America Needs a Resilient Energy Supply Chain


Rep. Adrian Smith

By Rep. Adrian Smith

With the summer growing and travel season upon us, the cost of energy is top-of-mind for many. Unfortunately, the Biden administration continues to barrel down a dead end of poorly considered energy policy. Since President Biden took office, the Consumer Price Index shows prices have skyrocketed and stayed high as gasoline prices are up 55.5 percent, airfare is up 38.2 percent, and electricity is up 28.5 percent. It’s clear the president’s attempts to pick and choose industry winners and losers and spend his way out of the economic challenges he has created have only added fuel to the fire of inflation and made American consumers and industry more dependent on our global adversaries.

Last month, under pressure from a bipartisan congressional coalition to support relief at the fuel pump, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finally granted an emergency waiver to allow E15 sales this summer. While I appreciate the EPA’s announcement, ongoing emergency waivers are not a long-term solution. Restrictions on E15 are outdated and backwards, and President Biden has no good reason to withhold support for year-round E15. I will continue working to advance my bill, the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act, to provide long-term certainty for producers by authorizing permanent, year-round access to E15.

President Biden’s decisions to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline, cancel all federal petroleum drilling lease sales, undermine electric grid reliability through crushing power plant rules, and inexplicably cut off liquid natural gas exports have disadvantaged consumers and hampered productivity across industries. To make matters worse, the administration has also failed to champion market access for American producers. Meanwhile the administration has neglected to enforce sanctions on Iran’s oil industry and the rogue state’s oil exports has hit a six-year high. This is bad for American workers, our economic growth, and our allies.

Recently the White House exposed glaring problems with its own electric vehicle (EV) mandate as it relaxed rules governing the sourcing of critical minerals, many of which are mined in China, further opening up a tax credit to Chinese automakers. The U.S. continues to lose ground to China as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) pours resources into maintaining dominance over well over half the world’s market for critical minerals necessary for EV batteries such as graphite, nickel, cobalt, and lithium.

There is no excuse for this. We have domestic sources to mine many of these same minerals more cleanly than China if we encourage their development. On April 17, I supported passage of legislation in the Ways and Means Committee to close the tax credit loophole favoring Chinese manufacturers.

Simultaneously, the administration has imposed tariffs on China-made EVs. This illustrates how unfeasible Biden’s EV mandate is. Mandating consumer adoption of a product suffering supply chain problems while artificially tamping down supply is a recipe to inflate prices on EVs—already a prohibitively expensive option for many Americans.

While the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) remains at record lows, this week the administration took action to close the Northeast Gasoline Supply Reserve and sell its one million barrels of fuel rather than resupply the SPR. It seems obvious to say, but the SPR cannot be tapped without putting taxpayers on the hook to refill it and maintain a national security liability. Instead of borrowing from tomorrow to save his own hide today, President Biden should admit his energy policy is driving up prices.

Pres. Biden is waging a war on affordable energy, and hard-working Americans are the casualties. In light of the supply chain vulnerabilities highlighted by the COVID pandemic, we need a flexible, all-of-the-above strategy to achieve and maintain energy resilience, keep costs under control, and boost domestic production.

This includes rolling back policies harmful to American consumers like electric vehicle mandates and restricting petroleum production while draining the SPR, engaging with willing partners around the world to reduce trade barriers through enforceable trade agreements, and confronting price distortion caused by the CCP across all industries.