Despite decrying the overuse of executive orders during the campaign as dictatorial, on Wednesday, Joe Biden let loose another blizzard of executive orders. Just half a week into his presidency, CNN counted up 30 such orders coming from Biden’s Oval Office on a wide array of subjects. Biden has imposed so many executive orders that the nation, including the media, has no time to analyze or react to most of them.
But Biden executive orders concerning domestic energy production are getting attention, scrutiny — and pushback. His climate-change order includes a directive to end so-called federal “subsidies” for fossil-fuel producers.
But here’s the thing. While so-called renewable energy sources are heavily subsidized at the federal and state levels, fossil-fuel producers are not. There is no “fossil-fuel subsidy.”
Jason Modglin, president of the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers, was succinct when I reached out to him.
“[T]he President promised to raise $40 billion in taxes on domestic producers today. There is no fossil-fuel subsidy in the Tax Code but there are standard business deductions including: the domestic manufacturing deduction, able to deduct costs, and account for asset depletion. These are similar to other deductions for domestic businesses.”
One source told me Biden’s action would “cripple” the industry. Fossil-fuel producers can presently write off the types of operational expenses any business may write off. For energy producers, this includes intangible drilling costs and depletion write-offs. If those write-offs go away, if Biden succeeds in singling out producers from being able to take the business write-offs other types of businesses can take, it would cripple their operations.
While Republicans can be expected to oppose Biden’s actions, and several including Reps. Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Yvette Harrell (R. N.M.) have, some Democrats have also stepped up demanding that Biden rescind the order imposing a moratorium on drilling and leasing activities on federal land.
Reps. Vicente Gonzalez (D-Texas), Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), Lizzie Fletcher (D-Texas), and Marc Veasey (D-Texas) sent a letter to the Biden administration opposing that EO. In the letter, they tell Biden that New Mexico, which voted for him by about 10 percentage points, would be devastated if the order stays in place.
New Mexico, a small, poor state that receives a huge portion of their revenue for things like funding Albuquerque schools, will find this rule devastating. Such a rule could also tighten supplies, send heating and cooling bills up, and cause a spike in fuel prices during a pandemic. Furthermore, this benefits Big Oil over small independents that did not have the resources to stockpile permits.
Energy producers in Texas, New Mexico, and other producing states are still reeling from the collapse in demand caused by the COVID pandemic. Layoffs have been massive. Biden’s orders would add to that misery.
The Democrats’ letter details further serious negative economic consequences that they say will result from Biden’s actions.
Near-term loss of potentially one million jobs;
A cumulative decrease in U.S. GDP by $700 billion;
Loss of one of the most significant sources of federal revenue;
Loss of a major source of revenue for programs like LWCF and individual states;
Net increase of crude imports by two million barrels per day from foreign countries, weakening U.S. energy and national security and increasing our dependence to others;
Reduction in critical energy supplies for Americans; and,
Legal implications from the Interior Department’s failure to meet statutory requirements
to hold lease sales.
The Biden administration’s reaction to questions concerning its abrupt cancelation of the Keystone XL pipeline Wednesday was telling. Green Czar John Kerry, who made his fortune marrying the heiress to a ketchup fortune, dismissed concerns about the 11,000 pipeline workers Biden summarily put out of work:
John Kerry is asked what his message would be to oil and gas workers who "see an end to their livelihoods":
"What President Biden wants to do is make sure that those folks have better choices… That they can be the people to go to work to make the solar panels." pic.twitter.com/i9TYXlD9Jg
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) January 27, 2021
Kerry, who spent his career in politics and has not held a true private-sector job, may not realize that his cavalier take is not a viable suggestion at this point. China heavily dominates the solar panel manufacturing industry. That’s thanks largely to Clinton-era policies normalizing trade with the communist regime.
Biden’s orders, then, would have the collective effect of crushing the domestic energy industry, creating massive job losses, devastating state budgets, including states that voted for him, and shipping jobs overseas — mainly to China.
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Bryan Preston served as chief of staff to Texas Railroad Commissioner Ryan Sitton. The Texas Railroad Commission regulates oil and gas production in the Lone Star State, which is the nation’s top energy-producing state. He is the author of Hubble’s Revelations: The Amazing Time Machine and Its Most Important Discoveries. He’s a producer, veteran, author, and Texan.