The U.S. can’t support Ukraine and still rely on Russian oil.
The Russo-Ukrainian war has once again brought with it a new aspect that government officials all over the world must wrestle with, and for President Biden, the decision is larger than most.
Russia is the third-largest oil-producing country in the world, and the US imports roughly 540,000 barrels a day from Russia, while Europe gets 40% of its oil from Russia. For two regions trying their best to socially and economically isolate Russia to show support of Ukraine, every barrel purchased is doing just the opposite.
The best thing to do in response to the war is for the United States to completely stop importing oil from Russia, and the best way to do that is to reopen some of the drilling sites Biden previously closed. Right behind Russia in oil production is Canada, which has the ability to produce enough oil for the United States to cut off its dependence on Russia. However, the pipeline that would allow that to happen was immediately shut down the day Biden took office due to environmental factors. The Keystone Pipeline, a pipeline that runs from Alberta, Canada to Steele City, Nebraska, has the ability to bring in approximately 830,000 barrels of oil a day. This would be a significant hit in revenue for Russia since this large supply could also be exported to Europe, allowing them to also cut ties.
Biden and the Executive Branch are still grappling with opening back up the pipeline, something that has previously been such a political subject throughout three different administrations. The motive behind closing it and not reopening is to push green energy, electric cars and other alternatives to fossil fuels to combat the rapidly deteriorating environment. The immediate shutdown of the pipeline and multiple other drilling sites in the US was far too rapid given the limited amount of green energy and the dependence Americans still have on oil. If decreasing fossil fuels is something essential to help the environment, it must be done synonymously with the slow production of new green energy. Without the internal drilling sites, the US is dependent on Russia and Saudi Arabia.
Officials must also look at the pipeline not just through the same light they always have in the past — that the pipeline is an environmental issue — but from a changed and updated mindset now that the pipeline plays into the world conflicts and economy.
Democrats and Republicans of the Congress attempted to do just that, but with little response from the White House. Congress is looking to push a bill that bans importing oil from Russia. If a bill passes that abstains from buying Russia’s oil, there needs to be an alternative plan in place to replace that oil. The reopening of the Keystone Pipeline could fill that void, along with a large portion of Europe’s Russian oil.
The United States is sending resources and firepower to Ukraine and doing what they can to show support, from banning Russian athletes to Russian aircrafts from the US. While all of this shows great support, a direct hit to the country’s economy would be a wake-up call to Russian officials.