Sen. Tommy Tuberville and others in Congress are attempting to address growing concerns of foreign energy dependence in light of the recent conflict in Ukraine. 

Tuberville joins U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) in introducing the American Energy Independence Act (AEIA) of 2022, which attempts to reverse President Joe Biden’s policies in the American energy sector and return American energy to total production.

“To be strong and free as a nation, we must be energy independent," said Hawley. "My bill will reverse Joe Biden’s disastrous energy surrender that has allowed Russian energy dominance and instead open up American production full-throttle. To stand up to aggressors like Vladimir Putin, we can and we must work to power our nation and the world.”

The bill is co-sponsored by U.S. Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Bill Hagerty (R-TN). Companion legislation has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-TX-D13).

"Pushing unsustainable energy policies here at home has led us to become dependent on energy abroad, and our country is paying the price for the administration’s decisions,” Tuberville said. “The United States is an energy-rich nation, but we need to have smart policies in place to harness that energy and regain energy independence.”

According to AAA, oil and gas prices have skyrocketed over the past year. The national average for a gallon of gas –as of today– is $3.61, which is 26 cents more than a month ago and 90 cents more than a year ago.

The proposed legislation seeks to dramatically reduce regulations on domestic oil procedures in an attempt to stimulate domestic oil production. However, no alternative forms of energy production have been suggested by any of the bill's sponsors.

Energy independence has been an increasingly relevant discussion amongst politicians and citizens across the state and the nation.

“Russia is one of the leading oil producers globally, behind only the United States and Saudi Arabia,” Andrew Gross, AAA spokesperson, said. “And if they choose to withhold their oil from the global market, such a move would eventually be reflected in higher gas prices for American drivers.”

There does not seem to be an end in sight for the climbing gas prices since there is no end in sight for the conflict in Ukraine and the sanctions imposed by the U.S on Russia because of that conflict. 

“As the conflict continues, the oil markets will likely respond by continuing to increase the price of crude oil to reflect more risk of disruption to tight global oil supplies this week,” Gross said. “Additionally, EIA [Energy Information Administration] reported that total domestic crude stocks increased by 4.5 million bbl to 416 million bbl. The current stock level is approximately 10 percent lower than mid-February 2021, contributing to pressure on domestic crude prices.”

Alabamians have some of the lowest gas prices in the nation, although there are annually increasing taxes imposed by the state government. 

According to the Alabama AAA, the average price of fuel in Alabama is $3.36, up 27 cents from a month ago and nearly a dollar from a year ago. 

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the price of crude oil rose to over $100 a barrel for the first time since 2014. Tuberville said the Biden Administration has been reluctant to sanction the Russian energy sector due to the United States’ dependence on foreign energy. At the same time, European countries, particularly Germany, are heavily dependent on Russian natural gas. 

Tuberville is critical of Biden canceling the Keystone XL Pipeline, blocking new oil and gas leases, and issuing regulations that Tuberville claims were designed to stymie domestic energy investment. He further claimed that Biden has advocated for measures that focus more on Green New Deal priorities than American security.

The American Energy Independence Act of 2022 seeks to:

  • 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, bar new climate rules that reduce energy security or raise energy prices, and direct 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 ease the process for constructing new pipelines.

  • Defund the United States’ contributions to any provisions of the Paris Climate Agreement. 

  • Promote oil and natural gas leases on federal land following the Biden Administration’s moratorium on such leases. 

  • Terminate the Biden Administration’s new “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) regulation and preserve the Trump Administration’s standards.  

  • Lower the “social cost of carbon” to $0 per ton to focus government standards on boosting domestic energy production, rather than climate change.

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