AMAC Exclusive – By Sam Adolphsen
It’s that time of year again in the northeast – heating season. While many Americans know Maine for its beautiful summers along the rocky shoreline of the Atlantic, November brings a different reality to the Pine Tree State. Daylight savings time precedes winter setting in, and Mainers face a long, dark road until warmer spring weather.
Everyone knows about Maine’s prodigious lobster industry, but what may be less known to most across the country is that Mainers rely on heating oil at the highest rate of any state in the country. In fact, a full three-fifths of Maine households use fuel oil to heat their homes. So as the Biden administration and their jet-setting allies prattle on about climate change, Mainers are more concerned about the change in heating oil prices, which are expected to be far higher this winter.
While Mainers always think ahead on how to keep their homes heated through winter, this year they aren’t just battling the cold, but also the cold shoulder from the Biden administration, whose policy decisions have created a dangerous crisis for cold weather states like Maine.
As President Biden was downplaying inflation all summer, he was also attacking the oil industry, a favorite pastime of his that extends back to his comments during the campaign last year that he would, “transition from the oil industry.” Biden moved forward swiftly on that promise, or as some would call it, that threat, when he took office. Within just a few weeks, Biden had killed the Keystone pipeline project, ended oil and gas exploration on public lands – both of which contributed to the end of U.S. energy independence – and affirmed his promise to rejoin the Paris Climate Accords, among other regulatory actions that will devastate the American energy sector.
While there are many factors that determine heating oil prices year to year, it is no coincidence that when Biden made those comments attacking the oil industry in October 2020 – after four years of favorable policies under President Trump – that heating oil prices in Maine were near their lowest price in two decades. Now, prices appear poised to reach the record high prices that were a hallmark of the anti-oil Obama years.
And while prices on many important items are also skyrocketing around the country, the cost of this energy crisis to the average Maine household, and millions of other cold-weather Americans, is staggering. If this winter is just slightly colder than projected, estimates show that households could pay as much as 54% more this year for heating oil. This represents hundreds, or thousands, in increased costs for Maine homes and businesses.
Things don’t look any better for other heating sources either, like propane and natural gas, as those prices are rising significantly as well, with concerns about potential shortages that could leave Maine homes without a heat source. And the same problems and worries are present in states across the north, in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and elsewhere.
You would think that the Biden administration, with his cratering job approval numbers, would have seen this crisis coming and reversed course on his harmful attacks on a key American industry and resource. Instead, they’ve doubled and tripled down on their commitment to pursue their progressive agenda regardless of what it costs Americans.
With Biden just returning home after sleeping through the environmental performance art in Scotland, news also just broke that his nominee for a key Treasury position said that many businesses in the oil industry, “will go bankrupt.” She went on to add, “at least we want them to go bankrupt if we want to tackle climate change, right?”
Maybe worse, Biden’s Secretary of Energy, Jennifer Granholm, laughed off questions about the rising oil prices, saying that a question about that issue was, “hilarious.”
It’s not hilarious to Mainers who are watching as the price of heating oil and gasoline skyrockets. There is nothing funny about huge cost increases to heat your home, drive to work, plow snowy driveways, and run generators when the power goes out.
In Maine, there is a go-to backup plan for heat in many households. Firewood has become a hotter commodity than ever as oil prices climb under Biden. In yards around the state, you will find neatly stacked firewood piles – a hedge against the madness of Biden’s energy policy that has created this crisis.
But with this administration, who knows if those firewood stores are the next target on Biden’s hit list. After all, Vice President Kamala Harris recently focused in on “tree equity.” How soon until we hear that burning dry firewood is racist?
One thing Mainers and millions of other Americans know for sure is that under the Biden administration, it’s going to be a cold and costly winter.
Sam Adolphsen is the former chief operating officer at the Maine Department of Health and Human Services. He currently serves as the policy director at the Foundation for Government Accountability and lives in Maine.
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