At a campaign event in New York on Sunday, President Joe Biden bragged about stopping oil and natural gas drilling during his time in the White House and vowed to block future production.
Biden made the remarks in an apparent back-and-forth with a member of the crowd who was pressing him to stop development in the United States, as the Washington Examiner reports:
“President Joe Biden made an apparently unscripted remark Sunday night that there will be ‘no more drilling’ under his watch, in response to someone in the crowd at his rally with Gov. Kathy Hochul (D-NY).
“‘No more drilling,’ he said, waving his hand with a back-and-forth motion. ‘There is no more drilling. I haven’t formed any new drilling.’”
“The person was holding up a sign that read, ‘5 more years of drilling is a lose-lose!,’ and could be heard yelling back at Biden about offshore leases. He responded, ‘that was before I was president. We’re trying to work on that to get that done. Thank you.’”
Biden: “No more drilling. There is no more drilling. I haven’t formed any new drilling.” pic.twitter.com/AD7GOLpvzF
— The Post Millennial (@TPostMillennial) November 7, 2022
More Mixed Messages
The Biden administration has repeatedly pushed mixed messages on domestic oil and natural gas production despite a global energy crisis that has raised prices for Americans. In fact, just days ago White House Regional Communications Director Haris Talware tweeted that Republicans are “constantly lying on this key issue” when they say the president has slashed oil drilling.
Earlier this year, Biden promised to “work like the devil to bring gas prices down” and use “every tool at our disposal to protect American businesses and consumers from rising prices at the pump.” Energy Sec. Jennifer Granholm even explicitly called on the industry to boost output, saying, “we need more supply … right now, we need oil and gas production to rise to meet current demand.”
Yet, Biden, Granholm, and other top officials have opposed energy infrastructure, considered a crude oil export ban, increased taxes and fees, stalled federal leasing, and showed a stunning lack of understanding of energy markets by claiming oil companies control gasoline prices on an “hour by hour” basis.
President Biden touting that “There is no more drilling. I haven’t formed any new drilling” – two days before Election Day, nonetheless – is just another example of the president continually undermining the American energy industry as drivers are paying historically high prices at the pump.
Biden’s remarks were also instructive of where the administration is headed on the Outer Continental Shelf five-year offshore leasing program, apparently looking to separate himself from the previous administration by greatly restricting offshore oil and natural gas production.
Already, the Interior Department has allowed the existing plan to expire without a new plan in place, for the first time ever, and new lease sales are likely still months away – if they happen at all.
Biden’s comments of “that was before I was president. We’re trying to work on that to get that done,” indicates the administration is strongly considered the option it floated earlier this summer of scrapping offshore lease sales altogether. Interior’s most recent draft left the option on the table for no new leasing, although new requirements in the Inflation Reduction Act may make it difficult to hold no sales.
That would have a terrible affect on the American energy industry as an E&E News analysis of the Interior’s proposed plan found:
“The Biden administration estimates that slashing offshore oil sales would both increase the amount of crude the U.S. buys from other countries and depress oil demand by hiking fuel prices, validating a common industry criticism of climate policy.” (emphasis added)
Bottom Line: While the Biden administration may claim that it wants to boost domestic output, off-the-cuff moments like this coupled with policies that do the opposite continue to add to the mixed messages and uncertainty for the future of America’s energy industry.
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