During his inaugural speech, President Biden called for unity. It was heartwarming to hear, and a much-needed call following the chaos of a few weeks ago. Yet, that very same day, his actions belied his rhetoric.
Far from unifying the country, President Biden immediately set about to appease fringe environmentalists who don’t represent the interests of the average American much less our western values. He re-entered the Paris Climate Accord, a job-killing agreement that harms American workers while failing to hold China accountable for the massive amounts of pollution it manufactures. He revoked the permit to build the Keystone XL pipeline, which hurts our relationship with Canada and cancels thousands of American construction, energy, and union jobs.
Unfortunately, since then he went even further. President Biden halted all new leasing of oil and gas on federal lands. This “Biden Ban” strikes at the heart of Montana and Wyoming jobs, families and communities.
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First and foremost, Biden’s actions violate existing laws. Federal statutes require federal agencies to take certain actions to ensure sustainable development of our shared natural resources.
This action will hurt every American and their pocketbooks — at the gas pumps, grocery stores and at home. Westerners who live in states with large swaths of federal land whose state budgets, schools, and rural economies are intrinsically tied to federal energy revenue will suffer the greatest. Resource development on federal land provides good-paying jobs, tax revenues for local communities and states, and cheaper energy for all Americans. An analysis by OnLocation found that a leasing and development ban would decimate our economy, costing potentially $700 billion in GDP and driving up energy costs for U.S. households by up to $19 billion over the next decade, and destroying up to a million jobs by 2022.
The impact that the Biden Ban will have on our skilled blue-collar workers cannot be ignored. These folks work hard every day to provide food and fuel for our nation and to provide for their families. An unfulfilled promise of jobs in some undetermined location won’t put food on the table or a roof over their families’ heads. To say that future employment in an unfamiliar field of work will be a viable replacement for the hundreds of folks now out of a job is unrealistic and frankly, quite out of touch.
This ban is even bad for the environment. America leads the world in innovative clean energy solutions and energy-related carbon emissions reduction. Since 2000, the U.S. has had the largest decline in emissions of any country over the same period. We did this while at the same time rising to become the world’s top energy producer. The Biden Ban would lower domestic oil and gas production, raise prices, and push development from federal lands to other countries without the same environmental standards or requirements. This will rob the U.S. of our energy independence and shift the advantage back to the Middle East and Russia. Our energy development on public lands also helps fund conservation efforts.
The Biden Ban hurts our rural communities already reeling from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. In Wyoming and Montana, we rely on tax revenue from energy production to help fund our schools, roads, hospitals, and other critical infrastructure. The price of this ban will be felt across our states. It is simply one the people of Wyoming and Montana cannot afford.
We came to Washington to serve the people of Wyoming and Montana, to fight for the issues that matter to them, and to defend our way of life. We are eager to work across the aisle on shared priorities, but we must also fight back against anyone putting special interests ahead of the needs of the people of our states. That’s why we introduced bills to authorize the Keystone XL pipeline and to ensure that federal lands should serve Americans and help drive our economic recovery. It would prohibit these reckless anti-energy actions by the Biden administration — or any administration for that matter. It would also ensure that our energy remains reliable, cheap, and secure.
America is a land of entrepreneurship and growth. We will continue to grow and consume energy. We would rather rely on American energy first, providing jobs for millions and cheap gas and electricity for all. That’s the kind of policy that can truly unite us.