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Saturday, July 31, 2021

EDITORIAL: Biden’s energy irony

When President Biden jetted off Wednesday for his first major foreign policy journey, the drag of his burdensome energy policy was such as to evoke wonder that Air Force One was able to get airborne. In less than five months, he has given his blessing for a valuable natural gas pipeline for Europeans but has condemned a similarly essential oil conduit for Americans. The irony of the president’s energy policy indicates to foreign competitors that in the Biden book, U.S. interests carry less weight than their own.

The president has joined with fellow Group of 7 leaders in Great Britain’s historic Cornwall to game-plan ways of boosting economic recovery from the deadly COVID-19 pandemic. Burning a hole in his pocket was a letter received Monday from 68 House Republicans urging him to reconsider his decision to waive sanctions that have hampered the completion of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, designed to carry natural gas from Russia to Germany.

Signers, who included Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, warned that allowing the Russian pipeline to proceed as, in the words of Secretary of State Antony Blinken, “a fait accompli,” would amount to “a gift to [Vladimir] Putin and his efforts to increase geopolitical influence in Europe.”

“Furthermore,” the letter read, “given your open hostility to domestic pipelines like the Keystone XL pipeline, which also was a top priority for our Canadian allies, it is baffling that you are willing to green-light Russia‘s Nord Stream 2 pipeline.”

Worse than baffling, the pipelines’ juxtaposition amplifies the America-last principle that has guided Mr. Biden since the moment he became “Mr. President.” Before his first Oval Office coffee break, Mr. Biden asserted the Keystone XL pipeline “disserves the national interest” and yanked its permit. Apparently, the Biden policy is “energy for thee, but none for me.”

Consequently, Americans are already paying more to power their lives. Former President Trump lamented that fact in a phone call to Fox News Monday. “We had energy independence when I left,” Mr. Trump said. “Gasoline was $1.87, now it’s going to be double that. It’s going to be triple and quadruple that.”

In fact, the average price of a gallon of gasoline nationwide is currently $3.07, up more than a dollar over the same time in 2020. The cost has risen an average of 28 percent since Inauguration Day, with tax-tormented Californians paying about $4.25 a gallon.

It’s unsurprising, then, that 23 states are suing the federal government over the Keystone XL pipeline cancellation. The proposed route traverses only three states — Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska — but the economic impact of lost jobs and energy damages the entire nation.

Mr. Biden has, in effect, boosted opportunities for abundant energy abroad while running U.S. prospects for affordable energy into the ground. When they meet in Geneva on June 16, the irony of it all may tempt Russia‘s Mr. Putin to chortle in Mr. Biden‘s face.

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