Biden State of the Union missed mark on energy independence amid Russian war on Ukraine, critics say

Sen. Ernst blasts Biden for not speaking ‘one iota’ to US energy production

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) argues the U.S. should tap into domestic energy and says releasing oil from reserves won’t affect gas prices.

President Biden’s State of the Union speech included tough talk against Russia, a push for Congress to pass more of his economic policies and a call to fund police – but some critics are saying it didn’t focus nearly enough on energy independence. 

“Certainly not the right approach at this moment,” Rep. Tony Gonzales, R-Texas, said of Biden’s lack of comments on energy in the speech. “I’m all the above energy, philosophy… I’m okay using all these different things, but not at the expense of natural gas and oil.”

“These are things that are tangible today,” Gonzales added, underscoring the urgency o the Russian war on Ukraine. “People in Ukraine, they’re trying to live through today, not trying to, you know, 100 years from now change different things.”

President Joe Biden delivers his first State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress at the Capitol, Tuesday, March 1, 2022, in Washington. (Julia Nikhinson/Pool via AP) 

Biden mentioned energy sparingly in his speech Tuesday. He said he is releasing oil from the United States’ strategic oil reserves as a way to lower gas prices in the U.S. And he mentioned green energy and electric vehicles while discussing his “plan to fight inflation.” 

“Let’s provide investments and tax credits to weatherize your homes and businesses to be energy efficient and you get a tax credit,” Biden said, “Double America’s clean energy production in solar, wind, and so much more; lower the price of electric vehicles, saving you another $80 a month because you’ll never have to pay at the gas pump again.”

American Petroleum Institute president and CEO Mike Sommers said Biden’s green energy and electric car plan was not enough. He also emphasized that the U.S. oil industry is capable of stepping up its production quickly depending on the administration’s policies. 

“What we’ve actually seen going on in Europe is a demonstration of why we need to continue to invest in oil and gas here in the United States and really around the world,” Sommers said. “Being dependent on another country for your energy needs is not the way to provide for security for your people.” 

Oil wells outside of Williston, North Dakota, on August 24, 2021. The U.S. oil industry is producing approximately 1.5 million barrels per day less than it did at its pre-panedmic highs.  (Tyler Olson/FOX Business)
(Tyler Olson/FOX Business)

“Today we’re still about 1.5 million barrels a day off from where we were pre-pandemic, in terms of American oil supply. So we have the capacity to produce more,” Sommers added. “The missing link here is a stable policy that is that seeks to advance American energy leadership. And unfortunately, at this point, the administration has pursued policies that are actually meant to hamper American energy leadership.” 

The White House has pushed back against the idea that the best way to remove the United States and its partners from dependence on Russian oil is through producing more in the U.S. Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on ABC’s “This Week” that moving away from oil completely will solve that problem. 

Rep. Tony Gonzales, R-Texas, made the House Appropriations Committee. 
(Official Photo)

“I would also note that, on oil leases, what this actually justifies, in President Biden’s view, is the fact that we need to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, on oil in general,” she said. “We need to look at other ways of having energy in our country and others.”

But Gonzales said green energy is not going to successfully replace fossil fuels fast enough to protect against the threats the United States faces today. He panned the White House’s “utopian… 100-year-plan.” 

“Energy independence equals national security, not only for the United States, but globally,” he said. “The part that the President is missing is what are the emissions like in Kyiv? Pretty bad when there’s bombs dropping on your head.”

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