Russia’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine underscores importance of U.S. energy independence

Lou Barletta

Lou Barletta Lou Barletta Campaign

Vladimir Putin’s indefensible invasion of Ukraine is causing calamity and death, and it is also a crime against the rest of the peace-loving world and a declaration of war against common decency. Here at home, Russia’s aggression also underscores the importance of American energy independence to our national security, and how foolish President Joe Biden was to purposely squander it. 

Russia’s dominance over the supply of energy to Europe was central in the lead-up to Putin’s attack on Ukraine. Russia provides nearly half of the solid fuel – mostly coal – that the EU consumes, more than 40% of its natural gas, and more than a quarter of its oil. Already facing an energy crunch, European nations remain reliant on Russia for their fuel needs, putting leaders in an excruciating position as Putin threatened Ukraine over the last several months.

As we’re seeing today, Putin’s grip on the European energy market has crammed his coffers full of cash and helped fuel his military strength.

If Biden were truly serious about stopping Putin, he would hit him where it hurts, by sanctioning Russia’s existing lucrative energy exports. But that would mean permitting the U.S. to ramp up our own energy production to compensate for a reduction in Russian output. Sadly, the environmental extremists who are in control of the Biden administration won’t permit that, which means that our foreign policy decisions are actually being made by enviro-radicals. 

Biden showed his weakness to the world by suspending sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, still being built from Russia to Germany, giving Putin an important geopolitical victory. Biden then actively lobbied the U.S. Senate against imposing renewed sanctions late last year.

Biden has now reversed himself and reinstituted the pipeline sanctions, but the damage was done, as Biden had already emboldened Putin.

It’s important to remember that the U.S. became a net exporter of energy under President Donald Trump for the first time in nearly 70 years. But Biden immediately dismantled that achievement upon taking office, canceling the Keystone XL pipeline project on his first day and relentlessly attacking our own energy production, including by halting oil and gas development in Alaska.

Biden has warned that the situation in Ukraine will cause fuel prices in America to rise even more than they already have. If we needed any further proof, this again demonstrates that energy independence is a national security issue.

With all this as a backdrop, it most definitely matters who the next governor of Pennsylvania is. We need a governor who will take advantage of the massive energy deposits we are blessed to have under our feet in the commonwealth. Failing to access our own resources is like being in college with a keg of beer and no tap.

As governor, I will greenlight new pipelines and support existing ones to unleash the full potential of Pennsylvania's natural resources and help protect the U.S. from potential geopolitical conflicts – just like what’s happening in Ukraine right now.

Additionally, I will work to finish the Mariner pipeline to ship clean and safe Pennsylvania natural gas out of the Port of Philadelphia to places like Europe, so we can undermine Russia’s strength and ability to leverage their energy dominance. This would be environmentally sound, create thousands of jobs, and provide the leadership we’re lacking on the national level to undercut Putin’s ability to dominate and terrorize entire regions of the world. 

I will reform the Department of Environmental Protection, because right now, DEP stands for “Don’t Expect Permits,” and that needs to change. We must clear away bureaucratic barriers to innovation and production if we are going to move Pennsylvania forward as the energy leader it should rightfully be.

And I will withdraw Pennsylvania from the disastrous Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), which is a multi-state cap-and-trade scheme that will kill jobs and discourage any growth in our energy industries. Already we have seen Attorney General Josh Shapiro, the probable Democratic candidate for governor, approve Pennsylvania’s entry into RGGI, which signals that he would be just as large an impediment to energy progress as Gov. Tom Wolf and President Biden are.

As the eyes of the world are focused on Ukraine, we must also be mindful of a lesson that is available to be learned from the situation. Energy is national security, we can protect our country by producing more, and we can start right here in Pennsylvania.

Former mayor and congressman Lou Barletta is a Republican candidate for governor of Pennsylvania.