The Biden administration wasted no time launching a full-scale assault on the oil and gas industry. Through executive decree, President Biden is enacting job-killing energy policies that send production overseas and injure America’s economy.

We have gone from a President who puts America first to a President who puts America last. Sadly, this is only the beginning. In the first two weeks, we’ve seen the administration revoke permits for the Keystone XL pipeline, enact a drilling moratorium for federal lands and waters, rejoin the misguided Paris Agreement, and begin implementing Green New Deal standards. The resurgence of these Obama-era policies will have the same outcome now as they did then, the destruction of American jobs, higher energy costs, and undermining global security interests. Those who will benefit the most include China and Russia.

Heading into 2021, the oil and gas industry was already struggling. The global pandemic and worldwide economic lockdowns had greatly reduced energy demands. However, the industry was beginning to rebound and new construction projects, like the Keystone XL pipeline, were in progress. During these troubled times, the new administration should be taking action to encourage growth, create new jobs, and bolster America’s energy security. However, the Biden administration’s actions not only kill thousands of existing jobs but also ensure that pre-pandemic production levels never return.

President Biden seems determined to destroy America’s energy industry permanently. If fully enacted, the radical Biden climate agenda will cost upward of 6 million American jobs and cost the U.S. economy trillions of dollars in productivity. The oil and gas industry is an integral part of our economy, and the plastics and other common materials it generates touch every aspect of our modern society. We can neither afford nor discount the damage that comes from eliminating domestic energy jobs and production.

This shift in policy has been carried out in the name of conservation and environmentalism. However, the argument that this helps our climate is absurd. American innovation is driving emissions reduction worldwide. We are the global leader in this effort, in large part because of the advent of LNG. Private companies are running cleaner operations. That’s not happening through government mandates. It’s happening because innovation is good for business. The result is cleaner, more efficient fuel production.

Rejoining the Paris Agreement undercuts those efforts. The agreement gives countries like China, India, and Russia a free pass while inflicting harm to America’s economic competitiveness. Oil and gas production won’t end, it will only move overseas where it is far less regulated. Sending energy production to countries with horrible ecological records is the worst thing we can do for the climate. It’s not just bad for America, it’s bad for the world.

In the case of Louisiana, oil and gas production is essential to both the state’s economic and environmental interests. The Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act’s (GOMESA) revenue sharing provision is the primary financer of Louisiana’s coastal restoration efforts. Flood protection, marsh restoration, and other mitigation projects across the state rely on federal dollars through GOMESA. With a loss or the elimination of domestic energy production, that funding source dries up and conservation efforts suffer.

Further, energy security is national security. In recent years, America has become a net energy exporter. This has generated energy independence and increased American influence abroad. Under President Trump’s leadership, the United States expanded LNG export agreements with countries in Europe and East Asia. Much of that product will flow through Southwest Louisiana’s export terminals, which creates jobs and economic benefits here at home. Abroad, those exports are also strategically important. American LNG provides foreign nations with cleaner, more efficient fuel sources. It also serves as a counter to Russian and Chinese influence, while strengthening U.S. relationships within those regions.

The importance of the American energy industry cannot be overstated. Oil and gas production is critical to both the United States’ domestic and international interests. I would hope the Biden administration reverses course before its assault on American energy progresses beyond a point of no return. However, that seems unlikely.

In Congress, I will continue to push back against this war on oil and gas. My office will pursue every legally available action and support legislation that protects American workers and their livelihoods. We are battling to protect the gains achieved under President Trump. This battle is only beginning. I’m in the fight.

Congressman Clay Higgins represents Louisiana’s 3rd District in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Op-Ed in The Daily Advertiser

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