By M.D. Kittle
MADISON — As President Joe Biden finally concedes the U.S. buying Russian oil might just be helping to pay for Russia’s war on Ukraine, Wisconsin Republican House members say it’s time to move America back to energy independence.
U.S. Rep. Tom Tiffany (R-Minocqua) and several of his colleagues have introduced the American Energy Independence from Russia Act. The measure would require the Biden administration to develop an energy security plan and expand American oil and natural gas production to offset Russian imports.
After taking bipartisan heat, Biden on Tuesday announced a U.S. ban on Russian oil and other energy imports, a move aimed at further pinching Russia President Vladimir Putin’s ability to fund his war machine.
The United States is not a major buyer, but it has been sending about $22 million a day to Russia for oil and natural gas. According to the Energy Information Administration, the U.S. took in an average of some 20.4 million barrels of crude and refined products a month last year, accounting for about 8 percent of U.S. liquid fuel imports.
With prices at U.S. pumps topping $4.17 a gallon Tuesday, a new record, the change in policy will push gasoline prices higher. Biden said his administration would do all it could to soften the blow, while pointing his boney finger at U.S. energy companies in warning them against price gouging.
But the administration, stubbornly locked into its radical climate change agenda, is doing far from everything it can to ease the gas price pain.
“It’s crazy that the President is turning to Venezuela and Iran for help lowering oil prices when the solution is right underneath our nose,” said U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Allouez), a co-sponsor of the American Energy Independence from Russia Act. “America was energy independent in 2020 and can even grow its energy production to help our allies. But in order to do so, this administration needs to reverse its destructive and counter-productive energy policies.”
Instead of re-opening domestic oil and natural gas production, the Biden Administration is eying oil deals with Iran, Venezuela and Saudi Arabia.
The bill, introduced by Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) and Bruce Westerman (R-Ariz.), would require the president to submit an energy security plan within 30 days of passage and would promote American energy independence by:
- Immediately approving the Keystone XL pipeline
- Removing all restrictions on liquified natural gas (LNG) exports
- Restarting oil and gas leasing on federal lands and waters – which was halted by the Biden administration
- Protecting American energy and mineral development
- Requiring the Secretary of Energy to develop a plan to replace oil drawn down from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve
In a weekly letter to constituents, Tiffany said Biden’s radical climate change agenda has led to significant increases in energy prices, weakened the U.S. at home, emboldened adversaries abroad, and made the world far less safe as a result.
“To make matters worse while the President was busy strangling American-energy producers at home he waived sanctions on the Russia-backed Nord Stream 2 pipeline – increasing Moscow’s leverage over European countries already heavily dependent on Russia and funding Putin’s regime and his cronies in the process,” Tiffany said.
“It’s time that the President reevaluate and reverse his anti-American energy policies that have been put in place over the past year. Doing so would reduce prices at the pump and restore American national security,” the congressman added.