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Louisiana is known far and wide for our famed southern hospitality, rich cultural history, and bustling culinary scene. Our music, outdoors and wildlife are unmatched in America. But none of these are as important as the role our Bayou State plays in powering the USA.
Louisiana accounts for nearly one-fifth of the nation’s refining capacity and can process about 3.2 million barrels of crude oil per day. We have the third-highest natural gas production and reserves among the states. Our port in New Orleans is the third-largest U.S. coal exporting port in America. And we consistently rank among the top states in both crude oil reserves and crude oil production.
What’s more: Louisiana is home to two of the four storage sites of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), an emergency stockpile of petroleum maintained by the United States Department of Energy.
According to the federal government, the SPR is an “emergency response tool to protect Americans from energy supply disruptions.” The intent is to tap the SPR during times of war or after natural disasters have jeopardized domestic production. With Hurricane Season beginning this week, folks along the Gulf Coast are ever mindful of the SPR’s importance. Unfortunately, Joe Biden does not care as he has been draining it in a failed attempt to protect his Democrat party from political collapse; and the American consumers are paying the price for this avoidable travesty.
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Put simply: the SPR is a catastrophic health insurance plan. Used properly, it can be an affordable way to protect our nation’s energy supply from worst-case scenarios. Another way to look at it is like a savings account. Selling off the SPR is akin to liquidating the 401K instead of going to work – able-bodied people cashing in their savings rather than making an income. The market understands this basic flaw of Biden’s policy; and, as such, his depleting the SPR has not slowed the pain at the pump.
Since Biden first tapped the SPR in late November, the average retail price of regular gas has jumped $1.30 per gallon. While the Biden administration has blamed Putin and everything but the kitchen sink for this whopping 38% increase, too many of our neighbors have been forced to choose between fueling up their cars or feeding their families. Nonetheless, that has not deterred Biden from continuing this disastrous policy.
Neither has reports that Europe refiners benefit from U.S. emergency oil stock releases. Your eyes are not deceiving you. Reuters has reported that “at least three vessels carrying crude oil from U.S. emergency stockpiles sailed for Europe in April.” In dropping our SPR to its lowest levels since 1987, Biden has sent America’s emergency supply overseas.
This should be shocking, front page headlines; but as someone who has closely followed the White House’s energy policy, it does not surprise me. Within days of taking office, Biden used his pen to halt federal lease-sales and obstruct permitting authority. He revived with vengeance failed Obama-era schemes designed to kill American energy like the Social Cost of Carbon and the Clean Power Plan.
For the first time in my lifetime, American energy’s biggest threat is not a Russian oligarch or a Middle East sheik or a failed South American petro-state. Rather, it is the deliberative sabotage of our own commander in chief.
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You do not have to take the “Drilling=Jobs” guy’s word for it; you can read the president’s own praise of record-high gas prices. After his recent meeting with Japan’s prime minister, Biden gushed: “When it comes to the gas prices, we’re going through an incredible transition that is taking place that, God willing, when it’s over, we’ll be stronger and the world will be stronger and less reliant on fossil fuels when this is over.”
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It is no wonder Biden has eliminated American energy independence and increased reliance on hostile nations like Iran and Venezuela. The time for a real strategy is now. We must end Biden’s sabotage of American energy independence and fully open up domestic production – especially in the Gulf of Mexico.
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