Sen. Joni Ernst, Iowa Republican, blasted the Biden administration Tuesday for its “deranged climate policy,” calling on the White House to bring back the Keystone XL pipeline to counter rising U.S. dependence on Russian oil.
“What we see from this administration is a focus on a deranged climate policy,” she said on “Faulkner Focus” on Fox News. “There’s no other way that we can explain this, where we have cut back American energy production and have become much more reliant on Russia and other nations like Russia.”
The Biden administration hit Russia with economic sanctions last week in response to the invasion of Ukraine, but specifically avoided sanctioning oil and gas, citing concerns about disrupting world energy markets and raising fuel prices for U.S. consumers.
Ms. Ernst urged the administration to sanction Russian energy “right away,” saying that Russian President Vladimir Putin “still survives off of the revenue streams that are coming in through those sources.”
The U.S. imported a record monthly average of 670,000 barrels per day of Russian crude oil and petroleum products in 2021, according to preliminary figures from the Energy Information Administration posted Monday.
Republicans have urged President Biden to offset the increased U.S. reliance by reversing his crackdown on fossil fuels, part of his goal of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 in the name of fighting climate change.
Mr. Biden canceled the Keystone XL cross-border permit with Canada last year on his first day in office, effectively killing a project capable of transporting 830,000 barrels of crude each day from Alberta to the Gulf Coast refineries.
“So why not unleash American production today?” Ms. Ernst asked. “Let’s put American workers back to work. Let’s open up that Keystone XL pipeline. Let’s allow American energy to dominate rather than again be reliant upon someone like Vladimir Putin and Russian oil.”
Ms. Ernst is scheduled to deliver the “prebuttal” Tuesday to Mr. Biden’s first State of the Union address.