The Biden administration has clamped down hard on energy and oil as part of its climate change agenda. But experts warn that the president’s recent actions will have long-term impacts on production and the economy—it will also mean more dependence from imports.
President Joe Biden recently issued a slew of executive orders including freezing new oil or natural gas leases and drilling permits on federal land, as well as canceling the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline. While the moves were hailed by environmentalists, experts told The Epoch Times the drawbacks outweigh any potential benefits.
If no new leases are granted on federal lands and waters, the hydrocarbon production from these areas will decline, according to Paul Bommer, senior lecturer of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering at The University of Texas.
“So will the revenue to the federal and state governments by way of taxes and royalties,” Bommer told The Epoch Times. “Employment in these areas will also go down. This is dire for those areas and people employed in those areas.”
If demand goes up, Bommer said the private sector could improve production through drilling and completing new wells on private and state-controlled land and waters, assuming the federal freeze stays in place. But in states such as New Mexico, half of all the state’s oil and gas production is on federal land, meaning workers and companies will be forced to relocate to states with more private land.
Saudi Arabia this month pledged additional, voluntary oil output cuts, sending oil prices to the highest rate in nearly a year. Higher prices have prompted U.S. energy firms to increase drilling, with U.S. oil rig activity rising in the first week of January to its highest since May 2020, according to Reuters.
If the executive freeze is extended, it will have a major impact on production, said Patrick Moore, policy adviser and founding director of the CO2 Coalition. Moore co-founded Greenpeace, the world’s largest environmental activist group, before he became a critic of the environmental movement.
“The loss of fracked oil and gas from public lands will mean dependence on more imports,” Moore told The Epoch Times. “There is nothing ‘in the pipe’ to make up for a large decrease in oil and gas production.”