By Bill Johnson
The Hill, January 3,2023
From halting pipeline construction to curtailing America’s domestic energy production on public lands; from begging Saudi Arabia and Venezuela for oil while shoveling billions of taxpayer dollars to expensive, intermittent “green” energy — the Biden administration’s disastrous energy policy decisions have underscored their commitment to the war on America’s oil and gas industry.
But the oil and gas industry, and the millions of American men and women who work in it, is about far more than just fueling automobiles and keeping the lights on. Many products that we take for granted and use daily are made from petrochemical raw materials such as ethylene and propylene which are derived from oil and natural gas. From medical devices and other health products to clothing and food packaging to cell phones, car parts, electronics, and everything in between, the standard of life we have become accustomed to simply would not exist without plastic products made from oil and gas derivatives.
The American people are no strangers to the effects of the Biden administration’s radical agenda. Inflation is hitting the people I represent in Eastern Ohio hard. They are struggling to fill up their tanks, buy personal care products, clothe their children, and even afford food.
This war on oil and gas has created a domino effect. By curtailing our energy supply, fuel prices and shortages have made it more expensive to manufacture and transport goods — which correlates to the record-breaking inflation people across the country are feeling. Everything is becoming more expensive as a result.
Democrats have come up with some head-scratching ideas on how to combat inflation. For example, earlier this year Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee introduced the Climate Leadership and Environmental Action for our Nation’s Future Act, also known as the CLEAN Future Act. This legislation would “place a temporary pause on new permits for facilities that produce plastics, or the raw materials used to produce plastics”. In other words, in the middle of unprecedented inflation and supply chain shortages, Democrats want us to stop making the products Americans rely on for modern life, outsource more good-paying jobs, and destroy a critical part of America’s manufacturing sector. Make sense?
My home state of Ohio is competing with China to manufacture plastic-based products. Yet, Ohio has surpassed China as the world’s low-cost center for plastics manufacturing. Here in Ohio, we are making more environmentally friendly plastic-based products, paying living wages, and fueling America’s economy. At a time when we must remain competitive with China by advancing our domestic manufacturing capabilities, the Democrats proposed legislation would do just the opposite.
The effects we are feeling from President Biden’s declared war on oil and gas are only just beginning. Only a few years ago, America’s energy and manufacturing sectors were thriving. Our nation was energy independent, our economy was prosperous, and prices were being held in check. Now, via the wave of his pen, Joe Biden has created crisis after crisis. His decision to curtail one of the most critical industries in the United States for the sake of appeasing special interest groups and left-wing radicals has led our nation down a path full of potholes.
In January, the Republicans will be back in the majority in the House of Representatives, and Democrats have an opportunity to work with us to help right some of their wrongs. They have a choice — side with American workers and families or side with radical leftist environmental groups. They can’t do both. A good starting place is to once again unleash American energy production, support our nation’s manufacturing sector by avoiding burdensome regulations, and halt President Biden’s half-baked “rush to green” agenda.
Bill Johnson represents the 6th District of Ohio and is a member of the House Energy & Commerce Committee.