Biden's Interior pick moves to undo American energy dominance

(AP Photo/Russell Contreras, File)

Despite having pledged to take a balanced approach to energy issues during her confirmation hearings, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland made some of the worst predictions by Republicans about actions on such matters come true yesterday. Haaland revoked a dozen different energy policy orders put in place during the Trump administration, announcing that her priorities would be to address climate change and shift to “the green energy potential” of public lands, assuming any energy is to be produced at all. These moves not only fly in the face of many promises that Joe Biden made on the campaign trail, but also undermine statements that Haaland herself made this year when trying to tunnel her way through the confirmation process. Of course, absolutely nobody who has been paying attention will be surprised by these developments as they were all predicted by energy hawks who were familiar with the Secretary’s background. (Associated Press)

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland on Friday revoked a series of Trump administration orders that promoted fossil fuel development on public lands and waters, and issued a separate directive that prioritizes climate change in agency decisions.

The moves are part of a government-wide effort by the Biden administration to address climate change ahead of a virtual global summit on climate change that President Joe Biden is hosting next week.

“From day one, President Biden was clear that we must take a whole-of-government approach to tackle the climate crisis, strengthen the economy and address environmental justice,” Haaland said in a statement. The new orders will “make our communities more resilient to climate change and … help lead the transition to a clean energy economy,″ she added.

Just as a reminder of the verbal gymnastics Haalend engaged in to worm her way into this position, let’s return for a moment to her opening statement during her confirmation hearings. She said, without any apparent irony, “As I’ve learned in this role, there’s no question that fossil energy does and will continue to play a major role in America for years to come. I know how important oil and gas revenues are to fund critical services.”

Well, so much for that. I’ve grown far too jaded over decades of observing American politics to be shocked to see a politician lying, but this is pretty egregious. It’s being made clear that Haaland’s first (and probably only) priority will be satisfying the Green New Deal people when setting energy policy at the Interior Department. Drilling permits for both public lands and offshore deposits will soon become rarer than honest politicians. If you’re from an energy-producing state and you voted for Joe Biden, I really don’t know what to tell you if you have the nerve to act surprised now.

You’ll recall that during the final stages of the 2020 presidential election, Joe Biden falsely told voters in Pennsylvania that he never said he wanted to ban fracking. But even Newsweek was forced to admit that Biden absolutely did say that with no ambiguity whatsoever. (Biden’s team later sent out an aide to “clarify the confusion” over his remarks, setting a pattern that continues to this day, with most of the press playing along with it.)

During Donald Trump’s presidency, America went from being beholden to foreign (and often hostile) nations to meet our energy needs to hold a position as a dominant global force in energy production. In 2019 and 2020 the country cemented its position as a net exporter of energy in the oil and gas sector. Plentiful supplies from our refineries drove gas prices down for extended periods of time. Vastly increased production of clean-burning natural gas resulted in cheaper home heating costs and steep reductions in coal production (which the green warriors should have been thrilled about but gave Trump no credit for) as coal-fired power plants converted over to cheaper and cleaner natural gas burners. It was one of the signature accomplishments of the Trump administration.

Yesterday’s announcements pretty much signal an end to all of that. Democrats are not only talking about jacking up the national gas tax, but the gas itself will become more expensive to begin with. Everyone with a job working on pipeline projects or in the industries that support such construction should probably learn to code or something. Joe Biden was blatantly dishonest about his energy policy plans while campaigning for office and his new top lieutenant on the climate-change front will now be clamping down on our ability to maintain our previous productivity levels.