Trading Dictators: Biden Seeks to Replace Russian Oil with Chinese Minerals

Posted on Friday, April 29, 2022
by AMAC Newsline

AMAC Exclusive – By Andrew Abbott

President Joe Biden talks with Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm during a tour of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory Flatirons Campus.

After the White House has spent months dismissing rising gas and energy prices as “transitory,” the result of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, and finally as simply a matter of “corporate greed,” poll after poll shows that Americans just aren’t buying it – the connection between Biden’s failed energy policies and sky-high costs is all too clear. Faced with this failure, the President and his team now appear to be going all-in on the line that if the country just “transitions” to “green energy,” it will both lower costs and alleviate concerns about energy independence. But mounting evidence suggests that Biden’s energy policy has not only failed to accomplish either of those goals, but it also was self-contradictory from the start and would leave the country once again reliant on a foreign adversary.

From the earliest days of his campaign, President Biden made it clear that his administration would seek to end domestic production of non-renewables. In September 2019, he stated, “I guarantee you we’re going to end fossil fuel.” On his first day in office, he suspended all new oil and gas leases on public lands, rejoined the Paris Climate Accords, and killed the Keystone XL Pipeline.

Predictably, this ended the hard-won energy independence achieved under President Trump and sent prices soaring. Biden was soon reduced to begging American adversaries in OPEC to boost production to offset rising costs. They declined.

The White House then thought they had a break when Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine. Finally, someone else to blame for rising costs. This also provided another excuse for the administration to push their radical environmental agenda, as they insisted that only a rapid forced transition to renewables could bring prices down and prevent similar price hikes in the future, apparently ignoring the fact that such a price hike could have easily been avoided this time around had Biden followed Trump’s lead.

But that wishful thinking soon ran up against the reality of Biden’s self-defeating energy policy. Currently, not only is U.S. renewable energy capacity far below the level needed to bring about the type of changes the White House is pushing for, production of component materials for green energy equipment is heavily reliant on imports from China.

Solar panel production is a prime example. In February of this year, Biden extended tariffs on solar panel imports after China was accused of “dumping” cheap panels on the international market to the detriment of American producers. In theory, this should have led to increased domestic production.

The reality was, again, that Biden’s agenda is at war with itself. Because of restrictions on mining and increased regulations under Biden, solar panel manufacturers were not able to get the necessary materials they needed domestically. As a result, they were forced to import them from China, effectively leaving the country reliant on foreign suppliers for energy production once again. In cutting American reliance on Putin, Biden is attempting to thrust the country into the clutches of the Chinese Communist Party.

Even green energy executives, which originally welcomed the Biden administration with open arms, have now grown frustrated with the counter-productive and dysfunctional energy agenda pursued by the White House. George Hershman, the head of Solv Energy, one of the largest solar farm builders in the U.S., recently blasted Biden for having “done more damage to renewables than the previous administration…This administration every day says how much they are in support of renewables but then actively make decisions in opposition.”

The common-sense solution, even for Democrats who would like to see an eventual transition to clean energy, would be to ramp up domestic energy production of nonrenewables now, giving the green energy sector the years it would need to build up enough capacity to meet the country’s energy needs. The Biden administration appears to recognize this somewhat and has attempted several “stop-gap” solutions to increase the short-term oil supply. But their adherence to left-wing climate orthodoxy has only allowed them to go so far, and they have refused to support measures that would lead to a long-term increase in American oil production, setting the stage for future energy crises.

The situation seen today in countries like Germany should be a warning to Democrats and Biden about the disastrous consequences of putting ideological purity above hard realities. While Germany touted its commitment to green energy, it was simultaneously growing more reliant on imports of oil and natural gas from Russia, a fact which ultimately hamstrung the West’s ability to levy sanctions on Putin for his invasion of Ukraine and threatened the energy security of the German people. Should Biden pursue a similar strategy here, not only would the U.S. become reliant on its chief geopolitical adversary in China for materials, but the country would likely soon also be at the mercy of oil suppliers in the Middle East.

Democrats have made it clear that they want “clean” energy and want it to be made in America. But they don’t seem to want to do the dirty work necessary to create it. Ironically, given Democrats’ constant lamenting about environmental concerns and “human rights,” mining can be done more safely, sustainably, and effectively in America than in any other country.

Domestic mining would also mean significant investments in renewable energy infrastructure and the opening of new mines. This would create tens of thousands of new jobs and reinvigorate areas crippled by the loss of manufacturing jobs. Yet, Democrats have opposed nearly all American mining operations. Until Democrats are serious about building renewable energy infrastructure at home, their energy agenda will amount to trading reliance on one dictator for reliance on another—at an extremely high cost.

Andrew Abbott is the pen name of a writer and public affairs consultant with over a decade of experience in DC at the intersection of politics and culture.