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McMaster won't sign on to energy criticism letter

He doesn't want one part of plan: oil rigs off the South Carolina coast


Republican governors bash Biden on energy policy

CHALMETTE, Louisiana — Republican governors banded together Monday to pound away at the Biden administration’s energy policy. In a letter to the White House, 20 GOP state leaders call on the president “to pursue an all-of-the-above energy approach that will promote homegrown energy that benefits all Americans.”

With a diesel refinery outside New Orleans as their backdrop, eight governors held a news conference to discuss their strategy to “unleash American energy,” largely based on talking points from the letter.

Their requests for Biden include broad measures such as easing regulatory pressure on the fossil fuel industry and prioritizing technology. More specifically, the governors want the federal government to expand the number of energy lease sales on and offshore, and for Biden to end his moratorium on permits for liquid natural gas export facilities.

Louisiana Gov. Jeff Landry said there is a direct correlation between consumer inflation and the Biden administration’s approach to energy and environmental policy.

“If the federal government took its foot off of the neck of American energy, we could absolutely lower the cost of everyday goods to American citizens,” Landry said.

Joining Landry at the refinery were North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, Alaska’s Mike Dunleavy, Brian Kemp of Georgia, Chris Sununu from New Hampshire, Oklahoma’s Kevin Stitt and Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin.

Burgum took issue with claims that Biden’s energy policy would benefit the environment, referring to the stance as “a big lie.” Industry efforts to produce cleaner, more efficient energy are being undermined by overly stringent Environmental Protection Agency measures, he said.

“When you try and shut down the industry where innovation is thriving, you’re shoving the result of that, the demand, onto places like Russia and Iran and Venezuela, people that don’t even have an EPA,” Burgum said.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster was neither at the news conference nor among the 20 Republican governors who signed on to the letter.

His spokesman told the SC Daily Gazette on Tuesday that he disagreed with one aspect of it: A call for more offshore drilling leases.

McMaster has long opposed any proposal that could lead to drilling off South Carolina’s shores, saying it would put the beauty and economic vitality of the state’s beaches at risk. In 2018, he urged then-President Donald Trump to exempt South Carolina from offshore drilling exploration. Trump obliged and reversed course, issuing a moratorium in 2020 to oil drilling off the coasts of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.

McMaster spokesman Brandon Charochak said the governor supported the rest of the GOP letter to Biden.

There was no immediate response from the White House on the letter.

The GOP governors cited a study that calculates the Biden administration’s enhanced energy regulations have cost U.S. taxpayers $1.37 trillion since he took office. The source for the information is a report from the American Action Forum, a nonprofit think tank that backs Republican-supported public policy.

Other requests the governors made in their letter:

  • Expedite approval of federal drilling permits.
  • Roll back initiatives such as rules on methane emissions and particulate matter standards.
  • Repeal “burdensome and unnecessary” financial regulations the governors said will drive away capital from American companies.
  • Expand critical mineral mining and processing to counter comparable efforts in China.

While Biden has taken unprecedented steps with regards to the environment, federal data fail to support Republican claims that he has put a damper on fossil fuel exploration. In 2021, the number of approved drilling permits exceeded levels during Trump’s time in office and reached a level last seen in 2008, according to the Energy Information Administration. Oil and gas production on federal leases was up 12% as of August 2023, also exceeding numbers under Trump.

SC Daily Gazette Editor Seanna Adcox contributed to this report.

Like the SC Daily Gazette, Louisiana Illuminator is part of States Newsroom, a nonprofit news network supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Louisiana Illuminator maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Greg LaRose for questions: Follow Louisiana Illuminator on Facebook and Twitter.


Greg LaRose has covered news for more than 30 years in Louisiana. Before coming to the Louisiana Illuminator, he was the chief investigative reporter for WDSU-TV in New Orleans. He previously led the government and politics team for The Times-Picayune |, and was editor in chief at New Orleans CityBusiness. Greg's other career stops include Tiger Rag, South Baton Rouge Journal, the Covington News Banner, Louisiana Radio Network and multiple radio stations. Louisiana Illuminator is part of States Newsroom, the nation’s largest state-focused nonprofit news organization.