Op-ed: As he heads to Saudi Arabia, Biden should look to Texas and send a special envoy to Midland

July 15, 2022

By Rick Perry

As President Joe Biden embarks on his trip to the Middle East, he is leaving behind obvious domestic challenges as it relates to the ongoing energy crisis our country is facing. The White House is long overdue for a visit with Saudi Arabia. After all, the Kingdom is a strategic partner of the United States on many fronts, not least of which is our combined leadership in curtailing rampant global energy inflation. However, the Biden administration doggedly denies the leaders of the two largest oil producers will discuss options for increasing production. Regardless of the trip’s outcome, it remains painfully clear to Americans struggling to fill their gas tanks, that our leaders would rather first look abroad for solutions to the current energy crisis rather than removing barriers to American energy development.  

Just recently, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm hosted oil and gas executives in a closed-door meeting to discuss the record-high fuel prices. Unsurprisingly, no significant consensus was reached. Instead, the Biden administration continues to obstruct new domestic energy development, including considerations of a misguided oil export ban, while ceding markets and economic growth to Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, and Iran for oil and gas.   

The fact is fuel prices will not subside as long as the administration maintains a "keep it in the ground" stance on energy production, transportation, and sales. Instead of embracing American-sourced fossil fuel production, pipeline infrastructure, and exports, Biden has focused his efforts around blaming energy companies and constraining their operations. It wasn’t that long ago that the energy industry and its workers had support from the government. When I served as secretary of Energy under President Donald Trump, we prioritized American energy development by advancing smart tax policies and pragmatic regulation. 

Thanks to our work, gone were the days of America's crippling dependence on foreign energy sources. When I left the Department of Energy, America was a net-exporter of American oil and natural gas.  

That all changed in January 2021 when Biden killed the Keystone XL Pipeline, restricted new oil and gas leases on federal lands, and slow walked the approval of energy infrastructure projects. And just last week, the Interior Department announced its proposed offshore leasing plan sending more mixed signals to industry. Pending the public comment period, the plan could open up to 11 lease sales or none off the U.S. coastline. These actions, coupled with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, are not alleviating gas prices, where some states are paying over $5 a gallon and $6 in California.  

Rick Perry is the former Governor of Texas, 14th Secretary of Energy, and Chair of the Center for Energy and Environment at AFPI.

Read the full op-ed on Fox News.