Former Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said, President Joe Biden’s decision to reverse a series of Trump administration energy policies have harmed American consumers amid the Ukraine crisis.
Fossil fuel industry groups and Republican lawmakers have repeatedly blamed the Biden administration for rising energy prices slamming consumers in recent weeks. Bernhardt, who led the Department of Interior (DOI) between 2019-2021, said Biden’s energy policies reflect activism rather than a coherent strategy to ensure low prices and sufficient supply for Americans.
According to Energy Information Administration data, the average price of gasoline ticked up again on Monday, with the average up to $4.19 per gallon. This uptick is keeping the price of gasoline near its all-time high of more than $4.30 per gallon set in April.
“As a candidate, President Biden was very, very clear that he had a different energy vision than the vision of energy independence, even energy dominance, that Trump had,” Bernhardt told the Daily Caller News Foundation (DCNF) in an interview.
Bernhardt continued, “President Biden campaigned with a very different vision. His vision, I think to say fairly, would be a vision of climate activism over energy independence or energy dominance.”
Bernhardt added, “Interior Secretary Deb Haaland has filled the DOI with some of the most activist folks that could have possibly been chosen. The agency is largely crafting energy policies based upon Biden’s directives.”
President Biden issued a series of climate-related executive orders shortly after taking office in January 2021. These orders canceled the Keystone XL pipeline permit as well as issuing a moratorium on new federal oil and gas leasing, following up on a campaign promise to ‘get rid of fossil fuels.'”
The Biden administration has yet to hold an onshore lease sale even after a federal court ruled the moratorium illegal.
Haaland revoked a dozen key Trum administration energy policies in compliance with Biden’s executive orders in an April 2021 secretarial order. The DOI’s American Energy Independence, Supporting and Improving the Federal Onshore Oil and gas Leasing Program and Federal Solid Mineral Leasing Program and Executive Committee for Expedited Permitting were among the policies reversed.
Haaland said at the time, “I’m hopeful that these steps will help make clear that we, as a Department, have a mandate to act.”
But Bernhardt pointed to both the lack of drilling and decline in applications for permits to drill (APD) issued by the Biden administration.
Bernhardt also told the DCNF in the interview, “If you look at the number of APDs issued in December 2020 and then compare that to December of 2021, you will see a nearly 80% reduction in APDs issued even though there were over 4,000 APD requests. And if you look at the length of time it currently takes to do the processing of APDs and let’s say you looked at it between fiscal year 2020 and fiscal year 2021, you will se a lengthening.”
The U.S. increased domestic oil production during the Trump administration from 8.9 million barrels of oil per day to nearly 13 million barrels of oil per day between 2016 to 2019, according to Energy Information Administration data. The nation became a net exporter of total energy in 2019, factoring in oil, coal and natural gas trade, for the first time in nearly eight decades.
Energy Information Administration is projecting that the U.S. will return to net oil importer status under the Biden administration in 2022, even though production has decreased since November to about 11.3 million barrels a day.
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