President Joe Biden finally banned imports of Russian oil and natural gas, but it was tragic that once again President Biden missed an opportunity to bring the great American oil and gas industry back into the good graces of the White House.
He had a chance to say, "We need you to open the spigots full throttle in order to provide abundant and affordable energy" and show the world that the U.S. is an energy independent and does not need oil from Russia or any of our dictatorial adversaries, such as Iran and Venezuela.
So, Biden could have been open arms and generous. Instead, he was his usual mean and nasty self with a bizarre radical-left attack on our fossil fuel industry.
PRESIDENT BIDEN: But, but, but, but it's no excuse to exercise excessive price increases or padding profits or any kind of effort to exploit this situation or American consumers, exploit them. Russia's aggression is costing us all and it's no time for profiteering or price gouging.
This statement is the epitome of punk. There's not one whit of evidence of excessive price and profits gouging. The trouble is Biden doesn't understand free enterprise capitalism. He much prefers big government socialism and he continues his jihad against the great American fossil fuel industry. The entire country believes otherwise. Polls continue to show Republicans, independents and even Democrats believe we need to ramp up oil and gas production.
It's common sense. First, because energy independence sticks it to Putin and his war machine finances and second, because energy independence will help Americans with abundant and affordable prices. Instead, Biden's zealous left wing, Green New Deal ideology leads Biden, VP Harris, Pete Buttigieg and others to proclaim that electric vehicles will restore energy independence and defeat Vladimir Putin.
Now, even Elon Musk, king of EV's has said we have to produce more oil and natural gas. By the way, Biden could've extended an olive branch by commending oil companies like Exxon, BP, and Shell for self-sanctioning against Russian oil and oil trading and while Biden took a poke at Wall Street, the fact is the vast majority of oil and gas lenders are also self-sanctioning, but Biden doesn't have a unifying generous bone in his body.
That's one of his problems and this business—about 9,000 oil leases—it's just a 'red herring' distraction because you need government approval to get permits to actually develop land. You have to find out if there's any oil and gas under the land, and you need more permits to transport the energy including pipelines and what's happened is, the Biden administration has not approved a single new on-shore or off-shore lease sale. Zero.
Six applications for new LNG export operations have been frozen by the Department of Energy. The Interior Department has put a freeze on leases on federal land. The EPA is frothing at the mouth over this non-sensical social cost of carbon. This phony metric tries to capture all the possible harm from CO2 emissions, upstream, downstream, globally, over three centuries, according to the Wall Street Journal. Three centuries—not even I'm going to be around that long and neither will any of these EPA estimators.
I mean how dumb is this? But we all know it's just a method to prohibitively raise costs and stop oil and gas drilling, production and pipeline. So, no wonder the industry is doing less than it could. Biden's jihad against fossil fuels has deterred capital investment and who can blame these companies?
The actual Russian imports are running about 650,000 barrels per day. Only about 200,000 of that is used for gasoline refining, the rest for distillates. I think energy markets have already discounted this, but experts say without Biden's regulatory war, the U.S. oil industry could get back to 13 million barrels per day in the months ahead. Currently, they're 11.6 million bpd. Just before the pandemic they were over 13 million and Biden says there's record production—he compared it to 2017—he was just flat wrong. We're about 1.5 million bpd short of the prior peak in early 2020. Why did he say 2017?
Why not Papa Bush? Why not Jimmy Carter? Why not Richard Nixon? I bet we're producing more barrels than they did. The answer is: Biden's a big phony spreading falsehoods.
If we can hurt Vladimir Putin's war machine by denying them at least some financing through the import ban, I'm fine with it, absolutely, but if Joe Biden were a mensch, aka a good president, he'd call a summit of all the fossil fuel people and all the renewable people and map out an all-the-above energy policy that would help all Americans, improve our national security, inject some common sense into this discussion, and rid himself of all these left-wing climate zealots.
That's what a first-class president would do, but this is not a first-class presidency. That's my riff.
This article is adapted from Larry Kudlow's opening commentary on the March 8, 2022, edition of "Kudlow."