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Presidential Priorities and America’s Energy Advantage

Americans need more energy, rather than less. The head of the Americal Petroleum Institute argues for a change in Biden’s priorities.

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As Americans reflect on Oval Office occupants this Presidents’ Day, it’s humbling to consider the challenges U.S. Presidents have faced and overcame. Abraham Lincoln held the nation together and brought an end to slavery in America. Franklin Roosevelt won World War II as the longest serving U.S. President. Ronald Reagan worked to end the Cold War.

President Biden is navigating instability around the world – in Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

Today’s challenges – like those throughout history – offer an opportunity to bring greater security to America and global markets, as previous presidents moved to do.

Energy policy is at the heart of that stability. America is blessed with abundant oil and natural gas resources and a skilled workforce, safety standards and environmental policies that enable energy to be made and moved safer and cleaner than most other nations.

While the administration has made moves to speed America’s inclusion of up-and-coming energy sources, geopolitical volatility reminds us that our security and prosperity today are built on what America already does well: reliable, affordable oil and natural gas.


Bipartisan moves to harness a lot more American energy, including from oil and natural gas, enjoy widespread support. Nearly 9 in 10 Americans want reliable U.S. energy and not foreign imports.

And today the U.S. is producing more oil than any nation in history. Oil and natural gas provided nearly 75% of our nation’s energy in 2022 and are projected to be America’s anchor energy sources for decades.

Yet the Biden administration has offered only 18 such leases, compared to 96 leases when President Biden served as vice president.

America and the world have a universal need for more energy – not less. Demand for oil and natural gas have hit record levels and is projected by the Biden administration to increase in the years ahead.

Against this backdrop is the fact that world population is expected to grow 20% by 2050.


Our energy future must be realistic. It’s inescapable that natural gas, for example, provides reliable fuel for generating electricity when wind and solar are unavailable. For intermittent energy sources to grow, they must have a partner. That’s natural gas.

For transportation, 98% of U.S. vehicles run on gasoline or diesel. Electric vehicle use is growing, but the numbers are miniscule compared to the conventional vehicle fleet. Trying to force Americans away from their vehicles of choice – EPA’s proposed tailpipe emissions rule amounts to a de facto ban on vehicles powered by gasoline and other liquid fuels – ignores reality and could harm millions of consumers.

It also dismisses the meaningful carbon emissions reductions that can be achieved more quickly and at potentially lower cost through proven and readily available liquid fuels and vehicle-based options.

Americans surely appreciate the practical balance of building a lower carbon future while maintaining the strong energy security that American oil and natural gas provide.

So how can President Biden and his team strike that balance?


They can start through more robust onshore and offshore leasing. Federal lands and waters have supplied upwards of one-quarter of our oil and natural gas in the past. High demand for both requires the administration to do more than it has done on resource access. The decisions today will impact energy production in the years ahead, so withholding leases today could lead to demand outstripping supply in the coming years.

The administration can also work with Congress to reform federal permitting processes for needed infrastructure. Not just for oil and natural gas, but also for carbon capture and hydrogen projects, as well as liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities.

Finally, yet no less importantly, President Biden can send a broad signal by acknowledging that America’s security hinges on access to more reliable, affordable energy, including more oil and natural gas. Sending a signal that investment in all forms of energy is needed for the U.S. to strengthen its hand for the future.

Such energy moves would enable President Biden to meet the moment and prepare for the challenges ahead. It would be an important shift to leverage America’s energy advantage.

This article was originally published by RealClearEnergy and made available via RealClearWire.

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President and CEO at | + posts

Mike Sommers is president and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute.

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