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Morgan Griffith: To lower energy prices, embrace American energy dominance

morgan griffith
Morgan Griffith

As winter begins, Americans this year confront a most unwelcome holiday guest: high energy prices.

Just like Santa Claus, expensive energy is coming to town. Unlike Santa, it doesn’t matter if you’ve been bad or good. Your wallet will suffer just the same.

You have probably noticed already how much more it costs to fill up your gas tank. According to AAA, Virginia’s average gas price is $3.25 compared to $2.03 a year ago. As people travel for the holidays, this increase will be felt.

But even if you plan on staying home, prepare to pay more for energy. The U.S. Department of Energy forecasts that U.S. households will spend 54 percent more for propane, 43 percent more for heating oil, 30 percent more for natural gas, and 6 percent more for electric heating.

These price surges are outrageous, but they were preventable. They result from bad policies implemented since the earliest hours of the Biden Administration.

President Biden had barely moved into the White House on January 20 when he cancelled the Keystone XL pipeline. Beside the significant loss of construction jobs that the pipeline would have created, that move set the signal from day one that the new Administration would target fossil energy production, never mind that its preferred energy sources lack the reliability, resiliency, and affordability needed to power the world’s preeminent economy.

This foolish action was followed within days by a moratorium on new oil and gas drilling on federal land. Beyond denying the development of the domestic energy resources specifically affected by his orders, President Biden’s agenda had a chilling effect on energy markets. People in the business could tell which way the wind was blowing under the new Administration (pun intended).

As the Biden Administration tightened the screws on American energy, demand for natural gas in particular and fuel more generally increased across the world. Shortages are pushing prices ever higher. Yet the White House pushes on, threatening the Line 5 pipeline that brings oil from Canada to refineries in the Midwest despite the fuel disruptions and lost jobs the closure would cause.

When challenged on the fact of high prices, the Biden Administration minimizes, deflects, or literally laughs off the issue.

Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm actually laughed when asked about gas prices and increasing oil production, saying “That is hilarious” and lamenting that she lacks a magic wand to lower prices.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki asserted that “the rise in gas prices over the long term makes an even stronger case for doubling down” on green energy. Never mind that gas prices are eating into family budgets now, or that the energy sources the White House wants to prioritize have not yet proven that they can viably power our economy.

President Biden plans to release oil stored in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which President Trump refilled. This move may bring limited relief but would not solve any problems. Further, it would deplete a stockpile meant for use in national emergencies.

He also sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission threatening investigations of oil and gas companies and called on the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to increase production.

Even if these measures are meant sincerely and not as ways to deflect attention from the Administration, they simply will not make a meaningful difference. In the case of OPEC, they shift power to other countries which may not have our best interests at heart. After all, this is the same cartel, largely made up of Middle Eastern countries, that once tried to bring down the American economy and forced the government to dictate what days of the week people could refuel their cars.

The best option for our economy and for our security is to restore American energy independence. Our country enjoys a great wealth of resources, and we have the technology and know-how to develop them responsibly while creating jobs domestically. As the current crisis shows, the world still relies on fossil fuels. If we aren’t providing them, less environmentally sensitive countries, including Russia, will.

A reversal by the Biden Administration of its anti-domestic energy policies would be a most welcome Christmas gift. Don’t count on it, but then again, this is a season of miracles.

If you have questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to contact my office. You can call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405, my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671, or my Washington office at 202-225-3861. To reach my office via email, please visit my website at Also, on my website is the latest material from my office, including information on votes recently taken on the floor of the House of Representatives.

Morgan Griffith represents the Ninth District of Virginia in the U.S. House of Representatives.

augusta free press
augusta free press