While Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee were slamming oil and gas and blaming the industry for high gasoline prices, Oklahoma U.S. Sen. James Lankford stood up for the industry on Wednesday, saying the Democrats have it all wrong on who’s to blame.
He and other Senate Republicans said the President’s progressive anti-energy policies are to blame for the high prices at the pump, not just Putin’s war.
“Well, currently the Biden Administration’s saying this is all Putin’s fault. We know that’s just factually not true,” said the Senator, who also urged Democrats on the House Committee to look in the mirror to see who’s to blame.
“The price of gasoline rose from the day that President Biden came into office until the beginning of the war in Ukraine a dollar a gallon—a dollar during that time period.”
Lankford said at the news conference the President’s plan of releasing more oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is nearly the same amount of oil that would be coming from the Keystone pipeline, the one he cancelled on his first day in office. The Senator stated oil production in the U.S. could actually be increased through the Keystone and the oil would come from a reliable and predictable ally like Canada.
“So at the time that they’re saying to companies, ‘Y’all should produce more oil. You’re the problem,’ they’re not looking in the mirror, seeing 15 new taxes that they’re releasing, trying to cut off access to capital, trying to be able to make us more focused on what’s happening internationally. There are lots of issues that the Biden Administration needs to look at. This is not a result of Putin’s war. This is a result of Biden policies, and everyone knows it.”
Transcript of Lankford’s opening remarks
So there are obvious issues with gasoline prices across the country. You don’t have to go very far and you run into folks who are frustrated with the price of gasoline. I don’t know a single person that’s not filling up their tank across the country and saying, ‘This is killing my food budget, my housing budget,’ everything they have to be able to deal with. I asked some of my field team, just as they’re out and about this week across Oklahoma, to just snap a price of the gasses that’re going on right now this week in Oklahoma. And you can see in Kingfisher, just for regular unleaded here, Kingfisher, $3.99, and Tulsa, QT’s the winner here, at $3.53. We’d love to see that around Washington, DC, or many areas of the country. If you get into Marshall, Oklahoma, $4.29. If you get to El Reno, Oklahoma, $3.95, in Moore, Oklahoma, $4.00, and in Caney, Oklahoma, $3.99. This is just what’s happened in the last 24 hours around my state.
What’s interesting is people look at this and they fill up their tank, and they realize it’s $75 to $125 to be able to fill up their tank with gas. What that really means for them is they can’t travel more, they can’t get out more, they can’t do more because they understand, ‘I just can’t afford to be able to do that.’ That’s the real-life decisions of Americans as they process through all this.
Where did this come from? Well, currently the Biden Administration’s saying this is all Putin’s fault. We know that’s just factually not true. The price of gasoline rose from the day that President Biden came into office until the beginning of the war in Ukraine a dollar a gallon—a dollar during that time period. How did that happen? Was that because of oil companies, as over in the House of Representatives, they’re dragging in oil company executives and saying, ‘You’re gouging prices’?
Well actually let’s look at the math on this. Day-one of the Biden Administration, they stepped up and canceled the Keystone pipeline and people keep saying, ‘Why does that matter?’ Well, Canada produces heavy crude. The same type of heavy crude that comes out of Russia. So we’re either going to buy that heavy crude from Russia or from Canada, and day-one, President Biden said, ‘I want to buy that type of crude from Russia, not from Canada.’
The other factoid on this that’s interesting is the President’s just done a release of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The release he’s doing from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve for a short period of time for the next several months is almost exactly what would be coming from the Keystone pipeline every single day from here on out. So while he’s trying to manipulate the prices with the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, you can actually increase production and input into our country from an ally like Canada that’d be reliable and predictable that would actually bring prices down.
What else did the President of the United States do? Day-one, cancels out the Keystone pipeline. Day-one, he looks at all the Trump Administration policies that do anything with energy and said, ‘Let’s re-evaluate all of those.’ Day-one, he shuts down everything that’s happening on federal lands as far as federal leasing—no federal leases. And he steps out and says, ‘Well there’s 9,000 that’re out there. They’ve got plenty of options on it.’ He knows the math on this. Most of those are checkerboards, where they’ll lease just one section, test it out, but they’re not going to really do production in that area until they have all the leases around it. He knows the game on that. And so, he can say there’s 9,000 leases out there really know as well that nothing’s really going to happen with it.
Twenty-four percent of the oil that we get in the United States comes from those federal leases. So when he has now, still, not re-opened the short-term moratorium on federal leasing, he’s cutting off the future of oil into our country. And it continues to accelerate prices. We’ve dealt with nominees that have come across the floor in the Senate that were the selection from the Biden Administration, that their whole focus was: how are they going to take away access to capital for oil and gas companies? And literally, this week, the Biden Administration announces that they want more American companies to do more production, but then this week they release they’re budget after saying to American companies, ‘Why aren’t you producing more oil,’ the Biden Budget has 15 brand-new tax proposals that they’ve got on the production of oil and gas.
So at the time that they’re saying to companies, ‘Y’all should produce more oil. You’re the problem,’ they’re not looking in the mirror, seeing 15 new taxes that they’re releasing, trying to cut off access to capital, trying to be able to make us more focused on what’s happening internationally. There are lots of issues that the Biden Administration needs to look at. This is not a result of Putin’s war. This is a result of Biden policies, and everyone knows it. And they can try to change the subject all they want to, but everyone knows, this is a direct result of the Biden policies that are here. That’s our frustration. There is a way to produce more American energy. There is a way to be able to bring prices down. They’re just not willing to do it at this point.