Biden Is Waging Total War against American Energy
Energy secretary Jennifer Granholm, the laughing face of Joe Biden's not-so-funny energy policy, told CNN's Dana Bash on Sunday that Americans' home-heating costs are going up this winter. Interviewed on Bloomberg Radio a few days earlier, a question implying that she, the secretary of energy, might possibly have some ideas about fixing soaring gas prices had Granholm in stitches. "Would that I had the magic wand on this," she said, once she finished laughing. You see, Dana, oil is controlled by a cartel called OPEC, and where else can we get it?
We can be grateful Granholm doesn't have a magic wand: just imagine the additional nightmares she would conjure. Still, there had to be some magic — black magic, that is — in how team Biden changed us, practically overnight, from a net energy exporter before January 20 to an energy orphan today pathetically begging OPEC for "more oil, please."
Of course, our current skyrocketing fuel prices aren't OPEC's fault, because they're the direct result of deliberate Biden actions meant to reverse Donald Trump's triumphant achievement of American energy independence. On Biden's first day in office, he killed the Keystone XL Pipeline, then later banned oil exploration on federal lands. Then he picked as energy secretary a woman who admitted in 2016 that the real goal of climate activists is to do "everything possible to keep fossil-fuel energy in the ground."
Last week, Biden was in Glasgow confessing America's climate crimes. Then, as soon as he got back, he launched a new attack, this one on Line 5, a critical fuel pipeline that runs 645 miles from Superior, Wisconsin through Michigan to its terminus in Sarnia, Ontario. Since 1953, Line 5 (built to last by the company that put up the Hoover Dam) has been safely transporting 540,000 barrels per day of light crude and natural gas liquids to refineries in the Midwest and Ontario — refineries that employ thousands of workers, producing gasoline, propane, jet fuel, and other petroleum products vital to heat the homes and power the economies of Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, along with providing "nearly half of the oil needs of both Ontario and Quebec."
But climate fanatics hate Line 5 because it includes a single four-mile section that runs beneath the Straits of Mackinac between Michigan's Upper and Lower Peninsulas. There has never been a Line 5 leak, let alone a catastrophic one. Nor is there any evidence of poor maintenance or a recently developed weakness, and Enbridge, the line's Canadian owners, are in full compliance with governing federal law. But climate activists have convinced themselves Line 5 is an imminent ecological time bomb, and every year, anxious college kids trudge door-to-door with petitions to shut Line 5 down before it's too late, and the Great Lakes have been reduced to 94,000 square miles of steaming tar pits. Governor Gretchen Whitmer, along with her radical pit bull, Attorney General Dana Nessel (the most dangerous Democrat in Michigan), campaigned on shutting down Line 5. Since taking office, they have waged non-stop lawfare against Enbridge, so far without success. In fact, there's a treaty with Canada, ratified by Congress, making the United States — not Michigan — legally bound to keep the line running, which may be why the Biden administration is now sticking its beak in. According to federal court filings, a shutdown of Line 5 will be a "'massive and potentially permanent' blow to Canada's economy and energy security." Our relations with Canada are already strained thanks to Biden's senseless halting of the Keystone Pipeline.
But safe record aside, Enbridge decided to further reduce potential risk from Line 5 to near zero and made an agreement with Michigan in 2018 (before Whitmer became governor) to construct, at Enbridge's own expense, a $500-million tunnel that replaces the existing pipeline with a 21-foot diameter tunnel bored through solid rock, 100 feet beneath the lake bed, encasing the new pipelines completely.
It goes without saying the implacable left are fighting the tunnel project, too.
Whitmer's insistence that Line 5 poses "an unacceptable risk of a catastrophic oil spill in the Great Lakes that could devastate our economy and way of life" is unsupported speculation. But it's a certainty that a permanent shutdown of Line 5 guarantees catastrophic economic, social, and infrastructure damage to the entire region. Without Line 5, 45% of the region's current fuel supply drops to 0%, causing an immediate shortage of 14.7 million gallons of gas, diesel, and jet fuel. Michigan's Upper Peninsula would lose 65% of its fuel supply, and the rest of the state will drop by 55%. In northern Wisconsin, 27% of Congressman Tom Tiffany's constituents heat their homes with propane, and they've already watched the price of propane more than double – from $.80 per gallon in August 2020 to over $2.00 per gallon now. What will choking off 540,000 barrels per day mean for these households? Or the potential loss of 33,000 jobs, and "at least $20.8 billion in economic losses in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Pennsylvania"?
Nor would closing Line 5 satisfy the true believers, because it's not really pipelines they hate, anyhow; it's the demon stuff that goes through them. They're not outraged because there's a chance of a catastrophic oil spill. They're outraged that there's oil anywhere.
That's why on Monday, as reported in Law360 (subscription only), "the Biden administration ... proposed suspending a 2020 rule that allows liquefied natural gas to be transported by rail in bulk" — a rule "intended to help handle the country's increased production of natural gas, and to comply with former President Donald Trump's order to promote energy and the economy." The administration claims that "environmental risks" were overlooked that, naturally, now demand further study. But clearly, the rule change is a pretext to throw yet one more obstacle between fossil fuel–producers and their markets in the hopes of driving them under.
Petrophobia is behind Biden's choice of Soviet-trained Saule Omarova for comptroller. Omarova's big idea is to "starve" companies of money to invest in oil and gas producers because we need producers "to go bankrupt if we want to tackle climate change."
The undying shame of this pathological loathing for fossil fuels is that America is sitting on a superabundance of it, and we were finding more all the time, or we were till the Democrats took over. Now it's like the seventies all over, only worse, because back then the supply problems really were the fault of foreign adversaries. Now we're doing it to ourselves. As Victor Davis Hanson puts it, "we have suffered plenty of fossil fuel scarcities due to war, embargoes, and declining reserves. But never has America deliberately created shortages amid a sea of our own gas and oil." Never, until now.
Fossil fuel isn't just a gooey hazard useful only for powering gas-guzzling SUVs (or private jets): it's the lifeblood of the industrialized world. Without its applied usefulness, our typical day would be unrecognizable, and the modern world unimaginable, and the world's population dramatically smaller. Every thoughtless repetition that windmills or solar panels are "alternatives" to fossil fuel is a fresh insult to our intelligence. Every reckless decision to dismantle the nation's fossil-fuel infrastructure, in reliance on the figment of "alternative sources," makes the slope we're all descending on just that much steeper.
T.R. Clancy looks at the world from Dearborn, Michigan. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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