The Biden administration disavows any responsibility for record-high gasoline prices, but the American Energy Alliance (AEA) has published “100 Ways Biden and the Democrats Have Made it Harder to Produce Oil and Gas.” It’s noteworthy that nearly a third of these actions have taken place since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February, refuting the administration’s claim that the near-$5.00-a-gallon gas Kansans are paying is due to “Putin’s Price Hike.”
Kansans aren’t just paying more at the pump; the Biden’s actions also hurt a vital part of the state’s overall economy. According to 2021 statistics, Kansas ranks 8th nationally in oil production with nearly 28 million barrels yearly and 14th in natural gas output with almost 154 million mcf (1000 cubic feet). Nearly 50,000 residents make their living supplying the state’s energy needs.
Some of the 100 actions cited by AEA are symbolic indicators, like hiring a prominent environmental justice proponent to advance its radical Green New Deal social justice agenda at the Environmental Protection Agency. But many have a direct and immediate impact on fossil fuel production.
On his first day in office, for example, the AEA report says Biden:
- Canceled the Keystone Pipeline.
- Issued moratoria on leases to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, public lands, and offshore waters.
- Restored and expanded the use of the government-created social cost of carbon metric to artificially increase the regulatory costs of energy production of fossil fuels when performing analyses, as well as artificially increase the so-called “benefits” of decreasing production.
Other actions cited by the AEA report include:
- Issuing the U.S. International Climate Finance Plan to funnel international financing toward green industries and away from oil and gas
- New U.S. Department of Energy regulations on commercial buildings
- An executive order on Climate-Related Financial Risk artificially increases regulatory burdens on the oil and gas industry by increasing the “risk” the federal government undertakes in doing business with them.
- Proposals to raise taxes on oil, methane, and natural producers
It’s that last point, increased taxes in the as-yet-to-be-passed “Build Back Better” bill, that is touted as “ending subsidies for oil and gas” by supporters. In an interview earlier this year with The Sentinel, Ed Cross, president of the Kansas Independent Oil and Gas Association, says the “subsidy” is, in fact, a tax benefit available to other industries, similar to equipment depreciation, and mainly benefits small producers:
“Percentage depletion has been in the tax code since 1926, and it’s limited to the first 1,000 barrels per day of production.
“So it’s only the small producers that get that, and it’s limited to the net income of every property. So it’s only for small wells.”
So-called “Clean Energy” alternatives aren’t under the same tax and regulatory assault as their traditional counterparts. In Kansas, wind farms receive a 10-year property tax exemption. And the Johnson County Commission recently eased restrictions on solar farms, ignoring its own Planning and Zoning staff recommendations. Solar farms can now be two acres in area, 1.5 miles from a city limit, and enjoy a 25-year term limit for permits.
In a prepared statement, Cross said the pain at the pump is also a national security issue:
“U.S. energy policies that restrict domestic production force our country to seek relief from foreign suppliers of energy, undermining our energy independence. The problem is that when certain foreign governments control your energy, they have the power to use it for their own purposes, not yours. America should not be in the position of asking for foreign energy supplies, especially when we have abundant resources produced to standards that are among the highest in the world, right here at home.
“Instead, we should be leading. Energy should be a bipartisan priority. Nothing is more essential to economic growth than reliable, affordable, and abundant energy. To lose that advantage is not in anybody’s best interest.”