Blaine’s Bulletin: Ukraine and the Energy Crisis
The conflict in Ukraine unfortunately continues to rage on with Putin and the Russian army relentlessly attacking cities across Ukraine with absolutely no regard for human life. This is not a fight between military forces. This is a brutal attack on Ukrainian men, women and children. There is dwindling water, food, heat, electricity and phone service. Ukrainians are using melted snow as a water source. Vladimir Putin has shown the world he will stop at nothing, going so far as to target and bomb a maternity and children’s hospital in Mariupol, Ukraine. Russia follows no rules of engagement, and as I said last week, I truly cannot believe this type of ruthlessness is taking place in 2022. Russian air raids continue, and as their ground forces close in on Ukraine’s major cities, I fear what is still to come.
While the loss of life and humanitarian crisis are exclusive to Ukraine, repercussions of the conflict have been felt around the world. As you have most certainly heard several times, Russia is a major global oil supplier, and countries are scrambling to find ways to get out of business with the Russians in order to stop funding Putin’s attack. Here in the United States, there have been bipartisan calls for a ban on Russian oil, and I was pleased to see President Biden announce our country will be doing just that earlier this week.
But banning Russian oil is just the first step. Our next step must be turning to American energy suppliers to make up the difference, not only for the U.S but for our allies in Europe and around the world. In 2019 and 2020, the United States was energy independent. We didn’t have to pay Putin or anyone else for our energy needs. But after being sworn in, President Biden made good on campaign promises, placing a moratorium on new oil and gas leases on federal lands and canceling the Keystone XL Pipeline. In a matter of months, he made us dependent on foreign oil once again and greatly weakened our geopolitical position. We have all seen the record prices at the pump. Families in Missouri and across the country can’t afford to pay an extra $2,000 on gas over the course of the next year, and we shouldn’t have to. Turning our focus back to American oil is the only logical step.
My colleagues and I have continued to warn that relying on foreign oil is a national security issue, and we are seeing the ramifications unfold before us. Most countries in Europe don’t have the domestic energy supply we have in America, which forces them to be reliant on Russian oil and gas. America has the resources; we just aren’t using them. The administration is reportedly in talks with Venezuela, Iran and Saudi Arabia – countries who are all ruled by despots and brutal dictators – to supplement the oil supply our nation is no longer receiving from Russia. So, essentially, we’re trading one tyrant for three. America has so many untapped oil and gas resources available nationwide from Texas, to Louisiana, to North Dakota, to Pennsylvania. Now is a critical moment to flip the American switch back on.