Amid Record-Breaking Gas Prices, White House Rejects Boosting Domestic Oil Production, Biden Seeking Oil Deal with Russian Ally, Venezuela

Gas prices hit a new all-time high Monday of $4.104/gallon, surpassing the former high of $4.103/gallon from the previous 2008 record. Patrick De Hann shared on Twitter:

“BREAKING: According to GasBuddy data, the US national average has JUST set a new all-time record: $4.104/gallon, eclipsing 2008’s record of $4.103/gal. The higher prices this time will likely stay around far longer. #oil #gasprices”

The White House appears to be courting Venezuela, with the possible easing of sanctions in an effort to make a deal on importing Venezuelan oil to the United States once again. The U.S. stopped importing Venezuelan oil under President Donald Trump. The Biden administration also views this move as a way to possibly isolate Russia from its South American ally, if a deal can be made.

CNN reporter Natasha Bertrand confirmed the report, “Confirming NYT: Biden admin is weighing easing sanctions on Venezuela so that it can begin producing more oil & selling it on the international market. Move would be aimed at reducing global dependence on Russian oil & isolating Russia from one of its key allies in South America.”

While many Republicans push for Joe Biden to bolster domestic production of oil, Biden has clung to the green energy narrative. Instead of boosting the U.S. production, the Biden Administration is looking to make deals with countries we had previously cut ties with such as Venezuela and possibly Iran.

Some from both sides have started calling for Biden to stop importing any oil from Russia as the conflict in Ukraine continues. Democrats also want to make sure that the oil production in the U.S. isn’t boosted.

U.S. House Rep Raúl M Grijalva (D-AZ) wrote an op-ed in The Guardian claiming the fossil fuel lobbyist are seizing on the conflict just to bolster production in the U.S.

Grijalva wrote, “the fossil-fuel industry had a different take. They saw an opportunity – and a shameless one at that – to turn violence and bloodshed into an oil and gas propaganda-generating scheme. Within hours, industry-led talking points were oozing into press releases, social media and opinion pieces, telling us the key to ending this crisis is to immediately hand US public lands and waters over to fossil-fuel companies and quickly loosen the regulatory strings.”

“Our top priority must be ending Putin’s hostilities, but as chair of the US House committee on natural resources, I feel duty-bound to set the record straight. We can’t let the fossil-fuel industry scare us into a domestic drilling free-for-all that is neither economically warranted nor environmentally sound.”

Grijalva’s proposed solution, in his final paragraph, reads, “fortunately, there is a path forward that simultaneously cuts the lifeline to fossil-fuel despots like Putin, stabilizes energy prices here at home, and creates a safer, more sustainable planet. We must wean ourselves off our oil and gas dependence and make transformational investments in cleaner renewable energy technologies, like those in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Build Back Better Act and the Competes Act, and we must do it now. The fossil-fuel industry has had hold of the microphone for far too long. It’s time we let the facts speak for themselves.”

The Biden administration is using some of the same talking points Grijalva used in his article. White House press secretary Jen Psaki made a list of 9 energy production “facts.”

“When it comes to U.S. energy production – and how we achieve energy security – it’s important to look at the facts. So here are 9 specifics..” Psaki started.

Psaki’s first fact is that production is up and on the rise her second fact is that oil and natural gas are approaching record levels.

“1. Production is up, rising, and approaching records, yet Russia’s actions still leave our consumers vulnerable. It’s a reminder that real energy security comes from reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. 2. U.S. production of natural gas and oil is rising and approaching record levels: More natural gas than ever this year, more oil than ever next year, and, even with a global pandemic, more oil production this past year than during the previous administration’s first year.”

Psaki later moves on to the opportunity producers have by citing their profits and capital. She also included that there are more than 9,000 unused drilling permits. Which begs the question, why aren’t they talking to U.S. producers about upping their production then? With all those unused permits why not approach the holders of the permits and see what they need to get going?

“5. We also know that producers have no shortage of opportunity, nor – after the high profits experienced last year – do they have any shortage of capital. 6. And on public lands and waters (and let’s not forget that nearly 90% of onshore oil production in the U.S. takes place on non-federal land): The industry holds more than 9,000 unused, approved permits to drill onshore.”

Psaki concludes her 9 item list talking about energy independence and calling on people to have a conversation in facts, not talking points.

“8. The only way to protect US over the long term is to become energy independent. That is why the President is so focused on deploying clean energy technologies that don’t require fossil fuels bought and sold on the global market, which will always be vulnerable to bad actors. 9. So as we navigate how to protect Americans and the global community from Russia’s further invasion of Ukraine, let’s remember to move past the talking points and ground this discussion in facts.”

With gas prices continuing to rise, most people are feeling it affect them at the pump. It seems very likely that the rise in gas prices will affect the prices of everything else that has to be transported. There doesn’t seem to be any end in sight for the conflict ongoing in Ukraine. Every day it seems that the Biden administration is scrambling on what to do, not wanting to compromise on its values and trying to make itself look better than it does.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk even called for an ‘immediate’ boost in oil production. It remains to be seen what relief the American people will see from inflation.

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