Portman, Colleagues Push for Expanded Domestic Energy Production in Letter to President Biden

March 4, 2022 | Press Releases

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) joined a group of Republican senators in sending a letter to President Biden calling on him to support American energy security by increasing domestic energy production in the face of Russian aggression in Ukraine. Earlier this week, Portman joined his colleagues in introducing the Ban Russian Energy Imports Act, which would prohibit the importation of Russian crude oil, petroleum, petroleum products, liquefied natural gas (LNG).  Energy security is national security, and Portman continues to believe the U.S. must take greater steps to reduce its reliance on foreign sources of energy and increase American energy production. In 2021, the United States imported an average of 670,000 barrels of oil and petroleum products per day from Russia.

“The world is in peril and we would like to work in a bipartisan manner to meet the challenges of our time,” wrote the senators. “In the area of energy independence, we have lost ground. Opening up American oil and gas deposits, and in particular approving the Keystone XL Pipeline, would benefit our allies suffering under Russian tyranny and American consumers facing steadily increasing prices at the pump.”

The senators highlighted that, while domestic oil production doubled in the last decade, President Biden has taken actions that have backpedaled America’s energy security. These actions include President Biden’s executive actions revoking the Presidential Permit needed for the Keystone XL Pipeline and restricting new oil and natural gas leasing on federal lands and waters.

“Through smart energy production, we can fulfill our energy needs while simultaneously exporting oil and gas to our allies,” wrote the senators. “Low carbon technologies are worth investing in; however, the reality of the moment is that America is increasingly reliant on imports of foreign oil. The spike in oil price is a result of Russia’s incursion into Ukraine, which benefits the Putin regime and hurts American consumers.”

“We urge you to lead the world in sanctioning Russia’s oil and gas sector, which makes up almost 40% of their revenue,” concluded the senators. “We must reverse course and hit Russia’s energy sector for Putin’s outrage against Ukraine and other atrocities. Further, we encourage you to reconsider the Keystone Pipeline and work with energy producers to responsibly increase oil and gas production at home. These actions will lessen the impact of increasing energy costs on American consumers and strike a blow against Putin.”

Joining Portman were Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Richard Burr (R-NC), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Tim Scott (R-SC), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Rick Scott (R-FL), Susan Collins (R-ME), John Hoeven (R-ND), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Mike Braun (R-IN), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Todd Young (R-IN), John Boozman (R-AR).

The full text of the letter can be found below or here.

Dear President Biden,

The world is in peril and we would like to work in a bipartisan manner to meet the challenges of our time. In the area of energy independence, we have lost ground. Opening up American oil and gas deposits, and in particular approving the Keystone XL Pipeline, would benefit our allies suffering under Russian tyranny and American consumers facing steadily increasing prices at the pump.

In the last decade, domestic oil production has doubled, putting the United States in a preferred energy positon by making us less dependent on foreign sources of oil. However, our position has recently deteriorated due to several actions you took:

On January 20, 2021, you signed an Executive Order (E.O.) revoking the 2019 permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline. The E.O. stated the Keystone XL Pipeline would not serve U.S. national interests and the significance of the proposed pipeline for our energy security and economy is limited. As a result of this action, American energy independence has been curtailed as well as depriving the U.S. and other markets of 830,000 barrels of oil per day flowing from a stable North American ally.

On January 27, 2021, you issued another E.O. directing the Secretary of the Interior to pause new oil and natural gas leases on public lands and offshore waters. This leasing pause coupled with other factors has resulted in the United States purchasing 500,000 barrels of Russian oil per day to meet our domestic needs.

Through smart energy production, we can fulfill our energy needs while simultaneously exporting oil and gas to our allies. Low carbon technologies are worth investing in; however, the reality of the moment is that America is increasingly reliant on imports of foreign oil. The spike in oil price is a result of Russia’s incursion into Ukraine, which benefits the Putin regime and hurts American consumers.

We urge you to lead the world in sanctioning Russia’s oil and gas sector, which makes up almost 40% of their revenue. We must reverse course and hit Russia’s energy sector for Putin’s outrage against Ukraine and other atrocities. Further, we encourage you to reconsider the Keystone Pipeline and work with energy producers to responsibly increase oil and gas production at home. These actions will lessen the impact of increasing energy costs on American consumers and strike a blow against Putin.

Sincerely,

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