The Willow oil project in Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve would deliver 160,000 barrels of oil per day to U.S. consumers for the next 30 years if completed. The project was approved by President Donald Trump but blocked by far-left activists in federal court. [bold, links added]
Now, President Joe Biden’s administration must decide if it will issue a new environmental report approving the project or side with environmental activists and kill the project.
And this is a foreign policy decision.
Some Democrats don’t see the link between domestic oil production and national security. “This is the same tired argument they’ve been making for the last several years, where we live in this binary world where countries have to either buy our fossil fuels or Vladimir Putin’s,” California Democrat Jared Huffman recently said.
“In a decarbonized world, he is powerless, his country is poor, and they’ll be looking for a new leader.”
If Huffman were able to snap his fingers and magically decarbonize the world overnight, then he might have a point. There would no longer be a binary choice between developing American fossil fuels or buying Putin’s.
But here in the real world, renewable energy is decades away from replacing fossil fuels. Putin’s entire grand strategy involves exploiting that reality as long as he can. Both Europe and Biden have played right into his hands — at least until now.
Just look at the decisions Europe has made over the last decade and how those decisions have already empowered Putin.
As recently as 2000, EU countries produced almost 10,000,000 terajoules of natural gas per year and imported just about 7,000,000 terajoules a year from Russia.
Then, far-left environmentalists came to power and moved the European Union away from producing natural gas.
The movement toward renewable energy production was not nearly fast enough — by 2020, EU countries produced less than 4,000,000 terajoules of natural gas and had to import over 9,000,000 terajoules from Russia.
So yes, the EU did reduce natural gas consumption by 4,000,000 terajoules, but it became more dependent, not less, on Putin’s natural gas exports in the process.
If Democrats don’t think Putin was acutely aware of this crippling, voluntary dependency when he made his calculations on whether to invade Ukraine, then they don’t know the first thing about geopolitics.
Biden has similarly started the U.S. down the road toward energy dependency. On his first day in office, he imposed a moratorium on new oil and gas leasing on all federal lands, and he canceled the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline.
Will Biden further empower Putin and the autocrats of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries by killing the Willow project as well?
Huffman and the Democrats are right in one sense: the U.S. does not have to choose between renewable energy and fossil fuels because it can pursue both simultaneously.
It can also pursue nuclear power. Germany used to get 30% of its electricity from nuclear, but again, thanks to far-left environmental activists, that number is down to 11% today.
If you want to defeat Putin and OPEC and reduce carbon emissions, the correct course is to produce as much energy as possible. What kind? All of the above.
Read more at Washington Examiner
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