Biden signed new executive actions to eliminate federal subsidies for oil and other fossil fuels and halt new oil and gas leases on federal lands and waters. His Wednesday action also commits to conserving at least 30 percent of federal lands and waters by 2030 and to double renewable energy production from wind by 2030.
“It’s a full-out assault on the oil and gas industry — on the 10 million people in the United States who work in the industry [and] the 2 million Texans,” GOP Rep. August Pfluger told Fox News.
Previously, Biden said he’d replace the federal government’s roughly 645,000 vehicles with an all-electric federal vehicle fleet. And on his first day in office, Biden revoked the approval of the Keystone XL oil and gas pipeline project on environmental grounds and committed to rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement aimed at reducing global greenhouse gas emissions.
Pfluger is an Air Force veteran and was a national security adviser to former President Trump. His Texas district includes the oil-producing Permian Basin. He blasted Biden’s “gross overreach” from the Oval Office to issue orders that will cost jobs, raise energy prices and take a big step backward on American energy independence.
“Energy security equals national security,” Pfluger said. “This is weakening our national security. I mean for the first time in decades, we were energy independent at the end of 2019, beginning of 2020. And when you export more than you import and you’re not dependent on foreign countries for your own energy needs, that’s a lever of national security.”
GOP Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., said “in less than a week” the Biden Administration has risked America’s standing as a world leader in energy production and a major exporter of oil and natural gas.
“Threatening the livelihood of millions of hard-working families during a global pandemic is beyond destructive, and instead of caving to his radical base, President Biden should consider the devastating consequences that eliminating American energy will have on hard-working families and our national security,” Scalise said.
Rep. Liz Cheney and Sen. John Barrasso, both Wyoming Republicans, blasted Biden’s moratorium on new oil and gas leasing and permitting on federal land as a blow to the Wyoming economy and to national security.
Barrasso also grilled Jennifer Granholm, Biden’s Energy Secretary nominee, during her confirmation hearing Wednesday.
“The last Democratic administration went on a regulatory rampage to slow or stop energy production,” Barrasso said. “I’m not going to sit idly by … while the Biden administration enforces policies that threaten Wyoming’s economy and the life bloods of so many people in my state.”
He asked Granholm whether she stands by her past statement to do everything possible to “keep fossil fuels in the ground.”
Granholm stressed the importance of developing technologies to make fossil fuels cleaner and to reduce greenhouse gases, like carbon capture sequestration.
“If we’re going to get to net carbon zero emissions by 2050, we cannot do it without coal, oil, and gas being part of the mix,” Granholm added.
Granholm and the Biden Administration said they are committed to making sure that good-paying jobs are headed to each state and that no worker gets left behind during the transition to more renewable energy sources.
In rolling out the executive actions, the Biden Administration said the U.S. cannot wait any longer to tackle the climate crisis and made the case the transition to renewable energies and cleaner technologies will bring new job opportunities too.
White House domestic climate advisor Gina McCarthy said the Biden Administration envisions investment in communities so “we can get people understanding that we are not trying to take away jobs. Remember when we say climate change, eventually people are going to think jobs.”
Biden Wednesday also stressed the jobs theme at the White House.
“Today is climate day at the White House, which means today is jobs day at the White House,” Biden said Wednesday before signing the executive actions.
“In my view, we’ve already waited too long to deal with this climate crisis and we can’t wait any longer. It is time to act,” Biden said. “Just like we need a unified national response to COVID-19, we desperately need a unified national response to the climate crisis, because there is a climate crisis.”
But Texas’s Pfluger said Biden’s actions don’t take into account the immediate impact of job losses from the canceling of the Keystone XL pipeline and state government services that are funded through oil and gas revenues, especially in New Mexico.
“They said they were going to do it,” Pfluger said of the Biden team. “And they have not come out with a slow approach. It has been an overwhelming assault on our energy industry, which is an assault on national security.”
Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report.