WASHINGTON, DC – The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need to strengthen not only the U.S. medical and telecommunications supply chains, but also, as Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH) points out in an op-ed in The Intelligencer, America’s energy independence.
Johnson argues that America’s energy supply chain needs protecting, especially as Russia and Saudi Arabia are chipping away at our market share globally by pumping low-cost oil into the market. One way to help, Johnson proposes, is to purchase oil while it is cheap from U.S. producers to fill the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR).
“The choice is clear: we can either lead, or be led by our adversaries. I choose to lead, along with President Trump and Republicans in Congress — for Ohioans and for all Americans,” wrote Johnson in the op-ed.
Protecting U.S. Energy Industry, American Workers
By: Rep. Bill Johnson
April 18, 2020
The hardworking men and women in America’s energy industry not only power our homes and fuel our cars and trucks across Ohio and the nation — they also play a powerful role in maintaining America’s leadership on the world stage. As the COVID-19 pandemic depresses economies around the world and inflicts damage here at home, the price of oil has dropped to historic lows.
While this may sound good for gasoline prices at the pump, it has begun to harm American jobs and threaten our position as the world’s leading oil producer. Making matters worse, Saudi Arabia and Russia are flooding the market with cheap oil, not only to manipulate the global oil market but also to seize market share from the United States. Russia and the Saudis want to put American energy producers, and the millions of men and women who work for them, out of business.
Just as we have seen the need to reduce our reliance on China for our medical equipment and drug supply chain during COVID-19, we must also protect our domestic energy supply chain. We cannot allow Saudi Arabia and Russia to exploit this opportunity to manipulate oil markets and hurt American energy producers.
The choice is clear: we can either lead, or be led by our adversaries. I choose to lead, along with President Trump and Republicans in Congress — for Ohioans and for all Americans.
We have all seen how Saudi Arabia and Russia’s recent efforts to manipulate our global oil markets impacted America’s energy sector. Their price war is happening half a world away, but their flooding of cheap oil into the global market quickly impacted our small and mid-size shale producers here at home, causing companies to lower production and cut costs — and, that means American jobs are at risk. A tentative truce just took effect, but it doesn’t change the fact that we must remain in the driver’s seat and ensure America can continue to supply and consume its own energy while demand is low.
And, we must keep energy operations running and Americans safe during the coronavirus outbreak.
One way to keep our operations running is for the federal government to buy oil now from domestic producers, when it’s selling at historic lows, in order to top off our Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), the largest stockpile of oil in the world. This is common sense. The president supported this, the Senate majority supported this, as did House Republicans. But Speaker Pelosi blocked it, saying she would only allow it if her Green New Deal policies were approved.
Our energy industry and its workers are essential — to keep the lights on when we are staying in and to keep trucks delivering essential goods across the country. We must put partisan political games aside and protect our energy jobs, to avoid negative economic, employment, and national security impacts that could last well beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.
CLICK HERE to read the op-ed.