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Biden Continues Deflecting Responsibility for U.S. Energy Crisis

Today, U.S. President Joe Biden announced he is releasing 15 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) in an attempt to lower gas prices. House Committee on Natural Resources Ranking Member Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) issued the following statement in response:

“I’ve spent this month hearing from Americans across the country about how they can’t keep their businesses open, can’t afford to drive to work, can’t keep operating their farm equipment, and can’t afford to heat their homes. People are begging President Biden to take swift, long-term action like reopening pipelines and issuing leases and permits for domestic energy production, yet the best he can offer is depleting our oil reserves and blaming American industries for the problems he created. The Strategic Petroleum Reserve used to be just that: strategic. Under Biden, it’s turned into a Hail Mary attempt to score political points without a thought for national security or energy independence. That’s why the Republican Commitment to America includes commonsense solutions that would tap American energy and allow our industries to thrive, not punish and regulate them into oblivion. Biden hasn’t even offered a plan to maintain the status quo, much less allow more energy production to meet an ever-increasing demand. Clearly this administration would rather keep its head in the sand than give Americans the energy solutions we desperately need.”


Despite energy costs hitting historic highs this year, the Biden administration has not held quarterly onshore lease sales, as required by the Mineral Leasing Act, or issued a five-year offshore leasing plan. Additionally, the administration has fallen behind in energy permitting, which would help boost domestic production and lower costs. In FY 2022, the Biden administration has approved an average of 233 energy permits per month, while the Department of Interior was approving nearly 400 permits monthly in FY 2020under former President Donald Trump. In total, Biden has leased fewer acres of federal and offshore land for domestic oil and gas production at this point in his presidency than any other president since the end of World War II. This discrepancy exists despite the Biden administration claiming it is doing “everything in their power” to spur domestic production.

On top of this, Biden has released a historic number of barrels of oil from the SPR in less than two years. Thanks to his actions, the SPR is now at its lowest level since 1984, this while U.S. petroleum consumption is more than 28 percent higher than it was then.

Republicans in Congress have introduced numerous bills to immediately resume oil production on federal lands and waters and restart work on projects like the Keystone XL Pipeline. However, congressional Democrats continue to block energy development and have yet to move any substantive energy legislation through regular order this Congress.

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