Government excess blocks energy production | Columnists

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KENDALL COTTON


Have you filled up your car or truck recently? With gasoline reaching nearly $4 a gallon, 50% more than last year, paying for a full tank is getting downright painful. Overall, Montana residents are being hit hard by skyrocketing energy costs. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has only made matters worse for the global energy market.

In a rare show of bipartisan unity, Montana’s entire federal delegation to Congress, along with Governor Greg Gianforte, each recently called on President Biden to act quickly to increase national energy production.

Unleashing all types of American energy production to help reduce costs and preserve our country’s independence seems like a no-brainer. But prioritizing home power generation will require a shift from politicians and groups that historically have been dedicated to increasing the size and scope of government.

Since his election, Biden has opened the floodgates on new regulations, repealing Trump-era orders for federal agencies to limit the growth of bureaucracy. The results are what you expect. Federal rule notices indicate that new regulations added by the Biden administration have burdened American businesses with 133 million additional hours of bureaucratic paperwork to process each year and imposed $190 billion in new regulatory costs on our economy.

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This tremendous growth in federal government bureaucracy has a direct cost to the US economy, particularly our ability to produce energy. For example, new guidelines issued last month by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) will require that “environmental justice” be considered when authorizing new natural gas projects, a measure that will certainly delay such proposals. . West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin said the new regulations would surely create “additional roadblocks that further delay the construction of energy infrastructure.”

Politicians have also wielded the immense power of the federal government to directly block national energy production. Probably the starkest example of this was Biden’s decision to terminate the Keystone XL pipeline on his first day in office, a project that would have shipped nearly 800,000 barrels of oil per day from Alberta through Montana. up the Gulf Coast of Texas and created hundreds of Montanas. jobs along the way.

We’ve heard from environmental activists that fossil fuel companies have plenty of room to produce more energy, they just don’t act. But these claims ring hollow because these same activists are constantly militarizing the justice system to block energy production. This month, we heard environmental groups cheer when a federal judge stripped hundreds of oil and gas leases, including many in Montana, because of their lawsuit claiming the Bureau of Land Management failed to do enough to prioritize sage-grouse habitat.

Some recent columnists have also suggested that we should prioritize green energy generation over fossil fuels. Even in this area, the government is constantly getting in the way. Despite innovations in nuclear and geothermal energy that offer the opportunity to increase clean and green baseload electricity generation, the onerous federal licensing process remains the biggest barrier to bringing these energy projects to market. . Even wind and solar projects have proven they are not immune to years-long environmental bureaucracy or the threat of opposition from contentious environmental groups.

The people of Montana know better than other states the abundant resources our land has to offer. We are nicknamed the treasure state after all. Not fully utilizing the treasure of our energy resources is costing us dearly. Unleashing US energy production will require a renewed commitment to downsizing the federal government.

Kendall Cotton is President and CEO of the Frontier Institute, a think tank dedicated to breaking down government barriers so all Montanans can prosper.


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