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Top Dems Urge Biden to Nationalize Oil & Gas Industry

Many Democrats are urging the President to consider nationalizing the oil & gas industry because of Russia, climate change and inflation.

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As the United States is facing a potential shortage of diesel fuel entering the holiday season and climate change legislation has been prioritized in the current administration – ideas of how to combat these issues have gone from quiet whispers to mainstream ideas

What does “nationalization” mean?

When the government nationalizes an industry, it takes control of the industry and operates it. Sometimes it turns to control and ownership back to the free market. Sometimes it does not. In the United States “nationalization” has occurred before with railroads, telephone networks, weapon manufacturing, military aircraft production, coal mining, steel mills, airport security, and others.

But what this proposal means is the takeover of the operations and ownership of the assets of the large fossil fuel extraction corporations. Why? Because the left sees these organizations as an enemy against climate change, and they claim these companies use deception to dominate the market.

Could this really happen?

At a meeting in March of the Senate Energy Committee, which he chairs, West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin was pushing for the 303-mile Mountain Valley Pipeline. He called it “the quickest thing we can get, it’s more energy into the market that’s going to be needed.

“I’ve been preaching to the heavens for a long time on this one. It can be done with the Defense Production Act.”Senator Joe Manchin

“What we do know is that Russia has weaponized energy. They have used it as a geopolitical weapon. The thing I know about an adversary or a bully is if they have a weapon, you better have one that will match it or be better than theirs. And we do, we just haven’t used it,” Manchin said, in reference to American energy stores.

The Defense Production Act (DPA) is different from the all-out Nationalization of an industry. The DPA is limited in scope to increase production. But it can be a slippery slope that leads to what more progressive democrats are calling for.

Bill Becker, former Clinton Department of Energy Regional Director called for the government to nationalize Big Oil.

“That would allow the government to manage the industry’s drawdown, a process the private sector is ignoring.”Bill becker – the hill

Calls for nationalizing fossil fuel firms started in radical Left publications earlier this year, but have now reached the campaign trail. Democratic U.S. Senate Candidate from Wisconsin Tom Nelson and energy expert Jason Bordoff, Dean of Columbia University’s Climate School have both been quoted recently calling for national action against the industry.

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Price control is important to the government for many reasons. Those reasons include a transition to electric vehicles, climate change, inflation, and the war in Ukraine. U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has been working on setting a price cap on what the United States and other countries would pay for Russian oil. It was estimated by analysts with Rapidan Energy that such a price cap could reduce global supplies by 1.5 million barrels per day. Such an amount would create an oil price shock. This would just further complicate the inflation and recession issues the Biden administration is facing.

What does this mean for West Virginia?

West Virginia’s natural gas and oil industry supported 82,000 total jobs across the state’s economy in 2019. West Virginia ranked among the highest states for the percentage of total economic contributions by the natural gas and oil industry, generating $11.2 billion toward the state’s gross domestic product. It is estimated that for every direct oil and gas job in West Virginia, another 1.5 jobs is created indirectly. Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction is the second-largest sector of West Virginia’s economy.

In reality, West Virginia has already been under siege as progressive democrats fight their war on fossil fuels. Under President Obama, Democrats in Congress approved roughly $90 billion in clean energy subsidies in 2009. An investment from the fund helped create Tesla, now a $900 billion international electric car and solar power behemoth that is accelerating the renewable energy transition.

The subsidies from the Biden Inflation Reduction Act is roughly four times bigger, and it stretches over a longer period. This legislation extends for at least 10 years and creates new bonus tax credits for producing solar, wind, and other renewable production in “energy communities” like West Virginia. This investment from the federal government, mixed with other legislation like the semiconductor bill and the infrastructure law shows that the federal government is absolutely committed to leaving fossil fuels, and the faster the better.

A Change Is Gonna Come…

“I was born by the river,” singer Sam Cooke begins his famous song. The song goes on to describe being born poor, knocked down, hard living, being told to not hang around, then deciding to carry on in the hope a change is going to come. That pretty much sums up the plight of Appalachia coal workers and their families.

As West Virginia’s population has decreased and promises of new technology jobs and training never quite come to fruition, it is understandable that West Virginians do not believe in the federal government’s promise of positive change. Historically the solutions offered have been as high as 3,000 jobs promised while the state has lost more than 40,000 coal mining jobs since 2012.

According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, West Virginia lost a higher percentage of its residents than any other state in the nation. Reasons for leaving vary, but a lack of opportunity is by and large the most common explanation.

If the nationalization of the oil and gas industry proceeds, the state will be devastated. The state’s largest job sector is healthcare which in itself is an economic time bomb because of a shrinking – aging population. The nationalization of oil and gas will be quick, and operators who have been barely holding on will close almost overnight. It will leave a financial crisis in the state that has never been experienced and will take generations to recover.

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  • Staff Writer

    From the WV Statewide News Team. Articles depicting “Staff Writer” indicate the content was prepared by several members of the news team.

From the WV Statewide News Team. Articles depicting "Staff Writer" indicate the content was prepared by several members of the news team.

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