How today's global anti-fossil-fuel agenda is crippling American small businesses

By Alex Epstein

My testimony to the House Committee on Small Business, Subcommittee on Rural Development, Energy, and Supply Chains on September 28, 2023.

Originally published on Sep 30, 2023

Here is the written testimony I submitted.

Because energy is a major input in every business, the lower cost and more reliable energy is, the lower cost and more reliable everything is. The higher cost and less reliable energy is, the less efficient and less competitive US businesses, including small businesses, are.

Today we're hearing how irrational policies are crippling one crucial area of the energy business: offshore oil production, which provides almost 1/6th of our domestic oil production—production without which gasoline would be far more expensive and far, far less secure.1 What I would like to do today is put the irrational attack on offshore drilling in its broader context, which is that it is just a tiny piece of today's rabidly irrational global anti-fossil-fuel agenda—an agenda that poses as rational and scientific but is actually the opposite.2

The dozens of discrete attacks of the Biden Administration on the fossil fuel industry are not isolated incidents; they are all attempts to impose today's global anti-fossil-fuel agenda, which says that fossil fuel use must be essentially eliminated by the year 2050.

At the beginning of his administration, President Biden announced a US “whole of government” approach to “climate change”—which in practice means an overarching commitment to rapidly eliminate fossil fuels. Every agency was told to figure out new ways to attack fossil fuels.3 The Biden administration is systematically committed to attacking fossil fuels on 4 fronts, every one of which drives higher cost and lower reliability:

  1. Fossil fuel investment
  2. Fossil fuel production
  3. Fossil fuel transport
  4. Fossil fuel use, e.g. electricity generation

The costs of punishing fossil fuel investment

Fossil fuel investments are long-term commitments that require confidence in a payoff. Our government, often colluding with activists, incessantly discourages fossil fuel investments directly and by threatening the industry’s future.

The Federal government has been a major driver of ESG anti-fossil-fuel climate policies, with regulators pressuring financial institutions to declare their commitment to getting off fossil fuels. The SEC’s recent “climate disclosure rules” are taking the damage to the next level.4 SEC proposes rules to enhance and standardize climate-related disclosures for investors

The costs of punishing fossil fuel production

Punishing restrictions and onerous taxes specifically on fossil fuel production are common in developed countries, suppressing supply from the freest nations on the globe.

One of the many punishments President Biden has inflicted on the supposedly-preferred fossil fuel industry was his early moratorium on issuing oil and gas leases on Federal lands. And the Biden administration continues to delay and decline holding lease sales.5

Federal Oil leases slow to a trickle under Biden

The costs of punishing fossil fuel transport

One of the most effective ways of punishing the fossil fuel industry has been attacking critical transport infrastructure, including pipelines and export/import facilities, with delays, regulations, and lawsuits.

Biden’s destruction of the Keystone XL pipeline inhibited Canada from bringing oil to market, which prevented Canada from using its vast oil deposits to their full potential—meaning lower global supply and higher prices for oil.6

Perhaps our most destructive way of singling out fossil fuel transport for punishment has been killing natural gas pipelines.

We have a virtually limitless supply of gas and an incredible ability to ramp up production.

But we’re blocking pipeline after pipeline.7

Cancelled pipelines Vs Blocked + Cancelled pipelines

The costs of punishing fossil fuel use

Our government's “whole of government” attack on fossil fuels seeks out every way it can to punish fossil fuel use.

Perhaps the most destructive form of this is punishing reliable, fossil-fueled electricity generation and thereby destroying our grid.

As a Californian, I am well aware of the costs of punishing fossil fuel electricity generation. Prematurely shutting down vital fossil fuel plants led to devastating statewide blackouts in 2020.8

And 5 days after pledging to go all-EVs, Newsom told us there wasn't enough power to charge our EVs.9

Flex Alert Conservation Actions

Nationally, we’re in an electricity crisis, with reliable power plants shutting down far faster than they are being built.10

And yet the Biden EPA plans to make things much worse with 7 policies that gravely threaten 10-20% of our reliable capacity in the next 7 years.11

Every one of the hundreds of actions that the Biden Administration takes in the name of its “whole of government” anti-fossil-fuel agenda is harmful to American businesses, including small businesses, who have to struggle with higher energy costs and lower reliability.

The lie that solar and wind can rapidly replace fossil fuels

The anti-fossil-fuel agenda pretends it's not harming us by claiming, in contradiction to all evidence, that rapidly eliminating fossil fuels won't make energy more expensive and less reliable—because unreliable solar and wind can somehow replace fossil fuels.

If solar and wind could actually replace fossil fuels, they wouldn't need massive government punishments of fossil fuels plus massive government preferences of their own—mandates, subsidies, and no penalty for unreliability.12

If solar and wind could actually replace fossil fuels, China, which dominates the production of solar and wind components, wouldn't be using coal to produce these components—and wouldn't have over 300 planned new coal plants designed to last over 40 years.13

How to fight back against the global anti-fossil-fuel agenda

To counter the global anti-fossil-fuel agenda, American businesses need to use their powerful voices to do two things above all:

  1. Refute the falsehood that fossil fuels are bringing about climate apocalypse
  2. Offer a pro-freedom energy agenda

In my supplemental testimony, I have included a document, “Countering the world's rigged conversation about energy and climate,” that thoroughly exposes the faulty thinking methods and abuse of science behind the falsehood that fossil fuels are bringing about climate apocalypse.

In my supplemental testimony, I have also included a document, “The Energy Freedom Platform,” that lays out a positive, pro-human, pro-science, pro-freedom energy agenda based on liberating our ability to empower the world using fossil fuels and to develop truly cost-effective alternatives.

My goal in testifying and answering your questions today, as well as in my work more broadly, is to give pro-freedom legislators, businesses, and other influencers the resources they need to fight for the energy freedom that all Americans and our businesses need to flourish.


  1. U.S. Energy Information Administration - Oil and petroleum products explained, Where our oil comes from

  2. Alex Epstein - How a fake climate emergency created a real energy emergency

  3. “The order establishes the National Climate Task Force, assembling leaders from across 21 federal agencies and departments to enable a whole-of-government approach to combatting the climate crisis.”
    The White House - FACT SHEET: President Biden Takes Executive Actions to Tackle the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad, Create Jobs, and Restore Scientific Integrity Across Federal Government, January 27, 2021

  4. SEC - SEC Proposes Rules to Enhance and Standardize Climate-Related Disclosures for Investors

  5. WSJ - Federal Oil Leases Slow to a Trickle Under Biden

    The White House - Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis

  6. CNBC - Keystone pipeline officially canceled after Biden revokes key permit

     Competitive Enterprise Institute - Lessons from the Demise of ANWR and Keystone XL

  7. EQT - Nationwide Poll Shows Nearly 70% of All Voters Support Increasing Natural Gas Production

  8. Alex Epstein - Talking Points on California Blackouts

  9. The Babylon Bee - State With No Electricity Orders Everyone To Drive Cars That Run On Electricity

    CAISO - California ISO issues Flex Alert for today, Aug. 31 - California asks residents to avoid charging electric cars amid intense heat wave

  10. Alex Epstein - Electricity Emergency

  11. Alex Epstein - The EPA vs. the grid

  12. Alex Epstein - The Myth of Fossil Fuel Subsidies

  13. Global Energy Monitor - Global Coal Plant Tracker