The Biden administration claims proposed changes to appliances such as water heaters will save energy and help the environment. But Stephen Kent, media director for the Consumer Choice Center, has concerns.
Biden admin plans to hit oil & gas companies with new fees
Chris Woodward, AFN.net
Oil and gas companies will pay billions of dollars more to drill on public lands under a new rule from the fossil fuel-hating Biden administration.
The rule, which comes after Democrats passed the Inflation Reduction Act, would raise royalty rates for oil drilling from 12.5% to 16.7%. It will also increase the leasing rates by tens of thousands of dollars.
The increase in oil-drilling costs provides a “fair return to taxpayers, adequately accounts for environmental harms, and discourages speculation by oil and gas companies,” an official with the Department of the Interior said of new rates.
That federal agency estimates the new cost to oil and gas companies is $1.8 billion through 2032, when the new royalty rate is set to expire and will likely be increased, according to an Associated Press story.
Kathleen Sgamma, speaking for Western Energy Alliance, tells AFN oil and gas companies are concerned about more than just paying more for royalty rates.
"Rather than just stopping there,” she says of the Biden administration, “they're going further and adding in new bonding requirements, and making permits less flexible so that they will discourage production on federal lands."
A 60-day public comment period on the proposed rule has opened up and Western Energy Alliance plans to share its views, but Sgamma says realistically WEA is fighting an “environmental agenda” that will ignore its concerns and complaints.
"You just have to think about people who actually do not coast every month with income in their bank account, who are actually living paycheck to paycheck," he tells AFN. "Study after study – and consumer reports – have shown that most Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, are not saving money, and in fact are ringing up incredible amounts of consumer debt on their credit cards these days.
"And you can bet your dollar that people are going to be adding appliances to their list [of purchases] when these rules go through from the Biden administration."
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Monday that regulations will not take place for several years, adding that changes will help Americans save money.
Pierre: "If it is enacted, it would not take into effect until 2029. So, let's not forget that. If and when it is enacted, it's going to help save consumers about $11 billion a year."
Kent, though, has one word for this: misdirection.
"The idea that taxpayers as a whole are going to save money on this effort is completely put off by the fact that individual Americans, everyday people with real concerns when it comes to their expenses … are going to end up spending more in the short-term on these appliances to run the basic needs of their home," he argues.
And many of those consumers who end up turning to their credit card for such purchases, says Kent, are going to get "fleeced" by high interest rates and find themselves behind on payments. "And America is not better off when everyday people cannot pay their bills," he adds.