUVs. If you believe that my use of fossil fuels is terrible then stop using yours. You’re right stops at my front door no ifs ands or buts you can’t force your religion, reproductive, sociological and global warming down my throat anymore.

  2. Ken Hood

    I encourage everyone to read the following article:

    Why Apocalyptic Claims About Climate Change Are Wrong (
    Nov 25, 2019, Forbes, Micheal Shellenberger

    He is a person very concerned about the effects of climate change, however he explains in
    detail how mankind’s ingenuity is getting us through this so-called crisis.

    Also I would recommend reading the late great economist Walter Williams who cites data that the real goal of scaring people that the end of the world is just around the corner is to
    end the capitalist economic system. The weblink to this article is:

    Scientists: Dishonest or Afraid? – Walter E. Williams (

    Ken Hood

  3. Thistlewaite

    Again, once again, over again, yet again, one more time, there is no, none, nichts, nil, nada, zip, zilch, zero credible evidence that human sources of CO2 have caused, are causing, or will cause a significant increase in global average temperatures.

    The main data was what Al Gore used in his movie ‘An Inconvenient Truth’, the temperature and CO2 concentration from the last 800,000 years of Antarctica ice core data.

    But: (1) When temperature started to increase, CO2 concentration was low, not high. Something caused the temperature to increase, but it was not high CO2 concentration.

    (2) When temperature started to fall, CO2 concentration was high, not low. Something caused the fall in temperature, but it was not low CO2. Indeed, the high CO2 did not keep the temperature from falling.

    Temperature has changed significantly, both higher and lower, back at least to the Roman Empire without significant cause from human sources of CO2:

    It was warmer in the time of the Roman Empire.

    There was a Medieval Warm Period, warm enough to grow grapes in England.

    There was the Little Ice Age, e.g., with the ice in the Delaware River in the famous painting of Washington crossing that river, three years of crop failures in a row that helped cause the French Revolution, and Napoleon’s army freezing on their retreat from Russia.

    And, although we got some more CO2 from WWII and the post-war economic boom, we had some significant cooling from 1944 to 1970.

    There were some dozens of studies of the warming effects of CO2 and predictions of significant global warming. The times of the predicted warming came and went years ago without significant evidence of warming.

    There were predictions that by now the level of the Atlantic Ocean would rise and the West Side Highway in NYC would be underwater.

    Since good science has predictive value, ‘climate science’ is bad science and should be ignored.

    The screaming about CO2 causing global warming is a hoax, a scam, an effort to get money: AOC, etc. are on the record as wanting $94 trillion to fight global warming. The $94 trillion is attempted theft in broad daylight, would be the biggest theft ever.

    The hoax and scam have now done serious harm to the US economy, the US dollar, and US national security.

    It is very strongly in the interest of the US to return to ‘energy independence’ and achieve full ‘energy dominance’, from the continental shelves, the Permian Basin, the many Midwest shale formations, the XL pipeline to the Canadian tar sands, and ANWR, at least.

  4. John Bumpus

    When I was a newly-minted young lawyer about fifty years ago, the left-wing group-think ‘rage of the day’ was global cooling. Later, when THAT nonsense did not ‘pan out,’ the left-wing group-think became global warming. Still later, when THAT nonsense did not occur as predicted, the ‘new and improved version’ of this group-think became climate change. This is where we are today. Watching the BBC World News a couple of days ago to get the latest information about the happenings in Europe, the announcer noted that the temperatures in Great Britain were the hottest there since 1900 (when it had been slightly hotter). I wonder what caused the very high temperatures in the U. K. in 1900? I have a modest suggestion: solar activity? You know, there was a time a few thousand years ago when much of North America was buried in glacial ice miles-thick. I wonder why all of that ice melted so that North America is mostly ice-free today? It surely could not have melted because of man-caused carbon emissions. These things are cyclical. The lefties are always looking for another way to take your money ostensibly for one purpose, but actually to redistribute it to others and to promote their left-wing hair-brained schemes. What is that old saying–Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, . . .

  5. william delzell

    We got global warming with the worse heat crisis in Western Europe for ALL TIME, and you all still want to endanger the planet with more fossil fuel? SHAME!!

    1. Tim Price

      Please don’t lie about this! It’s been this hit before and will be this hit again. If this is an issue, why are China and India still polluting big time while the US had already reduced its emissions many fold. I think you are being led along by your progressive comrades!

      I guess you want to turn off electricity because solar and wind will never provide enough!