It's Not Too Late for Biden to Rethink His Energy Policy | Opinion

As a lifelong Democrat, I want the Biden administration to succeed because I want our country to thrive. Amidst our current energy and geopolitical crises, the administration must rethink its energy policy to maintain our nation's energy security at home and support our allies' energy needs abroad.

Most Americans understand the importance of investing in green energy and continuing our journey to a cleaner environment. It is laudable that President Joe Biden has made this energy transition a central part of his agenda, and he should continue to work toward this goal. However, the administration's regulatory actions are pushing our nation too far, too fast, against unrealistic timelines.

Against a backdrop of the highest inflation rates in more than a generation, energy prices are surging. Even before Russia invaded Ukraine, prices were up; after the invasion, they shot up another 10 percent almost overnight. When the price of energy rises, it becomes an invisible tax on everything—not just fuel, but transportation, production, plastics, pharmaceuticals and even farming fertilizer. No household is safe, no industry is spared. For many small businesses, it's a direct trade-off between these rising costs and making payroll. And for too many families it becomes a direct trade-off between food and other household necessities. Americans need the Biden administration to recalibrate its approach to energy.

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm understands this is not the time to stifle the energy industry. Recently, at the annual CERAWeek energy conference, Secretary Granholm said we need to "responsibly increase" energy supplies "to stabilize the market and to minimize harm to American families." And when it comes to the energy transition, she rightly noted that we can "walk and chew gum at the same time." We should maintain our ultimate goal to decarbonize—over time, but we also need oil and gas production to rise to meet current demand. Most tellingly for the current crisis, she said we need "reliable energy that doesn't depend on foreign adversaries."

Secretary Granholm is absolutely right.

And President Biden is right to assure our European allies that we have their backs by committing to get them more liquefied natural gas supplies. Europe's traditional reliance on Russian energy emboldened Russia in its attack on Ukraine. As Europe breaks free from Russia's energy grip, Russia will become further isolated and lack the economic resources it needs to fight the war and feed its people.

Democracy is one of our nation's greatest exports, and our position as an energy superpower plays a vital role in tipping the global balance of power in freedom's favor.

President Joe Biden speaks about the economy
President Joe Biden speaks about the economy. SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

But back at home, the Biden administration hasn't gotten the message. Agency after agency continue to pile on with more regulations restricting our energy production and infrastructure. The Securities and Exchange Commission recently proposed a sweeping new rule that would require every publicly traded company to report reams of information about greenhouse gas emissions and other climate-related information. Further, according to documents posted in the Federal Register, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers may make it more time-consuming and costly for pipeline operators to obtain a nationwide permit, thereby adding yet another hurdle for transporting our nation's energy supplies to communities across the country.

With these policies in place, investors and companies will be reluctant to invest in more production and infrastructure. Ultimately, this hinders our small business community which is still reeling from the impact of COVID-19, while battling industry-wide supply chain disruptions. The answer is simple: In order to maintain reliable energy supplies, the Biden administration must curb the pace of its transition policy. Germany is a cautionary tale. They tried to transition too quickly, and ended up even more reliant on Russia energy.

We must never let that happen here.

I still believe in President Biden. I believed him when he said he was running to bring this country together, to govern for all Americans and to be a president for all people. The window to keep our country moving and put people before politics is still open—but it's closing fast.

Javier Palomarez is the president and CEO of the United States Hispanic Business Council (USHBC), a 501(c)6 nonprofit organization focusing on improving access to contracting in the public and private sector and fair representation of Hispanics in business, media and politics.

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.