Energy news group finds a “gotcha” in Biden drilling claim

Media Outlets Mislead Readers about COVID-19 Data


A national oil and gas group reacts to a report that President Biden’s claim U.S. producers failed to use 9,000 drilling permits on federal lands, is false.

The American Petroleum Institute issued a release about it on Monday:

For nearly a year the administration has attempted to redirect scrutiny over its slow walking of federal oil and gas leases by chastising U.S. producers for leaving 9,000 permits to drill on federal lands untapped.

“There are 9,000 unused approved drilling permits,” former White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters last March. “So I would suggest you ask the oil companies why they’re not using those, if there’s a desire to drill more.”

While it was already established that this claim is misleading, new reporting reveals that the underlying number isn’t even accurate. According to E&E News:

“…President Joe Biden over the past year has stressed that companies hold 9,000 permits to drill on public lands sitting unused. Turns out that’s wrong. The Bureau of Land Management, which oversees oil and gas development on federal lands, updated its tally in an end-of-the-year report that shows that figure instead should have been much less, standing at about 6,600 untapped permits as of this month.”

For perspective, Doug Ackerman, president of the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association, said it takes upwards of 12 months to get the 30-50 permits required to drill a single well during a House Natural Resources subcommittee hearing earlier this month.

Meanwhile, its been 242 days since the Department of the Interior allowed the five-year offshore leasing program to expire and the administration held just one quarterly lease sale in 2022 after not holding any in 2021, as required by law.

Reacting to today’s news, Frank Macchiarola, API’s senior vice president of policy, economics and regulatory affairs said:

“Despite the administration’s inaccurate and misleading numbers, the reality is that the U.S. natural gas and oil industry is confronting the global energy crisis by continuing to work to meet the energy needs of U.S. consumers and our allies abroad. It is time for the administration to end the finger-pointing and instead support American production with a comprehensive strategy for American energy development – one that includes a final five-year program for offshore leasing and quarterly onshore lease sales.”

Source: API release