WASHINGTON, D.C.—House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) penned an op-ed for The Advocate highlighting how President Biden’s executive order banning new oil and gas exploration on federal lands and waters will have devastating consequences for Louisiana. Whip Scalise called on President Biden to support American energy independence instead of attacking the livelihoods of the millions of Americans who depend on affordable energy and the thousands of men and women who go to work each and every day to strengthen America’s energy security.
Click here or read below for the full op-ed.
President Joe Biden pledged unity during his inaugural address, yet he’s wasting no time caving to the destructive demands of his far-left base by taking aim at America’s energy sector. The problem is, this is no longer a campaign, and his decisions now have very real and devastating consequences on families and communities all across our country — especially here in Louisiana.
Last week, Biden signed an executive order to ban new oil and gas leasing on federal lands and waters. This ban will have a real-world impact on American families and workers, and we all ought to be outraged. The last thing we need in the middle of a global pandemic is more unemployed Americans and higher energy costs for families who are already struggling.
Opposition to Biden’s leasing ban is bipartisan. A group of House Democrats sent a letter to Biden opposing the plan which they cite would “imperil hundreds of thousands of jobs, entire communities, and billions of dollars in royalty revenues.” Similar restrictive policies during the Obama administration resulted in gas prices higher than $4 per gallon, utility bills that skyrocketed, and thousands of jobs lost, and Louisianans haven’t forgotten that.
In Louisiana alone, the offshore drilling industry supports 94,000 jobs. Under the Biden plan, Louisiana could lose 34,000 of those jobs within 10 years. Our friends and neighbors rely upon these jobs to live and to support their families. Nearly 20% of our nation’s domestically produced oil and natural gas comes from the Gulf of Mexico, and the majority of that energy is produced off the coast of Louisiana. Furthermore, Louisiana’s own Port Fourchon is America’s busiest intermodal energy port and services over 90% of our nation’s offshore energy exploration and production. The Biden plan will wreak havoc on workers and families in Louisiana.
Also, those of us in Louisiana know that energy production and conservation efforts are not mutually exclusive. In fact, they go hand-in-hand. Under an oil and gas revenue-sharing agreement, hundreds of millions of dollars go to rebuilding our state’s vanishing coastline and funding critical hurricane protection projects. Biden’s plan will decimate this critical source of revenue, which means our local communities will experience more coastal flooding from future storms. School systems will have less revenue to educate children.
By heavily restricting American energy exploration and production, Biden will ship millions of jobs from energy-producing states like Louisiana to Middle Eastern countries and adversaries like Russia, who emit carbon at dramatically higher rates than us. Also, countries that produce their own energy are less vulnerable to rogue foreign nations and their manipulation of our energy needs.
It should also not be lost on any of us that John Kerry, Biden’s “climate czar,” wants to raise energy costs on every middle-class American and make you change your lifestyle, all while it was just revealed that he flies around the globe on private jets that emit 40 times more carbon per person than commercial airliners. This phony “do as I say, not as I do” hypocrisy will give little solace to the hundreds of thousands of hard-working families who are about to see their livelihoods destroyed, all in the name of saving the planet, when in fact this dictatorial action will result in an increase in global carbon emissions since these jobs will go to countries that don’t share our strong environmental standards.
Were these actions not so devastating, this hypocrisy would be laughable.
Instead of attacking our livelihoods, raising energy costs on families and small businesses, and jeopardizing America’s energy security, Biden should try to strengthen America’s energy security, reduce energy costs for families, and not make us more dependent on foreign oil. I have called on Biden to reverse these decisions, and to get serious about supporting American energy independence. I hope he will listen to the millions of middle-class Americans who depend on affordable American energy and the hundreds of thousands of men and women who go to work each and every day to strengthen America’s energy security.