STANTON, Texas (KMID/KPEJ)- Presidential hopeful Nikki Haley, amid her bid at winning the Republican primary nomination next February, made a stop in the Basin Thursday to talk about her plan for America’s energy industry, and why she says a “strong” America is in an energy independent one. Haley toured a drilling rig owned and operated by H&P (Helmerich & Payne, Inc.), a company that has been drilling on U.S. land, as well as internationally, and offshore since 1920. 

“Every American should see what I saw today,” Haley said. “Every American should have the opportunity to go up on a rig, hear exactly how the process works, because they would be amazed at how safe it is, how clean it is, and how effective it is. If you look at the situation now, two things I knew working with the United Nations is that Russia, China, and our enemies never wanted us to have…a strong military, and they never wanted us to be energy independent.”

Haley slammed the Biden Administration for what she called a “a heavy fist” with regard to the energy industry. 

“He puts on heavy regulations; he starts to suppress permitting- he worries more about endangered species- I think he cares more about the sagebrush lizards than he does about what it’s doing to the American family,” she said. “To sit there and go fill up your tank, it costs you about $20 more under the Biden administration and believe it or not, that’s down from where it was. We all saw it go above $5.00 a gallon.”

However, federal data released in January showed that the Biden administration approved 6,430 permits for oil and gas drilling on public lands in its first two years, outpacing the Trump administration’s 6,172 permit approvals. However, Biden did put a pause on drilling on federal lands, which accounts for about 25% of America’s oil and gas production.

Still, Haley said that President Joe Biden is no friend to oil and gas producers in the Basin and beyond.

“What did Biden do his very first week? He cancelled the Keystone Pipeline. He got back into the Paris Climate Agreement, which I can tell you, at the UN, when we looked at the Paris Climate Agreement, it put heavy regulations on the U.S. What about the other countries? I can tell you what China’s (regulations) was- they were gonna wait 10 years. Well, I’ve dealt with China- 10 years never comes,” Haley said.

She said Biden has also been heavily influenced by pressures to make energy production cleaner, something Haley thinks is already happening, at least when it comes to oil and gas production in the Basin.

“We have very clean processes,” she said.

And because those processes are “clean” already, Haley said oil and gas producers don’t need more regulations, instead, they need consistency.

“The one thing energy producers need is consistency and predictability- you can’t ask someone to invest millions of dollars in something like this (drilling) if they don’t know if you’re going to shut them down tomorrow,” she said.

Which is important, Haley said, because it’s a matter of national security.

“Now is the time to realize that energy security is national security. When you look at what it takes to keep American’s safe, it means making sure that we have energy security. Why are we going hat in hand to Saudia Arabia? Why are we getting dirty oil from Iran and Venezuela when we have something like this?” she asked, while pointing to a Permian Basin drilling rig that served as the backdrop for Thursday’s news conference. “A rig like this- it’s reach is a thousand jobs- from just one rig. That doesn’t count the small businesses that benefit from it.”

Haley said American families should not have to worry about what happens in the middle east or if OPEC makes a decision that impacts production in the U.S. That’s why Haley said her energy plan is one that those in the Basin, and across the county, can support.

“First, we’re gonna stop demonizing energy producers and we’re going to empower them to help us with national security and be partners with us,” Haley said. 

She plans to do that by putting a stop to permitting regulations that will slow production down.

“Stop green subsidies…speed up permitting so that these pipelines can happen faster…to understand that strong foreign policy leads to strong energy policy.”

She said her energy plan will benefit families across the county by creating a stronger economy and a safer America.

“And then we will put our enemies in their place because they will see that we are energy independent once and for all,” she concluded.

Here’s a look at other ideas which make up Haley’s energy plan:

Capturing, not curbing, emissions- In her nearly two decades in public office, Haley has criticized bold policies to slash greenhouse gas emissions, preferring instead to capture those emissions after they’ve been released. Some analysts said this idea could appeal to climate conscious voters.

Rolling-back on the Green New Deal- Haley slammed the Green New Deal to wean the country off fossil fuels a “bad idea”. Instead, she has voiced support for installing carbon-capture technology, planting more trees, and investing in all forms of energy- such as solar and wind. She said she would roll-back on green energy subsidies and regulations that could “hamstring” oil and gas producers.

Hands off- Haley said government should adopt a hands-off approach in energy production and spending while also ensuring the speedy permission and build of interstate pipelines

Ahead of Haley’s visit to the Basin, Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa released the following statement:

“Nikki Haley is a completely forgettable career politician but make no mistake: she’s running on the same ultra-MAGA agenda being foisted upon us by other Republicans. She tries to keep up with bad-faith GOP culture wars – that young girls are contemplating suicide simply because transgender people exist. She supports massive cuts to Social Security and Medicare, barbaric bans on reproductive care, and handouts for corporations and the wealthy. Put simply, her agenda would be an absolute disaster for every day, hardworking Texas families.”

Hinojosa, however, did not comment on Haley’s energy plan.

About Haley:

Haley served as the 116th governor of South Carolina from 2011 to 2017. She was the 29th United States ambassador to the United Nations, serving from January 2017 through December 2018. In February of this year, Haley announced she would be running for president alongside other Republican hopefuls, including Ron DeSantis, Donald Trump, Mike Pence, and Chris Christie.