Josh Hawley to Biden: ‘Open It Up!’ Turn on Domestic Energy Production

Josh Hawley
AP Photo/John Raoux

Rep. Josh Hawley (R-MO) criticized President Joe Biden in a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Thursday, saying that instead of shutting down domestic production of oil and gas, the president should ramp up fossil fuel operations across the country.

“You talk about weakness on the part of Joe Biden: he comes to office and what does he do? He shuts down American energy production and green-lights Russian energy production,” Hawley said, adding that while he shut down domestic sources, he green-lighted the Russian pipeline, Nord Stream 2, which was poised to go online before Russia invaded Ukraine.

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“Is it any wonder that Vladimir Putin feels emboldened to do whatever the heck it is he wants to do?” Hawley said. “Is it any wonder that China feels emboldened to do whatever it is the heck that they want to do?”

Hawley said Biden does not understand how important domestic oil and gas production is to the country’s prosperity and security, including creating high-paying jobs for Americans.

“I’ve got a suggestion for Joe Biden tonight,” Hawley said. “I just suggest, Mr. President, have some confidence in the American people. Show some strength to the world. Open up American energy production full throttle.”

“Open it up right now,” Hawley said, adding that American workers in the fossil fuel industry are the “backbone of the American economy.”

“It is time to allow the good strong American worker to go out there and start drilling for oil,  start exploring for natural gas to start fracking again,” Hawley said. 

OKAWVILLE, IL - OCTOBER 9: Jerry McKinney (L) and Jeremy Beck work a drilling rig as they search for oil for Houston, Texas based Vintage Exploration in a corn field October 9, 2004 near Okawville, Illinois. High oil prices and low finding cost in the region which has relatively shallow wells help drive exploration in the farm belt where an average well produces 40-50 barrels-a-day over a 15-20 year life span. Vintage Exploration, which has about 20 producing wells, is one of many small oil companies operating in the region. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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Hawley said when the Senate convenes on Monday, he will introduce legislation aimed at turning on domestic energy production.

“On Monday, I will introduce legislation to open back up American energy production in this country 100 percent,” Hawley said. “Put people back to work. Get the oil flowing. Get the natural gas pumping. Get the biofuels going.”

“If you want to send a message to Vladimir Putin, here’s a message to send him,” Hawley said. “’We’re going to be the ones who supply the oil and gas to the world. We’re going to shut down your energy sector and we’re going to open ours up like you’ve never seen it before.’ That’s the message we ought to send. That’s a message of American strength.”


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On Friday, Hawley sent out the details of his American Energy Independence Act of 2022:

  • Assert that it is the official policy of the United States to achieve full energy independence and low energy costs for its citizens in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
  • Instruct federal agencies to identify and rescind existing regulations that have the effect of reducing American energy independence, bars new rules that reduce energy security or raise energy prices, and directs agencies to work to achieve energy independence by 2024.
  • Ease the regulatory burden on energy companies engaged in fracking.
  • Restore the permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline after its cancellation by the Biden Administration and eases the process for constructing new pipelines.
  • Defund the United States’ contributions to any provisions of the Paris Climate Agreement.
  • Rescind the Biden Administration’s moratorium on oil and natural gas leases on public lands.
  • Lower the “social cost of carbon” to $0 per ton to focus government standards on boosting domestic energy production, rather than climate change.

“The Biden Administration’s energy priorities are completely backwards, and now, working Americans are paying the price,” Hawley said in the announcement. “The United States cannot afford to be energy dependent on our enemies. We must reopen domestic energy production full throttle, restore our energy independence, and reverse this policy of American energy surrender.”

“Shortly after coming into office, President Biden cancelled the Keystone XL Pipeline, blocked new oil and gas leases, issued regulations designed to stymie domestic energy investment, and advocated for measures that focus more on Green New Deal priorities than on American security,” the announcement said.

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