On Friday, October 7, President Joe Biden visited the Volvo factory in Hagerstown, Maryland, where truck engines and parts are manufactured. He began his speech to the 1,700 factory workers by saying:
“Let me start with two words – Made in America.” (Yes, he said two!) Made in America is important to the country for our own prosperity as well as being politically advantageous to the commander in chief.
But let’s think about the oil and gas industry. According to the American Petroleum Institute, there are about 10.3 million workers in that field. From day one of his presidency, Joe Biden has targeted the fossil fuel industry with the cancellation of its projects, with difficulties in obtaining leases for drilling, and with endless regulations to hinder production.
Now, just a few weeks before the midterm elections, we are facing a shortage of oil and gasoline prices are on the rise again. We buy oil from other parts of the world, some hostile to our own way of life. Even Iran and Venezuela are on the list as existing or potential suppliers.
What happened to our Made in America ideal? If we need the oil, why buy from others when we have the option at home? What about our own workers? If the concern is global warming or climate change, how is this affected by trading our own production with that bought elsewhere? In fact, our own oil is considerably cleaner than that produced by most other countries, especially Venezuela.
Biden had previously requested a purchase from Saudi Arabia, but was turned down. Now last week, OPEC, largely run by the Saudis, has announced that they will cut production by two million barrels per day. Once again, OPEC dictates the world market price of oil. Two years ago, when we were a net exporter of petroleum products, we set global prices. President Biden says he is “disappointed” by OPEC’s cuts. But that shouldn’t be a surprise. They must think that if we want more oil, we must increase our own production. They look after their own interests. Why should they help us when the administration has said that fossil fuels – their lifeblood – are harmful to the environment and should be phased out? We lose the support of this former ally by these actions, while supporting their enemy – Iran – in our dubious efforts to limit its nuclear program.
Our European allies head into winter with a bleak outlook for heating fuel. The problem is exacerbated by the recent explosion at the Nord Stream1 pipeline, which brings natural gas from Russia to Europe. We have had the opportunity to supply liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Europe, but this has not been supported by the current administration. Now Europe is considering using coal where necessary to alleviate the gas shortage.
A major part of the administration’s policy is to exploit the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR.) This reserve is contained in underground caverns in Texas and Louisiana that have been leached or erupted from ancient salt domes. The capacity is 714 million barrels. Early in the Biden administration, they sold SPR product to other countries, including China. So, starting last March, we have continuously removed 180 million barrels from this reserve. Another 10 million barrels will be released in November. Reserves are now down to about 400 million barrels, the lowest level for the SPR since mid-1984. Some of the moves have been for additional sales to China, which is building its own strategic reserve while ours is being depleted. Our SPR was intended for emergency use, but it is now a political tool.
Biden is making good on his campaign promise to try to end this country’s use of fossil fuels. He is well on his way to fulfilling that promise. I really believe that the radical left in his party would like nothing better than to bankrupt this country’s oil companies. Made in America is great as long as it doesn’t involve our own oil production.
Peter Gilderson, Madison.