If former Vice President Joe Biden’s answers on energy during Thursday night’s presidential debate made you say some combination of “what?” and “that’s a bad idea,” you are not alone. His statements were a mix of incoherent and terrifying, neither of which are acceptable.
Let’s set the record straight. For starters, Biden got basic facts about the industry and its relationship with the federal government wrong. He said, “I’d stop giving [the oil industry] federal subsidies. You won’t give federal subsidies to the gas, oh, excuse me, to solar and wind, why are we giving it to the oil industry?”
BIG OIL WARNS OF 'DEEP DEPRESSION' UNDER BIDEN ENERGY PLAN President Trump rightly responded, “We actually give [subsidies] to solar and wind.” Look no further than renewable tax credits, which heavily subsidize the wind and solar industry, arguably to a fault. There’s nothing comparable to them for the oil and gas industry. Biden should be more familiar with this. The wind production tax credit was created while he was in the Senate and reauthorized multiple times with his support. How are we supposed to trust Joe Biden if he doesn’t even have a rudimentary understanding, even after almost 50 years of voting on energy?
Biden also intentionally misinterpreted -- or maybe just misremembered -- his own stances and proposals. “I never said I oppose fracking.” That is a real quote from Joe Biden on the debate stage Thursday night. From his Green New Deal supporters to his own communications team, you could feel a universal cringe, because in reality Joe Biden has flip flopped repeatedly. The nation got a front row seat to it on Thursday. In March in a primary debate, he said “no more, no new fracking.” He told a supporter in New Hampshire “Yes!” when asked about stopping fracking. He told another supporter he would “love” to transition away from all fracking right now. He told a young girl at a campaign stop, “Look in my eyes, I guarantee you we’re going to end fossil fuels.”
If that is not what opposing fracking looks like, I would hate to see what is. But as jumbled as his most recent stance on fracking is, the most concerning moment came in his comments about the oil industry. When President Trump asked his opponent if he would close down the industry, he said “yes.” Say goodbye to the 11 million jobs in Pennsylvania, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado and my home state of North Dakota, not to mention the national security implications of going back to relying on the Middle East, Russia, and other foreign adversaries for our energy supply.
Maybe that’s why the Democratic presidential nominee tried walking back those comments immediately after the debate, saying he only wants “to get rid of the subsidies of fossil fuels.”
Again, does he not understand the ramifications of his own policies? Or is he saying what he really thinks before his handlers make him clean it up? His rationale for these and other comments, which he and his handlers tried to clean up after the debate, is that he wants to “get to ultimately a complete zero emissions by 2025.”
For as much as he has tried to distance himself from the Green New Deal on the debate stage – despite calling it a crucial framework on his campaign website – zeroing out emissions by 2025, an impossible task is five years faster than net-zero emissions by 2030 the Green New Deal calls for.
Yet again, one must ask, is he lying? Or does he not understand what he’s saying? Put together, Joe Biden’s proposals are dangerous and disconnected from reality. Thankfully, there was someone on the stage who understands American energy.
Under President Trump, American energy production has soared. We are the number one producer of oil and natural gas. American energy exports reached an all-time high in 2019, marking the first time in nearly 70 years our annual gross energy exports exceeded our imports. He has made us less reliant on foreign sources and in turn, safer and more prosperous here at home. President Trump is also strong supporter of reliable energy sources. He understands our economy cannot rely on intermittent sources like wind and solar, which only generate when the wind is blowing and the sun is shining. American industry cannot grow, or even operate, on the whims of fleeting weather patterns. Unlike his opponent, President Trump’s approach to energy is clear, and it works.
As someone who values American energy, the jobs it creates and the security it provides, I support this president, and I urge the American people to do the same.
Republican Kevin Cramer represents North Dakota in the United States Senate.