By Alex Lasry
We have all seen gas prices rise as a result of Vladimir Putin’s war of aggression in Ukraine. Because of Putin’s actions, there is less oil getting into the market and prices have risen as a result. The simple truth is that right now, the actions of a dictator on the other side of the world are having a real impact on American families.
Gas prices have increased nearly one dollar since the beginning of the year, largely because President Joe Biden banned the import of Russian oil to punish Putin for his actions in Ukraine. The president’s actions have been met with bipartisan support from Congress, but they also came with a cost that all Americans are seeing at the pump.
This week, I felt encouraged to see Biden put in place an expansive two-part plan to help increase the supply of oil in the short term and renew the Democrats’ promise to work towards true American energy independence through renewable energy. We can reduce the demand for oil while also creating good clean energy union jobs going forward.
The president is addressing short term supply issues by authorizing an unprecedented release from America’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve. This is the largest release of oil reserves in history, adding one million additional barrels into the market every day for the next six months.
Republicans like Sen. Ron Johnson want you to believe that the reason for high gas prices is that Biden is standing in the way of increased domestic oil and gas production.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
The United States is now the largest oil producer in the world and there is more domestic oil and natural gas production under Biden than there was under Donald Trump.
Big oil companies are also taking advantage of the current situation to reap unfathomable profits. They are currently sitting on more than 12 million acres of federal lands with 9,000 unused but already-approved permits for oil production. The only thing standing in the way of them increasing domestic oil production is their greed.
Increasing oil production in this current crisis is a short-term fix, but not the long-term solution we need. We must aggressively transition to green energy and eliminate our dependence on gas and oil going forward. True energy independence for America will only come by moving to clean energy.
Congress needs to act now to help speed the transition to clean energy that is made in America. We need to invest in creating millions of good-paying union jobs in clean, green industries. This is an unprecedented opportunity to ensure that the green manufacturing jobs of the future are located right here in Wisconsin. We have the skilled workforce and the know-how to do this work better than any place in the world.
Democrats have been trying to move our country toward true energy independence through increased renewable energy production for years, but Republicans like Johnson have fought to stop it every step of the way, worrying about helping their friends in Big Oil instead of helping working people.
We need Congress to help put more money in working people’s pockets right now. That’s why one of the first plans I rolled out in my campaign addressed just that. This was a problem before the Putin price hikes, and the need for immediate action has only gotten more critical.
Unfortunately, Wisconsin only has one Senator in Tammy Baldwin that is fighting on our behalf. I am running for Senate to give Tammy a true partner in Washington, fighting for you and your families every day.