The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

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By Pete Ricketts
Nebraska Governor 

An Energetic Response to Russia


Russia’s attack on Ukraine is an assault on freedom everywhere. 

As leader of the free world, the United States must issue a strong response that will isolate Russia – and the world must follow suit.  Direct oil and gas sanctions make it clear that the world will not tolerate global aggressors.  The Biden Administration can strengthen energy sanctions against Russia by revitalizing our domestic energy production to supply America and our allies.

Oil and gas exports are a key driver of Russia’s economy.  The country produces one in ten barrels of oil used worldwide.  It is also the world’s second-largest producer of natural gas, supplying 40% of the natural gas used in the European Union.  Putin has used Russia’s market dominance to threaten other nations to bend to his will.  And now, every dollar from these exports is fueling Putin’s deadly invasion of Ukraine.  Sanctions specifically targeting Russian oil and gas will cut off this vital flow of funding. 

The President must re-evaluate green policies that have made the U.S. more dependent on foreign oil and weakened our foothold as a global supplier.  During his first day in office, Biden canceled the presidential permit for the Keystone XL pipeline.  Keystone XL was a critical part of a diversified energy portfolio to ensure North American energy independence.  Failure to construct the pipeline has led to greater reliance on overseas energy sources.

A week into his presidency, Biden also halted oil and gas leases on public lands.  Nebraska joined a coalition of more than a dozen states in a lawsuit that successfully blocked the President’s ban.  While this legal victory protects U.S. energy production, the President has doubled down by delaying decisions on new oil and gas leases and permits. 

Even before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Biden’s weakened energy policies had caused gas prices to skyrocket.  Drivers are feeling the pain at the pump.  Americans are paying almost 50% more for gas now than they were in January 2021—with prices almost certain to continue rising. 

With record inflation and higher gas prices, President Biden could have resumed policies that produce a rounded-out energy portfolio.  Instead, President Biden unsuccessfully begged Russia and Iran to produce more oil earlier this year.  That was the President’s attempted solution…to ask our adversaries for more oil.

President Biden has also issued an executive order calling for “50 percent of all new passenger cars and light trucks” to be Electric Vehicles (EVs) by 2030.  The People’s Republic of China produces the vast majority of the rare earth minerals needed to manufacture EVs.  The President’s EV goal would make America more reliant on our nation’s biggest global competitor.  It would also be economically devastating to ethanol and oil-producing states, driving away investment in innovative technology such as carbon sequestration.  Liquid fuels—not EVs—remain the best way to keep U.S. energy secure.

Promoting biofuels should be a centerpiece of President Biden’s strategy to grow U.S. energy production.  Ethanol saves drivers money at the pump, reduces toxic emissions, and creates opportunities for farm families right here in Nebraska.  Advances in scientific research and technology are making biofuels more attractive than ever.  For example, the State of Nebraska has demonstrated that E30 fuel can be used in regular vehicles without reducing performance or requiring extra maintenance.  Technologies like carbon sequestration will allow ethanol-powered vehicles to achieve wheel-to-well emissions that are competitive with electric vehicles.  President Biden could direct his Environmental Protection Agency to allow the year-round use of higher ethanol blends to provide relief at the pump for Nebraska families and increase our supply of domestic fuels.

As a matter of national security, it’s important for President Biden to stand up to radical environmentalists and support energy production in America.  Instead, he’s caved to the extremist demands of environmentalists.  As Governor, I’ve been especially alarmed by Biden’s 30 x 30 plan.  A week after taking office, President Biden signed Executive Order 14008.  It set a goal “of conserving at least 30 percent of our lands and waters by 2030.”  This would put vast stretches of America off limits to productive use—and would further undermine domestic energy production.

The Biden-Harris Administration must not let environmental extremism get in the way of our ability to produce oil and gas at a rate that meets demand—in America and abroad.  The President can start by reinstating the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline.  He can recommit to policies that support cleaner burning, renewable fuels produced in America’s Heartland.  He can stop delaying oil and gas lease sales on federal land and stop the federal land grab undermining domestic energy production.

If you have questions about U.S. energy independence, or any other matter, you’re welcome to email me at [email protected] or call 402-471-2244. 


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