WHITBECK: While Russia Is Building Pipelines, Biden Is Stifling New Oil Production In Alaska

(Photo by Peter Klaunzer - Pool/Keystone via Getty Images)

Rick Whitbeck Contributor
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Anyone who turned on the news or opened a newspaper during the Trump presidency heard “Russia” on an unending loop. Americans were inundated with rumors and innuendo – many of which turned out false – about so-called connections between the 45th president and Russia at every turn, whether they liked it or not. The mainstream media just could not get enough.

For the first five months of the Biden administration, the media has focused its attention elsewhere: the “existential threat” of climate change, untold amounts of government spending and various other attempts by Biden and his team to shift American left-ward.

But with Wednesday’s meeting between Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva, Russia is back front and center.

For those of us in Alaska, it was once said we can see Russia from our house. While that line has become a joke, for those of us who care about energy jobs and domestic energy production, the early actions of the Biden administration are serious as a heart attack. The most significant action we have seen regarding Russia involves pipelines: canceling the one with our friends and enabling the construction of one by our foes.

Last month, the Biden administration decided against sanctioning the Russian company behind the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, claiming it would destabilize relations with Russia and the European countries that will receive fuel from the pipeline.

It’s indisputable that completing Nord Stream 2 will be a huge geopolitical victory for Putin. The ability to go straight to Germany further puts the squeeze on Ukraine, where gas currently must pass through to reach Western Europe. Barring further developments, the pipeline’s completion is slated for this summer.

Unfortunately, Biden’s fondness for pipelines doesn’t extend to domestic producers here at home. Last week, they put the nail in the coffin of the Keystone XL Pipeline, and here in Alaska they have shut down the opportunity for tens of billions of barrels of potential production from the 10-02 area in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and from on- and off-shore federal lands – although the latter’s ruling has been held up by a federal judge from Louisiana.

Russian pipelines that hurt our allies and help our enemies? Those are fine. The ones that allow us to become more energy independent and create good paying jobs? No way. If that doesn’t make a lot of sense to you, you’re not alone. And if that’s the early signs of Joe Biden’s plan to “build back better,” we’re in trouble.

Here in Alaska, ceding jobs, responsible development opportunities and export opportunities carry additional prominence in the Putin/Biden talks, as it has been made abundantly clear by our president that Alaska is certainly in the crosshairs of the battles between responsible development and eco-extremism.

From the aforementioned ANWR closure to assaults on domestic mining jobs, locking up the Tongass National Forest from responsible timber management and letting China and Russia get legs up on America when it comes to LNG exports, Alaska’s economy and future have been hit hard.

What happens in Washington, DC affects all of us – even all the way up here in the Last Frontier. Alaska has been a target of the environmental Left since before Joe Biden was elected, and will remain so long after his presidency. But Alaskans who are struggling now need Washington, D.C. to let markets, and not mandates, work.

Rick Whitbeck is the Alaska State Director for Power The Future, a nationwide non-profit focused on supporting energy workers, while pushing back on radical green groups and the ideologues who fund them. Contact him at Rick@PowerTheFuture.com.