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Biden’s Burdensome Regulations are Shutting Down American Refineries


11.22.22

On President Biden’s first day in office, he shut down the Keystone XL pipeline and eliminated 11,000 good paying American jobs with the stroke of a pen.  

This sent a signal—the wrong signal—that the Biden administration would make it harder for American energy producers, refiners, and workers to unleash domestic production.  

Cancelling the Keystone XL pipeline was only the first of many attacks from this administration on American energy production. Since then, President Biden’s anti-American energy actions have included: 

  • Suspending oil and gas leasing on federal lands 
  • Delaying permits for energy infrastructure and pipelines 
  • Draining our strategic petroleum reserves, compromising both our energy and national security 
  • Begging foreign regimes like Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Venezuela for more oil 
  • Emboldening Putin with Nord Stream II 

President Biden’s commitment to “no more drilling”—stated as recently as this month at a political event—and his administration’s growing list of burdensome executive proposals have caused U.S. refining capacity to decrease two years in a row.

As reported by Forbes, “If you are a refiner forecasting billions in losses—and you require massive investments in order to keep your refinery operating safely and in compliance with the laws—you may very well make the decision to close down.” 

Yet recently, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has continued taking steps to enhance the regulatory burden on American refineries, which will make gas even more unaffordable for people.  

That’s why E&C Republican Leader Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) co-authored a letter to President Biden raising concerns about the negative impacts of the EPA’s new Risk Management Program (RMP) proposal, particularly on the refining industry. This proposal could jeopardize as much as half of the United States’ refining capacity. Here are several highlights from the letter: 

“This regulatory proposal, the scope of which exceeds the controversial rule finalized by the Obama EPA, will do little to nothing to improve workplace safety but instead drastically raise fuel costs—contrary to President Biden’s promise to ‘use every tool’ at the Administration’s disposal to lower the price of gasoline for the average American.

“The Risk Management Program (RMP) has helped industry and regulators form consensus on process safety standards and best practices, while also appropriately communicating levels of risk to the public. However, EPA’s recently proposed rule departs from prior practice for the RMP program, raising questions about how useful this rule will be in protecting workers and the public. EPA’s proposal adds costly, burdensome, and ineffective requirements on regulated facilities, including domestic fuel refiners that are not comparable with the alleged safety benefits.” 

[…] 

“If implemented as proposed, we understand that this rule has the potential to significantly impede domestic gasoline production, impacting supply chains and increasing costs for consumers. In other words, this rule will be directly responsible for increasing consumer prices at the pump and exacerbating America’s high inflation rate.” 

[…] 

“Importantly, many of the proposed rule’s suggested ‘alternatives’ have not been demonstrated at scale and EPA’s proposal does not discuss the risks associated with alternative technologies. Risk shifting to alternative technology is inappropriate without the Agency focusing a critical lens on potential adverse consequences of the replacements.” 

[…] 

“Any proposed update to the RMP must be supported by a strong data and evidence, rather than driven by ideology. It must also not compromise safety nor adversely impact US energy and economic security.” 

Despite what the EPA claims, this proposed RMP regulation will do little to improve workplace safety. Instead, it will hurt domestic fuel refiners and cause already expensive gas prices to surge even higher. Hardworking Americans are already suffering under 40-year high inflation rates—they can’t afford more pain at the pump. 

The last thing Americans need is an energy transition forced on them through government regulations and subsidies that favor foreign sources of energy over the abundant supplies we have right here in the U.S.  

If President Biden wants to make good on his promise to “use every tool” to lower the cost of gas, he needs to borrow some of our tools that would end his war on American energy producers, refiners, and workers.  

Energy and Commerce Republicans will cut the red tape and help flip the switch to unleash more American energy production, build energy infrastructure, and increase our refining capacity. This is the best way to fight inflation, reduce emissions, and improve people’s quality of life. 

CLICK HERE to read the full letter to the EPA.

CLICK HERE to read more about E&C Republican solutions. 

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