Afternoon TEA: Methane tax for thee, but not for Xi
Did you know?
Among the many costly proposals being floated by the Biden Administration and Green New Dealers in Washington is a “methane tax” on oil and natural gas facilities. That’s right, just as energy prices are skyrocketing and we are heading into winter, they are talking about making it even costlier to fill up your car with gas and heat your home.
Though driving up costs on every day Americans is the most infuriating effect, there is real irony in how far these voices are willing to go to vilify our own American domestic energy production. The fact is we have lowered emissions and improved our air quality BECAUSE of increased use of natural gas and technologies like hydraulic fracturing.
Perhaps the best way to illustrate the absurdity of these attacks on America’s domestic energy is to look at how the rest of the world handles their energy production. A tremendous contrast to American environmental standards can be found in a seemingly unlikely place—Turkmenistan. The little-known former Soviet republic has the fourth largest natural gas reserve in the world. And of the 50 most severe methane releases since 2019, Turkmenistan was responsible for 31 of them. The country is home to the “Gates of Hell,” a 70-meter-wide crater that has been burning for decades, since a 1970s natural gas drilling accident.
In the reclusive former Soviet republic run by an eccentric dictator, energy infrastructure is state-owned and has likely not been updated since the Soviet era. There is little interest in environmental enforcement. And, unsurprisingly, Turkmenistan has only one major customer for its environmentally destructive operation—China. In a mind-bending twist of logic, China is actually counting on Turkmen gas to fuel its move away from coal and its professed emission reductions goal.
(President Xi of China (right) poses with Turkmenistan President Berdimuhamedow)
This is the state of energy production and environmental standards in other parts of the world. Yet, the Biden administration is increasingly empowering these foreign energy operations with calls for more oil supply from OPEC, support for Russian pipelines and a drive toward renewable energy that relies on rare earth minerals from polluted Chinese mines.
American energy producers and consumers are being punished with the threat of higher taxes and higher costs, while polluting foreign nations reap the benefits. The American energy industry is not the villain Green New Dealers would have you believe. They are our partners in building our American energy independence and providing American families with clean, low-cost energy. We are best served when we get our energy here, at home, and we should be encouraging that continued American energy success not trying to tax it out of existence.