Sanders, Biden Vow at Democrat Debate to Undo U.S. Energy Independence

Democratic presidential hopefuls former US vice president Joe Biden (L) and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders (R) take part in the 11th Democratic Party 2020 presidential debate in a CNN Washington Bureau studio in Washington, DC on March 15, 2020. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via …
MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

President Donald Trump has made significant strides in the energy sector, including making the United States the largest producer of oil and natural gas in the world, but at the Democrat debate on Sunday both candidates vowed to dismantle those gains in the name of climate change and the “corporate greed” of fossil fuel producers.

Former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) both promised to “take on the fossil fuel industry,” including ending hydraulic fracking that had enhanced production and reduced emissions, shutting down coal plants, and ending drilling for oil and gas on public lands.

“This is not building a few more solar panels or a few more wind turbines,” Sanders said. “What this is about transforming our energy system, as quickly as we humanly can, away from fossil fuel.”

“It is insane that we continue to have fracking in America,” Sanders said.

“Number one, no more subsidies for the fossil fuel industry, no more drilling on federal lands, no more drilling, including offshore, no ability for the oil industry to continue to drill, period, ends, number one,” Biden said. He added:

Number two, we’re in a situation, as well, where we cannot — we — we are able to move rapidly to change the dynamic in terms of what we can do to set in motion — the fact that he says climate change, Paris Accord doesn’t mean much — we can get everything exactly right.

My plan takes on the fossil fuel industry and it unites the world.

“What we need to do right now is bring the world together, tell the fossil fuel industry that we are going to move aggressively to win solar, sustainable energies,” Sanders said.

Biden said he would call on the Department of Defense to fight the “national security” threat of climate change and claimed “islands are sinking.”

As Breitbart News reported during the American Conservative Union’s 2020 CPAC convention last month in Oxon Hill, Maryland, Department of Interior Secretary David Bernhardt told Breitbart News Daily about Trump’s vision for a “secure, energy independent” nation.

“Here’s the contrast,” Bernhardt said. “The socialists have come up with the concept of the great Green New Deal.”

“Which, really, they even admit, is a policy to control the lives of Americans,” Bernhardt said. “You contrast that with President Trump’s vision for America, which has been to unleash our energy potential on federal lands and eliminate the paralysis by analysis that’s been caused by regulation.”

“Regulations have literally gotten to the point where they were so burdensome that they were freezing the government from making decisions,” Bernhardt said. “And the president came in and said, ‘Look, let’s ensure that we have clean air, clean water, health, and human safety, but let’s find a way to do those things — maintain those values — and at the same time have a common sense approach to the business that we need to have in our country to fast-track economic opportunity, to develop natural resources.’”

Bernhardt said over the past three years his agency has worked to “dramatically modify our regulatory paradigm in a way that didn’t sacrifice those high values but at the same time dramatically has allowed us speed up our decision making process.”

“The United States has become a net energy exporter, which was really not thought of years ago,” Bernhardt said. “And largely because of American innovation and technology through the utilization of new development techniques, and those techniques started in the mid-2000s and really benefited private land.”

“When we come into office the president recognized that there was an opportunity for those technologies to be more utilized on public land,” Bernhardt said, referring to hydraulic fracturing, a technology that has been around since 1862 but reached its peak performance over the last few decades.

As the largest manager of land in the United States, DOI has a huge responsibility, Bernhardt said.

“Interior alone manages one of every five acres of land in the United States,” Bernhardt said. 

“What we’ve done responsibly is allow people to move forward with proposals that have dramatically improved things,” Bernhardt said. “This year for the first time ever we had on federal lands and Indian lands that we manage together over one billion barrels of oil were produced.”

Bernhardt said that DOI has increased the number of permits for drilling wells by 300 percent.

“And the revenue to the American public has dramatically increased — nearly doubled,” Bernhardt said, adding that energy independence has also bolstered national security when the United States is not dependent on nations that may not have our country’s best interests in mind.

“We have fundamentally changed the game and that is really a testament to [Trump’s] belief in American innovation, American technology and [a] commonsense regulatory paradigm,” Bernhardt said.

Bernhardt also said at CPAC that President Donald Trump has made it a priority to give Americans access to federal lands for both pleasure and business:

In keeping with that goal, Bernhardt said that his agency is committed to making sure that 245 million acres in the western United States be “specifically designated to be managed for multiple use.”

“We’ve expanded by 1.4 million acres this last year as opportunities for hunting and fishing on public lands and in forests, but more importantly we have ensured the concept of multiple use is embodied,” Bernhardt said.

“So we are open for business in many places for public lands and at the same time ensuring that we maintain our conservation stewardship,” Bernhardt said. 

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