There is an army of Biden-appointed bureaucrats who are working to undermine American energy just as the White House tries to shift blame for a once-in-a-generation energy crisis.
Last week, the Biden administration delivered yet another blow to the millions of Americans struggling to deal with skyrocketing energy costs. In one fell swoop, the Interior Department announced the cancellation of federal leases for oil and natural gas production at Cook Inlet in Alaska and in the Gulf Coast. The Alaskan lease would have contributed to U.S. energy security for the next 40 years. This move follows a clear pattern for the Biden administration: stop energy production at home and beg for it abroad.
On Biden’s first day in office, he signed an executive order killing the Keystone XL pipeline and the jobs that would come with it. His administration then imposed a moratorium on all new oil and gas production on federal lands — all part of his broader effort with leftists in Congress to push his version of the Green New Deal through Congress. But when it comes to the prize for the most egregious attempt to block future American energy production, it should go to some of Biden’s least known, unelected bureaucrats.
Most Americans have not heard of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Tasked with approving energy infrastructure projects and ensuring reliable and affordable energy, this sleepy little commission has remained unmarred by politics for decades – until now. With a Democratic administration in power, majority control of the five-person commission swung to the left. In early 2022, Biden’s FERC Chairman Richard Glick and Democratic Commissioners Allison Clements and Willie Phillips were the culprits.
In February, by a three to two party line vote, FERC wrote a regulation that would have made building future natural gas pipelines and other related infrastructure almost impossible. The rule stated that natural gas companies looking to build would have to account for greenhouse gas emissions from all stages of natural gas production – from production upstream to consumption downstream.
This policy would make it basically impossible to build new pipelines. It would significantly raise energy costs for the American people. It would undermine our nation’s electric grid. And worst of all, it would jeopardize the reliability of the electricity and heat people depend on. The rule runs directly counter to FERC’s mission. Thankfully, it didn’t go unnoticed.
Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Joe Manchin immediately called a hearing to have the FERC commissioners explain themselves. He blasted the decision, calling it, “Just beyond the pale.”
Manchin rightly pointed out that FERC’s Democratic commissioners were trying to block American natural gas production at a time when the free world needs American natural gas more than ever. FERC’s power grab took place just six days before Russia officially began its invasion of Ukraine. That invasion was not a surprise, and the FERC commissioners certainly knew it was likely when they voted to hamstring future American natural gas production. Russia has shut off natural gas supply to our allies in Europe. Now our allies are looking to us for help meet their needs. That’s impossible without natural gas infrastructure.
The pushback from Manchin clearly had an impact. Just three weeks after the hearing, FERC voted to make their final rule a “draft” and said they were seeking more feedback. We shouldn’t be fooled into thinking it’s dead. Glick, Clements and Phillips are biding their time. It’s a safe bet that shortly after the last ballot is cast in November, FERC will resurrect its destructive anti-energy agenda.
Americans are standing up against FERC’s bureaucrats. So far, over 20,000 individuals have signed Power The Future’s petition to support Manchin in his efforts to keep FERC in line. That number will only grow as word continues to get out about what FERC is trying to do.
Biden’s unelected bureaucrats at FERC are a serious threat to America’s energy and national security. The president knows his green agenda cannot pass through Congress. He is looking to agencies like FERC to get it across the finish line. The American people can’t let that happen.
Larry Behrens is the Communications Director for Power The Future, a non-profit that advocates for America’s energy workers. You can find him on Twitter @larrybehrens or you can email him: firstname.lastname@example.org