President's Remarks Complicate the Goal of More Energy Production
Posted April 1, 2022
There were more confusing, mixed signals on American oil and natural gas in President Biden’s latest energy remarks – further complicating the bottom-line goal he acknowledged Thursday, that America needs more American oil and gas.
“If we want lower [gasoline] prices, we need to have oil supply right now,” the president said, which certainly is true. But the president also lapsed into familiar, unfounded attacks on America’s oil and gas industry, adding new chill to the investment climate for the energy production he now seeks and America needs.
When the president says some companies are exploiting the current energy situation to ensure higher profits and claims some companies are hoarding federal leases – just a few of the negative comments he made – it’s fair to conclude that the president and/or his top advisors not only dislike the industry, they also don’t see how their negativity makes increased American energy production harder.
API President and CEO Mike Sommers, responding to President Biden’s remarks, in which the president announced a new drawdown from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR):
“There are many factors behind rising energy costs, from geopolitical volatility and supply chain constraints to policy uncertainty, and the American people deserve real solutions. The SPR was put in place to reduce the impact of significant supply chain disruptions, and while today’s release may provide some short-term relief, it is far from a long-term solution to the economic pain Americans are feeling at the pump.”
“The best thing the White House can do right now is to remove barriers to investment in American energy production and infrastructure. Unfortunately, today we heard more mixed signals about developing affordable, reliable and secure American natural gas and oil.”
Good analysis of the White House’s energy messaging problem is offered by CNBC White House correspondent Kayla Tausche, who after the president’s remarks said he is trying to thread a “very small needle” and that his approach hasn’t been helpful for energy production that takes long-term commitments in financial and other resources. Tausche:
“On one hand, for months he has been vilifying the energy industry. … Now he's trying to turn around and say, why aren't you actually producing on a lot of this land? And I know that specifically that the oil industry feels like the administration has done an about-face on that, and that it's hard to understand the messaging. What’s allowed now might not be allowed 12 months from now. So why would they make a long-term investment in some of that activity?”
Frank Macchiarola, API senior vice president for Policy, Economics and Regulatory Affairs, told Fox Business the Biden administration should support oil and gas development on federal lands and waters, including putting together a new five-year federal offshore leasing program to replace the program that’s scheduled to expire this summer. Macchiarola:
“If the administration really wants to be strategic here, they'll promote the production of oil and gas in the United States through development on federal lands and waters. They'll stop restricting access to pipeline infrastructure. They'll cancel these proposals to increase taxes on American producers. … What the industry needs and what the public needs is a signal from this administration that America is open for business, that we promote American energy development that could have significant impacts on the marketplace. It could drive investment into producing oil and natural gas.”
About The Author
Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Previously, Mark was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor at an assortment of newspapers. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela have two grown children and six grandchildren.