Our opinion: ‘Balance’ in changing energy policy
The Biden administration is taking another small step in the right direction — and deserves to be commended for it.
The Willow drilling project could produce up to 180,000 barrels of domestic oil a day and will help lessen American dependence on foreign oil. It also will create more than 2,000 jobs during construction and about 300 long-term jobs.
As U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, noted, the decision is “very good news for the country.”
“In the short term, this project will provide thousands of good-paying union jobs and help jump-start Alaska’s economy,” U.S. Rep. Mary Peltola, D-Alaska, said on her website. “By keeping the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System alive, this project will help give Alaska a fighting chance to find new paths forward to a cleaner economy.”
And as John Leshy, who served in the Department of the Interior under President Bill Clinton told the Associated Press, “I think it reflects a balancing of the things they have to balance.”
The balancing act includes a ban on drilling on 3 million acres of the Beaufort Sea and further limitations on drilling for 13 million acres of the National Petroleum Reserve.
We, of course, still have concerns. We are concerned the bans and limitations are too excessive, too rooted in a perceived need to appease environmental alarmists. And we remain concerned that what the U.S. needs first and foremost is refinery capacity.
We appreciate that more of the oil Americans consume will come from American oil fields and American workers, but we need the ability to refine that oil more quickly to meet the needs of American consumers – the price of gasoline and home heating stems in large part from the “bottle neck” due to limits on how fast oil can be refined.
But while we hope that the Biden administration will someday soon be more realistic about refinery capacity and feel less indebted to a persistent and vocal fringe that is hostile to American energy, on this day we should be glad reason and common sense prevailed.
We should be glad that the Willow drilling project will move forward in creating jobs for Americans and meeting Americans’ energy needs.