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Biden Must Stop Choking US Economy

By George LandrithNewsMax.com

Then presidential candidate Joe Biden pledged repeatedly to “end fossil fuel.” And he ran as the most anti-energy candidate in our history.

Then once he was in office, he canceled the Keystone XL pipeline on his first day in office. He also canceled oil leases on millions of acres of land designated for energy exploration.

Biden even threatened energy companies with a windfall profits tax and compared them to war profiteers. As a result, U.S. consumers have suffered record high energy prices, and the high energy costs have also created an effective tax on business that slows growth.

The U.S. went from being the world’s No. 1 producer of energy to having to plead with foreign nations to increase its petroleum output. Likewise, Vladimir Putin’s Russia has profited handsomely from America’s energy retreat which has given him the resources to wage war in Ukraine and defy economic sanctions.

All of these policy missteps have combined to make Joe Biden look like a foolish ideologue.

The good news for Joe Biden is that he has a chance to begin to show that he’s not the foolish ideologue that he’s shown during the campaign and his first two years in office.

There is a possible major oil and gas project in the northeastern section of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska. It would produce 180,000 barrels of oil each day.

It is overwhelmingly supported by the Alaska Natives in the region who are highly dependent upon the surrounding wilderness for their hunting and cultural heritage. And the project, known as the Willow Project, has been considered by five different administrations, beginning with the Clinton administration in 1999.

President Clinton signed the lease on Alaska’s North Slope. Oil was discovered in 2017, and the Trump Administration approved the project. Environmental activists have slowed down the progress, and now Joe Biden has the opportunity to tell Americans that he’s not an extremist ideologue on something so fundamental to our nation’s economic recovery as energy.

A Biden administration Department of Interior study of the project released this past summer appeared to outline how to move forward with the project even though the study wasn’t a final approval. But it shows that even in the Biden administration, there are people who can see that moving forward with this project is good for America and for Alaska.

Interestingly, the opposition to the project comes mostly from environmental extremists located in the lower 48 states. Locals in Alaska strongly support the project and Alaska Natives are particularly supportive and believe that the project will help their communities with jobs and revenue while not endangering their environment and hunting grounds or the wildlife upon which so many of them depend and upon which their heritage is so deeply tied.

The problem is that delay can do real damage. As local Alaska Natives have pointed out, this construction will need to occur during the winter because the ground is frozen and thus can support the weight of machinery. Thus, waiting a month longer can effectively push the project back another year — even if it were to be approved later this Winter or early this Spring. So time is of the essence.

The Willow Project is based on following the best management and strictest environmental standards. It is entirely designed to minimize impact on the surrounding tundra and the local wildlife.

Other nations like Venezuela are far less environmentally responsible and their oil has a higher sulfur and other contaminant content. So the Willow Project will produce needed American energy but will also protect the environment.

If we are buying Willow oil, that means we won’t be buying oil from irresponsible and harmful sources. Likewise, it will help keep energy prices in a reasonable zone which will have the added benefit of giving Putin less extra cash to fund his adventurism and violence in Ukraine.

It is also worth noting that the Willow Project has broad support from Alaska North Slope communities — including the regional tribe and the regional Alaska Native interests who comprise more than 50% of the local residents. When the locals support the project and the opposition comes from well-healed professional activists who live thousands of miles away, that tells you something.

It would be a real shame to ignore the Alaska Natives in this case who overwhelmingly favor the Willow Project. The oil royalties will provide local communities with the funding needed to improve their schools, fund their hospitals and promote economic opportunity for a depressed area.

The Biden administration needs to approve this project and it needs to do it now. Waiting even a few weeks, effectively puts the project off for another full year.

President Biden pledged that he would consider Native American’s requests and perspectives and keep them on an equal footing with others. Here is Biden’s chance to make good on that promise.

But he cannot drag his feet or delay. Time truly is of the essence.

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George Landrith is the President and CEO of Frontiers of Freedom, a public policy think tank devoted to promoting a strong national defense, free markets, individual liberty and constitutionally limited government. To learn more about Frontiers of Freedom, visit www.ff.org. Read George Landrith’s Reports — More Here.

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