Guest Essays, Opinion

Demand America be energy independent once again

by Delegate Guy Ward

As a native West Virginian who spent nearly a lifetime devoted to our state’s electrical generation energy industry, I am always alarmed and saddened when higher prices for fuel to heat and light our homes and to operate our cars and trucks affect my fellow West Virginians.

One of my greatest frustrations comes from seeing the impact those prices have on families who spend 20% or more of their income on energy, and especially those who live below the poverty level.

The price of gasoline has risen more than $1 since the day President Biden took his oath of office, and the Ukraine war reminds us of the days when we were in control of our energy security. These latest energy price hikes — never mind the inflation — especially hurt a state like ours, where the poor make up nearly 18% of our population. While I believe West Virginia is doing everything it can to help keep energy prices affordable, the Biden administration is not.

The president’s policies are holding energy producers in our state and elsewhere back. He has halted or has curtailed essential oil and gas pipeline projects. And his regulatory agencies are making it tougher to get projects approved by listening to anti-energy activists who only know how to stop progress, not foster it. We need to open up federal leasing again in the Gulf of Mexico and elsewhere.

I agree with Gov. Justice and former President Trump that we need to make sure our country is energy independent once again, so foreign dictators like Russia’s Vladimir Putin can no longer use energy as a weapon.

Join me in demanding that the Biden administration tap into our state’s rich natural resources to ensure we are free from foreign oil for decades to come.

Guy Ward, of White Hall, represents the 50th District in the West Virginia House of Delegates.