Is Biden right his policies aren’t ‘holding back domestic energy production?’

The Hill

Fact Box

  • Joe Biden was inaugurated as the 46th president on January 20, 2021. On his first day in office, he rejoined the Paris Accords and revoked the permit for construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, as well as many other orders.
  • On March 8, 2022, President Biden remarked, “It's simply not true that my administration or policies are holding back domestic energy production. That's simply not true. Even amid the pandemic, companies in the US pumped more oil during my first year in office than they did during my predecessor's first year.'
  • In 2019, America was energy independent for the first time in 62 years, producing 12,289 barrels of oil per day. In 2021, America had produced 11,185 barrels, per government stats. 
  • Gas prices have been steadily rising, going from $2.95 in March 2021 to hitting an all-time high of $4.25 nationwide, with some states like California seeing rates as high as $6-$7 per gallon
  • A HarrisX/Newsweek poll found that 69% of respondents answered “yes” to the Biden administration easing “its focus on climate change” to “allow more oil and natural gas exploration in the US.”

Siam (Yes)

With gas prices rocketing sky-high, many are trying to blame Biden's domestic energy policies, which they claim have throttled energy production in the US. The reverse is true. From the first day of his presidency, Biden stated he wanted to make America energy sufficient and not rely on other nations. And to that end, Biden has done several things. Even during the peak of the COVID pandemic in 2021, the US companies produced more oil than three of Trump's four years in office (2016-2018). By 2021's end, the US had record levels of gas and oil production, ready to set a new record, had the Russian Ukraine war not happened.

In 2021, there was a 2.2 % increase in natural gas production. The US EIA has predicted that nearly 12 million barrels per day of crude oil will peak to 13 million barrels in 2023. While people complain Biden's administration has limited onshore oil production on federal land, they do not understand that 90% of the oil production occurs on land not owned or restricted by the administration. Even the 10% of the federal land with oil is often leased out to major companies. The Biden administration has issued nearly 9,000 permits for drilling, outpacing the Trump administration's first-year total of 2,658. The delay is because it takes time to find oil, drill holes and develop the infrastructure for refining and transportation.

Not only that, Biden has met with his European counterparts, urging them to wean themselves off Russian oil and develop their own domestic policies. Biden has been a solid proponent of the use of clean energy.

Curtice (No)

Joe Biden claimed 'it's simply not true' his administration's policies are holding back energy production. That is 'simply not true.' To quote Jen Psaki, 'Let me give you the facts here.'

First, Biden's administration is hostile to the fossil fuel industry. He canceled the Keystone pipeline on his first day in office. He also stopped exploration in ANWR, described by Alaskan Governor Dunleavy as an 'attack' on Alaska's 'economic future,” 'sovereignty,” and “making good on his [campaign] promise...' Biden has paused oil leases on public lands. He has directed the US to re-enter the very anti-fossil fuel Paris Climate Agreement.

These actions, and more, leave the oil industry with great uncertainty. Per the American Petroleum Institute (API), there are many energy policies this administration has implemented that are obstructing American energy development. For example, the royalty fees are increasing on drilling, which discourages investment. His administration has claimed that there are 9,000 approved drilling permits not being used. It should be noted that it takes 140 days for the feds to approve a drilling permit, instead of two days for the date of Texas, per the Wall Street journal. Companies also must obtain additional permits in addition to any drilling permits. Biden's administration has intentionally made the regulatory climate as suffocating for the oil industry as possible.

Finally, it is simply untrue that America is producing more oil than at any time in history. In December 2019, America was producing 12.9 barrels per day. In December 2021, that was reduced to 11.5 barrels per day. Biden's 'America last' policies are undeniably true and impact every part of American life—an 'inconvenient' fact for Biden's administration to swallow.

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