The Democratic Party using the United States' energy industry as a political bargaining chip is "one of the most dangerous things" facing the country, said a former Keystone XL pipeline worker.
"They use it for political leverage in negotiations for other things," Neal Crabtree, who worked on the pipeline as a foreman, told Fox News Digital. "It's one of the most dangerous things that we're facing right now as a country with politicians holding our energy sector hostage."
Last month President Biden’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed a set of regulations on coal and natural gas-fired power plants that would curb nationwide power sector emissions by about 617 million metric tons through 2042.
The EPA’s new carbon pollution standards require electric power providers to slash pollution by about 90% over the next two decades, which forces power plants to adopt carbon capture, a nascent and costly technology, or shut down.
"We're neglecting our fossil fuel industry, which we still need. People might not like it, but we still need it," Crabtree said. "And on the other hand, they're trying to promote this green energy and our electrical grid cannot handle that amount of power right now."
"This country thinks that we can just print money and magically make it happen, but that's not the case," he added.
The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) — a nonprofit organization that monitors the U.S. electric grid – said the power grid is facing an elevated risk of shortages in the coming summer months amid the push to replace fossil fuel generation with green alternatives.
Crabtree pointed to California’s rolling blackouts as an example of what the entire country will face if this crackdown on energy providers is implemented.
"When you think of rolling blackouts and the lack of energy, period, you think about a third-world country you don't think about the United States," he said. "But as long as Washington keeps using energy as political warfare, we're going to be dealing with that."
Last month House Republicans secured the completion of the billion-dollar Mountain Valley Pipeline, a 303½-mile West Virginia-to-Virginia natural gas pipeline project that has been held up for years in the permitting process, as part of the debt ceiling package.
"The Democratic Party and Joe Biden, they're going to use this to try to say we gave a green light to the Mountain Valley Pipeline, but it's the Democratic Party that's held that pipeline up for the last six years," Crabtree said. "So I don't want to hear all of a sudden, 'Okay, we're letting this pipeline go through. We're for both green energy and fossil fuels.' That's not the case."
Overall, there are 3,393 fossil fuel-fired power plants nationwide, the majority of which are natural gas plants, according to the most recent federal data. Those plants generate more than 60% of the nation's electricity, compared to the roughly 14% of electricity generated by wind and solar projects.
Some climate experts have claimed it will cost $50 trillion for the U.S. to reach carbon neutrality, which would include investing in so-called green energy and other things like electric vehicles.
"Once the government is involved in it, nothing gets done," Crabtree told Fox News Digital. "If you want to go buy an electric vehicle, buy one. If you want solar panels on your house, that's fine. But let's let our industries deal with it. They'll fix the problem, I guarantee you."
"The corporations, everybody hates them because they make money. But they make money because people demand a certain service. And if it's green energy they want, it's green energy they give them," he added. "But right now, there's too much of this country that runs on fossil fuels, natural gas, coal, and you can't just punish them because of it."
Crabtree said the U.S. economy will suffer if government continues to spend taxpayer dollars intervening in the energy sector.
"As a country, if we don't push back about what the government's trying to do, we're going to be broke," Crabtree said. "We can't grow as a nation. We can't protect ourselves as a nation without reliable energy. And we need all forms of energy, not just green energy, not just fossil fuels."
"And most of all, we need to give the government to get out of the way and let us build these projects, because right now nothing's happening," he added.
The EPA's new proposed rule on carbon pollution standards would "protect public health, reduce harmful pollutants and deliver up to $85 billion in climate and public health benefits over the next two decades," according to the agency.