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PRESS RELEASE: Heartland Institute Energy Experts React to Biden Proposal to Ban Drilling on Federal Land

January 26, 2021

‘Has there ever been a president who has destroyed more blue-collar jobs at the flick of his wrist at the start of his term than Scranton Joe?’

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, IL (January 26, 2021) – President Joe Biden is expected to sign an executive order Wednesday that would stop new oil and gas leasing on federal land, keeping a promise he made on the campaign trail.

The following statements from energy policy experts at The Heartland Institute – a free-market think tank – may be used for attribution. For more comments, refer to the contact information below. To book a Heartland guest on your program, please contact Director of Communications Jim Lakely at and 312/377-4000 or (cell) 312/731-9364.

“In one stroke of the pen, Joe Biden intends to surrender U.S. energy dominance to China, Iran, Venezuela, and other hostile nations. Americans will be poorer and less safe as Biden places his faith in these hostile nations benevolently meeting our energy needs.”

James Taylor
The Heartland Institute

“This isn't a surprising move, as Biden said over and over again on the campaign trail that he was going to do this. Has there ever been a president who has destroyed more blue-collar jobs at the flick of his wrist at the start of his term of office than Scranton Joe?

“Beyond the jobs, you’re going to see billions of dollars in losses in income, tax revenue, and value added disappear. This tax revenue goes to pay for education, health care, public services like police and fire departments, etc., in areas where this drilling takes place—areas that are primarily rural and really need the money. But the Democratic Party gave up on rural voters long ago, so their lives and livelihoods can be sacrificed to appease the baying mobs of urban, coastal blue checks calling out for costly, counterproductive energy policy initiatives like this.”

Tim Benson
Policy Analyst
The Heartland Institute

“The United Nations released its Emissions Gap Report 2020 in December and it showed that the United States greenhouse gas emissions have declined since 2008 and continue to do so while those of China, India, and Russia continue to rise.

“Quarantining our own energy supply to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions while other countries continue trending upwards unfettered, despite making unenforceable pledges to the Paris Climate Accord, is a recipe for disaster. We’ll be trading our own energy security for climate virtue signaling while the rest of the world laughs and sells us oil at inflated prices.”

Anthony Watts
Senior Fellow
The Heartland Institute


“This is a down payment on Biden's promise to ban new oil and gas development on public lands. The move may please his radical environmental base, but it will do nothing to prevent climate change. Worse still, it will reduce federal and state revenues and harm the United States economically, cost people jobs, undermine the energy independence the Trump administration fostered, and reduce America's geopolitical influence. Energy costs will rise, people will be hurt, and only politically connected green energy profiteers and their bought and paid for political lapdogs will benefit.

H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D.
Senior Fellow, Environment & Energy Policy
The Heartland Institute
Managing Editor, Environment & Climate News

The Heartland Institute is a national nonprofit organization founded in 1984 and headquartered in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. For more information, visit our website or call 312/377-4000.

Article Tags
James Taylor is president of The Heartland Institute.
H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D., is the Director of the Arthur B. Robinson Center on Climate and Environmental Policy and the managing editor of Environment & Climate News.
Tim Benson joined The Heartland Institute in September 2015 as a policy analyst in the Government Relations Department. @HeartlandGR
Anthony Watts is a senior fellow for environment and climate at The Heartland Institute. @wattsupwiththat
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