Biden Admin Energy Policies Putting Americans Further At Risk In Potential War With China, Analysis Finds

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America’s energy systems and infrastructure may be currently unprepared to sustain a wartime economy in the event of a hot war with China, thanks in part to the Biden administration’s green policies, according to a new report published by the Heritage Foundation.

The report, published Thursday and titled “Chinese Handcuffs: Don’t Allow the U.S. Military to Be Hooked on Green Energy from China,” examines the state of American energy security and resilience in a potential war with China, taking stock of markets at home and overseas. The paper emphasizes the need for American policymakers to get ahead of any possible conflict with China by ensuring that the U.S. military has a robust and secure supply of traditional energy available, rolling back certain environmental regulations and targets pushed by the Biden administration, building more strategic energy infrastructure and bolstering existing commercial relationships with friendly countries, all of which may heighten deterrence with an adversarial country considering escalation with the U.S.

“Due to a heavy reliance on foreign sources, poor policy choices, and constraints on the transport of fuels, the U.S. military could be vulnerable,” the report states. “The risk is for localized fuel shortages, global supply disruptions, and Chinese economic coercion during a conflict driving significantly increased energy demands.” (RELATED: ‘Make Their Lives Utterly Miserable’: Top US Commander Outlines ‘Hellscape’ Response If China Invades Taiwan)

Brent Sadler, the report’s author and a 26-year U.S. Navy veteran who now works as a senior research fellow for naval warfare and advanced technology at the Heritage Foundation, further emphasized that while steps to heighten America’s energy security will be expensive and require political will, they are necessary measures to ensure that the U.S. can transition to and sustain a wartime footing against near-peer competitors like China. Numerous pundits and ex-military personnel have suggested that China is getting ready for a war to start in the coming years, whether in Taiwan or in the South China Sea.

“America’s energy network is brittle in some regions and unable to adjust easily to surges in demand,” the report states. “In wartime, the consequences of such weaknesses could be an inability to sustain military combat operations and the inability of wartime industry to keep America safe. On the other hand, readiness for this possibility could be a significant advantage, enabling the United States to deter China by confronting it with a foe that is able to wage a prolonged war backed by a resilient wartime economy.”

The insistence of some federal and state officials — particularly Democrats — on transitioning the American economy to reliance on green energy poses a major problem for American security, the report asserts. Additionally, the environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) movement is undermining U.S. energy security by artificially sapping demand for new refining projects, even though demand for fossil fuels and petrochemicals remains strong and could grow stronger in the event of a prolonged military conflict. (RELATED: Biden’s Energy Secretary Supports Pentagon’s Plan For An ‘All-Electric Fleet’ By 2030)

The Biden administration has pledged to invest at least $1 trillion over the next decade to advance its massive climate agenda, and federal agencies have pushed stringent regulations and taken other bureaucratic actions targeting the broader American energy sector. The administration is also looking to make the military a more climate-friendly organization, including by seeking to have the Department of Defense (DOD) transition its non-tactical vehicle fleet to electric models by 2030.

Additionally, the supply chains for many of the green energy technologies favored by the Biden administration are dominated by China, the report points out. Numerous energy and national security experts have highlighted that retiring existing energy infrastructure in favor of products reliant on China-dominated supply chains is likely to make America more vulnerable, particularly in the event of an acute geopolitical crisis.

One specific element of the American energy system in need of change is the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), a de facto emergency supply of oil stored in underground caverns along the Gulf Coast established in the 1970s amid an energy crisis, according to the report. Sadler recommends that policymakers begin to treat the SPR as a key tool for the military to use in the event of war, given China’s rise, as well as improving energy transportation infrastructure to more easily get SPR supply to coastal regions where the military can use it expediently.

The Biden administration has used the SPR as a tool for manipulating markets, as officials decided to release approximately 180 million barrels from the stockpile to bring down spiking energy costs ahead of the 2022 midterm elections. Several million of those barrels were sold to Chinese entities, and the administration has subsequently floated the possibility of again tapping into the SPR ahead of the pivotal 2024 elections while the reserve remains at its lowest levels in about 40 years, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. (RELATED: ‘Playing Offense In Our Backyard’: With Biden’s Eyes Elsewhere, China Slowly Breaks US’ Grip Over Latin America)

Sadler calculated that the SPR’s current inventory would need a boost of about 55 million more barrels in order to single-handedly supply the amount of oil that U.S. forces used in Operation Desert Storm in 1990.

Deliberate policy choices and infrastructure upgrades are needed to make sure that the U.S. is able to effectively fight China in a prolonged conflict, Sadler contends in the report. Making these adjustments would help to provide an advantage over potential adversaries like China that rely on energy imports, according to Sadler.

Beyond SPR-related adjustments, the report also identifies an urgent need to unleash refiners and build out more pipeline capacity in light of China’s possible ability to launch highly disruptive cyber attacks against key pipeline and shipping infrastructure.

Additionally, Sadler emphasizes the importance of strengthening relationships with energy-rich countries that could be key sources of energy for American forces around the world in the event of a hot war with China. While several memoranda of understanding are in place with such countries, Sadler suggests that U.S. officials should move to elevate these agreements to treaty status to enhance America’s standing with those countries and decrease China’s ability to pressure third-party countries against assisting American forces.

“This is especially true for scenarios in which a major war disrupts overseas energy markets and normal shipping methods. Under such conditions, the U.S. will need more diverse and reliable overseas suppliers for military operations,” the report states. “Given the global impact that a war with China would have, the U.S. urgently needs to ensure that it has enough fuel stocks and crude oil to allow it time to adjust to a wartime footing.”

Neither the White House nor DOD responded immediately to requests for comment.

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