The Environmental Paradox of the Biden Administration’s Energy Policies

One of the Biden administration’s most devastating energy policies has been its lack of support for domestic energy infrastructure projects, particularly for pipelines. As energy demand at home and abroad has rebounded, supply has not been able to meet demand, largely due to transportation and export constraints. 

This is no more evident than in Texas’ Permian Basin. In the resource rich areas of Central and West Texas gas production has accelerated but the boom in production has not been correlated with an increase in pipeline capacity to transport natural gas to processing facilities, leaving the existing pipeline network “effectively maxed out.” That’s the gist from Bloomberg, who observes there is no immediate solution in sight, as pipeline extensions necessary to ease the constraints are not slated to come online until the second half of next year. This over-supply and lack of capacity necessitates two options: either scale back gas, effectively killing valuable oil production, or continue to produce crude and burn off the excess gas. Neither path is favorable, but scaling back production with recently volatile energy prices is not prudent. 

Companies across the U.S. would prefer to build pipelines when there is the necessary amount of oil and gas to flow through it. However, build or extend the lines too late, “and transportation shortages can occur resulting in the need to flare,” as Bloomberg notes. This appears to be the case in the Permian Basin, as federal policies have hamstrung energy infrastructure projects. 

It is ironic that, in the name of environmentalism, the Biden administration has weaponized regulatory hurdles and permitting to impede energy infrastructure projects from receiving the necessary support, now leading to increased emissions due to burning off gas. There is no clearer example of this than in New England, where the lack of pipelines is causing states to import natural gas, resulting in inflated energy prices this winter, according to the EIA. 

While Texas has to flare off gas due to a supply glut, New England will need to rely on foreign countries – a perverse reality that can be avoided entirely. 

The GAIN Coalition has highlighted the lack of pipeline infrastructure consistently, illustrating that the excess of natural gas from the Permian Basin could be alleviating the financial hardship felt by many both domestically and abroad. If the U.S. had prioritized these pipeline infrastructure projects over the last few years, then our energy could be making it to market, not having to be burned off. This is just another example of how the administration’s short-sighted energy policies have not worked, and in fact, harmed both the U.S. and our allies abroad.

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