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Dems Continue Their Overreach On U.S. Energy Policy

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When Barack Obama adopted the phrase “I have a pen and I have a phone” following his party’s 2014 congressional wipeout, his vice president was paying attention to this method of governing.

President Biden, with an approval rating under 40%, is resorting to the familiar playbook: if Congress does not pass legislation, impose an agenda using executive orders and the federal government bureaucracy. [bold, links added]

We see many examples of this rogue governance. Senator Warren recently called for Biden to use “his power” to cancel student debt. What power? A pesky little thing called “The Constitution” is meant to stop Presidents from writing $1.7 trillion checks.

The separation of powers is a good thing. Presidents who make laws based on political needs are a threat to a free people.

U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle recognized this when she issued a decision ending mask mandates on planes stating the CDC had overstepped its power. Bureaucrats should not have the power to force nationwide mandates, public health or not. 

Nowhere is such government overreach felt than in the energy space, and Democrats, despite controlling both chambers of Congress, have been unwilling to bring any of their radical green new deal to a serious vote. Instead, they hid it within “Build Back Better” and used the bureaucracy to enact it de facto.

We saw this most ostensibly in the nomination of Sarah Bloom Raskin to the Federal Reserve, a woman eager to use her authority to punish fossil fuel lending.

Starve” them of lending were her exact words which she tried, and failed, to walk back during her confirmation hearing.

Even Democrat Joe Manchin saw the red flags, and when he vowed to vote no, assuring her failure in the Senate, she withdrew her nomination. Bureaucrats should not have the power to harm industries they don’t like, fossil fuels or not.

In that same vein, the Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) might be an unknown quantity now, but so too was Dr. Anthony Fauci in February 2020.

FERC has the power to block energy infrastructure projects, and under Biden, they have exercised those muscles.

In January, FERC denied permits to build a natural gas power plant in New England. The action fulfilled the Biden campaign promise of “no new fossil fuels.”

It also plunged America’s most densely populated region further into energy insecurity on the eve of Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine.

Beyond outright denials of permits, FERC has failed to act on 17 pending applications for other critical natural gas infrastructure projects.

Like all federal agencies, FERC is required to review all projects through the lens of climate change.

One week after his Inauguration, Biden used his pen to sign an Executive Order mandating, “a Government-wide approach that reduces climate pollution in every sector of the economy.”

FERC adopted new rules in February to “assess the impacts of natural gas infrastructure projects on climate change.” Congress and the legislative process are deemed superfluous.

The overreach again drew the ire of Senator Joe Manchin. Calling Commissioner Glick before the Committee, Manchin did not mince words.

“[t]o deny or put-up barrier to natural gas projects and the benefits they provide, while Putin is actively and effectively using energy as an economic and political weapon against our allies is just beyond the pale.”

Biden and progressives often label climate change an “existential threat,” yet Manchin recognized a more immediate problem: the ongoing war in Ukraine and Putin’s dreams of military conquest.

Since his scolding before Congress, Chairman Glick announced a “pause” in implementing the new policy. This is not just a win for American energy security but for the rule of law. Glick does not write laws, and neither does Joe Biden’s pen. Congress does.

Government is prone to authoritarianism, something our Founding Fathers knew all too well and feared would inevitably happen in the new government they were trying to establish.

Sometimes it takes a Federal Judge, a U. S. Senator, or just the outcry of the American people to reign in the government’s unquenchable thirst for power.

As we have witnessed these past two years from the illogical Covid policies coming from Fauci, the CDC, and the NIH, America run by bureaucratic regulation brings chaos, tension, and economic stagnation.

With our energy markets in turmoil, and Americans suffering sky-high prices, we need a calm and stable climate that sparks confidence and investment.

Biden’s hysterical climate mandates and Mr. Glick’s arbitrary wielding of FERC’s power must be reigned in before they do any more damage to our energy industry, our economy, and our national security.

Read rest at RealClearEnergy

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