Blackburn, Colleagues Demand Biden Change Course On Failing Energy Policy As Prices Skyrocket At Home And Putin Defies Global Outcry

March 2, 2022

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) sent a letter to President Joe Biden outlining 12 specific actions the president can take to unleash domestic energy production, lower skyrocketing energy prices, and help America’s European allies and partners become less dependent on Vladimir Putin’s regime for their energy supply.


“Joe Biden has given up the best defense we had against Putin’s evil vision for the world — energy independence,” said Senator Blackburn. “We need to make America energy independent again. It’s time to divest from Russian energy and stop funding Putin’s war, and reauthorize the Keystone Pipeline.”


Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), along with Senators James Lankford (R-Okla.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), John Thune (R-S.D.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), John Kennedy (R-La.), and Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) also joined the letter.


Below is the full text of the letter.


President Joseph R. Biden 

The White House 

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW 

Washington, DC 20500


Dear Mr. President,


We appreciate your call for Americans to come together in light of Russia’s brutal, unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. We strongly support working with our allies and partners—one of our nation’s most important strategic advantages—as well as sending U.S. troops to support and defend NATO allies in Eastern Europe during these challenging and dangerous times.


Yet, as our nation prepares for this new era of authoritarian aggression led by the dictators in Russia and China, we have serious concerns that we encourage you to address in tonight’s State of the Union and thereafter act upon immediately.


First, you must submit a robust military budget that significantly increases defense spending to reflect the realities of our geostrategic competition with China and Russia. Your Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 budget proposed significant real cuts to the Department of Defense when, at the same time, you proposed massive increases to almost every other federal agency and department. Putin and Xi were undoubtedly encouraged that the President of the United States proposed significant budget cuts to his own armed services. We implore you not to make the same strategic mistake again. The FY 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) was a clear bipartisan rebuke of your misguided defense budget cuts. You must put forward a robust, real increase in defense spending focused on the current and future readiness and lethality of our force. You should also continue to press our NATO allies to meet their two percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) goal for defense spending.


Second, your Administration’s energy policies—which focus on restricting, delaying, and killing the production of American energy—have had the predictable but catastrophic effect of driving up energy prices for American working families, increasing pink slips for American energy workers, and significantly empowering our adversaries, especially Putin, who has used energy as a weapon for decades. 


You recently told the American people in a press conference that your Administration was using “every tool at our disposal to protect American families and businesses from rising prices at the gas pump” and “taking active steps to bring down the cost.” Mr. President, respectfully, that is not true and the facts show it.


Time and time again, your administration has taken steps to unilaterally disarm the American energy sector. We hope that in your address tonight, you make a strategic course correction on your misguided energy policies that properly reflects your recent promises to reduce energy prices for American families, protect the national security of the United States, and provide meaningful support to our allies who are struggling to meet their energy needs. You can do this through the following actions. 


1.       Rescind your decision to cancel the Keystone XL Pipeline and fast-track other similar energy infrastructure projects across the country.

2.       Work to rescind the recent decision by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) that makes it much more difficult to approve natural gas pipelines.

3.       Commit to fast tracking and producing American energy on federal lands, including the 1002 Area of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), the National Petroleum Reserve of Alaska (NPR-A), and the Gulf of Mexico, all of which have decades of abundant proven reserves of oil and gas.

4.       Expedite the permitting of critical minerals mining and processing, particularly Alaska’s Ambler Road project, and reinstate the leases issued to Twin Metals Minnesota LLC for the northeastern Minnesota mining project.

5.       Reinstate the January 2021 proposed rule from the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency that would prevent America’s large financial institutions from black-listing whole sectors of the economy and ensure the energy sector has fair access to capital and banking service to advance critically needed energy projects. 

6.       Direct the Department of Justice to appeal the U.S. District Court’s decision invalidating the Department of the Interior’s Lease Sale 257. Appealing the Court’s decision to block this sale will demonstrate the administration’s commitment to continuing critical offshore development.

7.       Direct the Department of the Interior to finalize a new 5-year offshore lease plan by June 30, 2022.

8.       Use your bully pulpit to encourage—not discourage—America’s financial institutions to support American energy independence by investing in American oil and gas. 

9.       Sanction Russian oil and gas exports to America and our allies. We have seen a spike in American imports of Russian energy during your Administration. We would replace such imports, which only empower Putin, with increased production of American energy for our citizens. 

10.   Issue all pending export licenses and announce an initiative to surge American liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports to our allies and partners in Europe who are being blackmailed and are trapped by the whims of tyrant Vladimir Putin. 

11.   Terminate the positions of White House Climate Czar Gina McCarthy and Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, who have aggressively pushed an all-out assault on America’s energy sector—at home and abroad—and whose actions are dramatically weakening America’s geostrategic advantages. John Kerry’s statements just days ago clearly portray someone who does not care about the lives lost in the crisis in Ukraine but rather protecting the climate agenda no matter the cost. In his own words, he said, “Massive emissions consequences to the war, but equally importantly you're going to lose people's focus. You're going to lose, certainly, big country attention because they will be diverted, and I think it could have a damaging impact," and “I hope President Putin will help us to stay on track with respect to what we need to do for the climate." 

12.   Withdraw your nomination of Sarah Bloom Raskin based on her commitment to reduce American energy projects that would provide energy to our allies and reduce America’s dependence on Russian oil.


It is our sincere hope that you announce these changes in your address this evening. Only then will your promise to use “every tool at our disposal to protect American families and businesses from rising prices at the gas pump” be fulfilled and our national security appropriately protected.


The American people are looking to their President to rise to this critical moment. Our national security, global stability for ourselves and our allies, as well as the prosperity of every American family are on the line. 

We await your response in tonight’s address.