Senate District 20
Tim Schaffer
Biden and the Bear
A Guest Column by State Senator Tim Schaffer
March 11, 2022

During his first day in office, President Joe Biden cancelled the permit for building the Keystone XL pipeline, a 1,209-mile addition to the already completed southern leg which would have run from Hardisty, Alberta, Canada to Steele City, Nebraska, transporting 510,000 barrels of crude oil per day for American's use.

The cancellation of Keystone XL was disastrous to American energy independence, and now, with one of the world’s largest exporters of oil flexing its power through war, America is at a major disadvantage. The West now finds itself in the slowly clenching jaws of the Russian Bear.

You don’t need to have a PhD in foreign affairs or petroleum engineering to understand the critical national security issue raised by allowing Russia and other terror-linked countries to basically run our country’s gas stations.

In 2021, U.S. imports of Russian crude oil rose to nearly 70 million barrels through the first 11 months. While this represents only 3.1% of the total U.S. crude imports over the period, it’s value of $4.7 billion, in addition to $12.8 billion of other Russian petroleum products, represents money and jobs lost at home.

Continued reliance on foreign oil could spell disaster, and all we have to do is look to Europe to see a future where the U.S. is not energy independent.

European countries in 2020 represented 53% of all oil exports from Russia, with over 80% of Russian pipeline natural gas exports serving Europe. Now, with war in the Ukraine as Russia seeks to expand its territory, the European addiction to Russian oil and gas has gripped the EU like the Russian Bear from the Iron Curtain.

Despite all the sanctions and support of the Ukraine, European countries find themselves in the vice grip of Vladimir Putin’s energy industry. Germany recently announced that they will not ban the import of Russian gas and oil with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz outright admitting that Europe cannot secure their energy supply in any other way.

This cannot be the future for the United States. We should never fund a communist country’s war against an independent nation. The oil and gas industry is far too critical to our economy to be left behind while renewable energies are being developed.

Here in Ohio, oil and gas supported over 375,000 jobs in 2019 and provided $24.6 billion in wages. These include construction, manufacturing, and retail, netting the state $58.7 billion in economic impact.

A strong America means an energy independent America, free of dependence on foreign energy.

Hard-working Ohioans should never face the short sighted, dangerous, incompetency caused by the dependence on foreign oil. American oil production will give us the independence we need from Russian influence.
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