We hope you had a Happy Valentine’s Day, dear readers, and could spend some time yesterday with someone who loves you as much as the Heartland Institute loves prostrating itself for fossil fuels (and tobacco).
Last week, Haris Alic at the Washington Times demonstrated conservative media’s willingness to turn thin press releases with no substance into “news” and covered a “report” by the Heartland Institute that, according to the headline “finds Biden’s climate policies added $1,000 to Americans’ energy bills in 2021.”
Which is certainly an interesting take, because… what climate policies? There has been this lil’ ol’ global pandemic that caused energy prices and production to crater in 2020, triggering the current rise in prices as the world comes back online and the fossil fuel industry profits mightily when taking its price volatility out on consumers, but that seems to have escaped the attention of the keen thinkers at Heartland.
Heartland’s so-called report points to price increases for electricity, industrial energy, home heating oil and natural gas, and then blames “Joe Biden’s radical energy and climate policies” for “imposing a massive regressive tax on American households, and especially America’s poorest families,” per a quote from Heartland president James Taylor.
What policies? Well Alic doesn’t exactly explain, but points to the Keystone XL cancellation, limits on new oil and gas drilling on federal lands, and “new regulations on greenhouse gas emissions.”
And like a dog returning to its vomit, Heartland posted about the Washington Times story on its ClimateRealism blog. It is here we can find a link to the “report” Alic covered but didn’t bother linking readers to so they could read about it for themselves.
As it turns out the “report” or “study,” as Alic and Heartland call it, is by no measure a piece of scholarship published in a journal, as “study” suggests, or an in-depth examination of an issue otherwise published, as “report” would suggest. Instead, it’s described by Heartland’s own URL as a “one pager”, and is nothing more than a list of energy price increase stats, followed by a list of “notable policies” the “Biden administration has taken that have increased energy costs.” The one-pager says there are “dozens of actions,” but apparently they could only think of eight, and even those would mostly require time travel to have any impact on 2021’s energy prices.
The list starts with “canceling the Keystone XL pipeline,” which would of course have done nothing to help American energy consumers now, as it would have simply connected Canadian oil to the global export market, and not served US customers specifically. Meaning its oil would be prey to all the same global forces driving up prices now. (And no, they don’t try to crunch the numbers to determine what infinitesimal influence the added supply from KXL, which is still reaching markets through other means of transport, would have had on prices. That’s what a study or report would do!)
Then, Heartland thinks the Biden administration’s moves “restricting drilling in parts of the Arctic Ocean, Bering Sea, and federal lands,” “placing a moratorium on new oil and gas leases on federal land” and “rescinding energy production leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge” have somehow led to the massive increase in costs of fossil fuels, despite the fact that the “new” oil and gas leases would take years to develop and start producing and the industry is sitting on thousands of unused acres it could be developing. Plus, Biden clearly has not stopped oil drilling on public lands, and was criticized when he auctioned off energy production leases on federal lands!
Then Heartland references “stringent new regulations on methane emissions” and “classifying residual water from oil and gas drilling as toxic waste,” but the methane rules were only proposed in November of 2021 and we can’t seem to find anything at all about labeling waste water laden with radioactive toxic chemicals as toxic waste.
Similarly, they list the “plans to close nearly half of the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska,” and that the administration is reportedly “considering hiking royalties paid to the federal government by fossil-fuel companies.”
How do proposed rules in the 11th month of the year and plans to not allow for future development and considerations of future royalty payment increases cause an increase in 2021’s energy prices? Heartland can’t explain Biden’s apparent power to warp the space-time continuum, but surely that’s only because that’s when their one-pager ran out. If only they had more space, no doubt they could explain how the price volatility of fossil fuels is somehow Biden’s fault for thinking about doing something about climate change.