The U.S. Needs An Energy Policy That Does Not Rely On Imported Oil
By Howard Cooper
The U.S. is in a precarious position: National security requires we have secure energy sources for the U.S., North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and our Asian allies. Yet, we cannot do so while undermining our democratic values, and we must plan for combating climate change at the same time.
In the next 20 years the U.S. will develop solar, wind, electric and nuclear to wean off oil and gas. In the short term we need to provide energy to our allies, so they are not reliant on Russia, Nigeria and other Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) members. The U.S. produces oil and gas cleaner than any country in the world. Let us do this, rather than importing oil and gas from countries that disregard national sovereignty and human rights and do not limit environmental damage.
The recent U.S. sanctions placed on Russia for attacking Ukraine proved the U.S. needs to produce the oil and gas we consume. Before the sanctions, the U.S. imported approximately 700,000 barrels of Russian oil a day. By eliminating Russian oil imports into the U.S., we stopped sending approximately $70 million a day in hard currency to Russia, used for the war in Ukraine. This was absolutely the right thing to do, but if we had not been dependent on Russian oil in the first place and had been taking full advantage of American reserves, the American consumer would not be paying the price for President Vladimir Putin’s aggression today.
American energy policy is riddled with inconsistencies hurting the American consumer, undermine democracy and humanitarian efforts abroad and ultimately disproportionally damage the environment. There is a divergence between U.S. national security, environmental interests and U.S. energy policy. Allow me to list a few examples.
A large amount of Russian oil is currently used by Californian refineries in Los Angeles, San Francisco and the Central Valley. At the same time, the city of Los Angeles recently banned the development of oil within its city limits, which currently has many producing wells. The result has been the U.S. purchased oil extracted in Russia with lax environmental regulations, burned fuel to transport it and then sent money to Russia every day to support an oppressive regime and the Ukrainian war while limiting our own production capacity. While these sanctions are in place, we need to increase our production capacity and plug the California refineries into U.S. petroleum production.
Conversely, we could be importing 800,000 barrels of oil per day from Canada through the Keystone Pipeline, offsetting the lost Russian imports. Unfortunately, the Biden administration shut down the Keystone Pipeline in favor of importing oil by ship from Russia, Nigeria and other OPEC countries. Transporting oil by tankers from foreign countries is decidedly more harmful to the environment than transporting it by regulated pipelines from Canada.
Recently, the Biden administration requested U.S. natural gas producers to redirect Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) from our Asian allies to our European allies. Our NATO partners need the imported LNG because of disruptions in supply from Russia caused by the Ukrainian conflict. Simultaneously, a Biden administration appointee at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) erected regulatory barriers essentially making it impossible for the U.S. to build any additional LNG export terminals.
Not only do we need to build more LNG facilities on our East Coast; we also need new LNG facilities on the West Coast to ship clean-burning natural gas to Asia. Countries like China could stop burning high-sulfur coal polluting the air indirectly in Oregon, Washington and California if they had access to American LNG. An even more immediate solution is for the U.S. to ship lower-sulfur coal from Wyoming to Asia, minimizing Asia’s use of polluting, high-sulfur coal while we build LNG facilities on the West Coast.
In the long term, completion of West Coast LNG facilities will enable the U.S. to export clean burning fuel to Asia, reducing pollution further and providing our Asian allies with secure energy supplies from the U.S. and not Russia. In the short term, the state of Washington needs to stop interfering with interstate commerce and allow Wyoming to export its low-sulfur coal to Asia.
Recently Oregon would not approve a 200-mile pipeline to carry clean-burning natural gas to its port city of Coos Bay, from which we could ship LNG to Asia. The result is China is burning more coal and polluting the world with high-sulfur emissions, damaging the environment in Oregon unnecessarily.
To summarize, the U.S. needs a unified energy policy consistent with our values which looks to the future. We must lift oil and gas exploration restrictions and develop infrastructure to produce petroleum resources in Colorado, Wyoming and Utah, and we need to export this oil and gas to Europe and Asia. The U.S. and Canada have the strictest oil and gas development regulations in the world because we care about the climate and our environment. Thus, by increasing our production, we would be limiting climate change during the period of transition to renewable energy sources. Furthermore, if the U.S. and Canada produce more oil and gas, they would limit support for energy exporters who undermine our values.
We must interrupt Russia’s control over European and Asian markets. By relying on oil and natural gas from Russia, the world has been helping fund Russia’s war with Ukraine, its anti-democratic sentiments, and its poorly regulated and disproportionately harmful oil and gas extraction methods. By increasing domestic oil and gas production, building out infrastructure and freeing imports from Canada, we will strengthen our national security policy, consume cleaner fuel, and support a safer, more democratic world order.
Howard Cooper is the founder of Three Crown Petroleum LLC, a private oil and gas exploration company founded in 2005.