By former Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke
I have no doubt that we are all watching the events unfold in Ukraine with heartbreak and horror. And yet, we are seeing the inspirational courage of the Ukrainian people as they take up arms and fight for their families, liberty and their land.
The Biden Administration’s retreat and failure in Afghanistan coupled with their inability to deliver any meaningful deterrent to Putin’s onslaught over the past year has given the world a clear message: America under Biden will not or cannot protect and defend freedom. Our allies no longer trust us and our adversaries no longer fear us. Like negotiating with terrorist to rescue the abandoned Americans left in Afghanistan, the US and our allies are only able to caste ineffective sanctions in response. Why? An underlying reason is that Russian has an energy stranglehold on Europe that can be countered.
When I first campaigned for Congress one of the key parts of my platform was achieving American energy independence using all forms of energy. During my time in Congress, we made progress lifting the export ban on oil, and helped the Crow Nation develop their coal resources. But we were still lagging and decisive action at the Cabinet level was needed.
When I served as Secretary of the Interior, we were able to increase production from 8.3 millions barrels a day and declining to 12.5 million barrels a day, and gain the title of being world largest producer of energy. We also leased massive offshore wind projects and developed other renewables. The cost of gas was down to a couple of bucks and America was manufacturing things again. America’s energy dominance was achieved in just two years and we were able to do with record safety while reducing overall carbon emissions.
Nay-sayers claimed it was impossible to reach American energy independence. I’m happy to say we proved them wrong. And, more importantly, we proved to the American people that when the USA is free from excessive government regulation and adopts policies that allows energy innovation, we can serve the world with clean, affordable, and reliable energy.
American Energy Independence is important for three reasons:
- It’s better for the environment – It’s better to produce energy here in the USA under reasonable regulation than to produced it overseas with no regulation. American made energy is cleaner and more efficient than products produced in Russia, Africa, or the Middle East.
- It’s better for the economy – I don’t have to tell you the impact of high energy prices. You’re feeling it right now at the gas pump, the thermostat, and every time the electric bill comes. And if you’re a business owner, you see the costs to produce rising and your margins shrinking. Made in America products to address critical supply chain vulnerabilities rely on affordable energy to be globally competitive.
- It’s better for national security – When the USA is energy dominant, we are able to supply our allies with affordable energy and check our adversaries. More importantly, America does not have to deploy troops overseas and waste our treasure protecting foreign oil interests.
Watching the news the past few days of the Russian invasion of Ukraine not only breaks my heart but is also a reminder that NATO’s response and sanction options would be far different if Europe had an energy option from the US. Rather than build America energy capacity to support NATO and our allies, the Biden administration is instead canceling domestic oil and gas leases, canceling critical pipelines, penalizing fossil fuel investment, and begging Saudi Arabia to produce more. Nuts.
But we can fix it! We can easily get back to a position of peace through strength and American energy dominance by restoring the American First Policies to include:
- Approve and expedite construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline
- Lift the moratorium on oil and gas leasing on federal land and offshore
- Scrap the Green New Deal and put all forms of American-made energy on the same playing field.
- End imports of Russian oil and gas and Chinese-made solar panels and wind turbines
- Approve and expedite construction of LNG terminals and a supporting fleet of tankers
- Expedite the permit process for critical infrastructure
I’ll leave you with this: If it wasn’t fixable, I wouldn’t take it on. But we know it is. We know that energy was affordable, productivity was high, and the world was safer when we had a booming American energy industry. We did it once, and we can do it again.
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Ryan Zinke is the 52nd Secretary of the Interior and the key architect of the policy that made the USA energy independent for the first time since World War 2. He previously served as Montana’s congressman, 23 years as a US Navy SEAL, and is running for Congress in Montana’s new western congressional district.