Energy industry representatives have accused Press Secretary Jen Psaki of misleading Americans with a “red herring” after Monday’s news briefing at which she answered many questions about unused oil and gas leases.
At Psaki’s daily briefing, Fox News reporter Peter Doocy asked her why Biden won’t resume “new oil and natural gas leases on federal lands”, to which Psaki responded that “there are 9,000 approved drilling permits that are not being used.”
“So, the suggestion that we are not allowing companies to drill is inaccurate,” continued Psaki. “I would suggest you ask the oil companies why they’re not using those if there’s a desire to drill more.”
Watch the full exchange below:
However, at the CERAWeek energy conference on Monday, energy industry representatives told Fox Business that Psaki portrayed the issue to be much more simple than it is. They also accused her of misleading the American people with her responses to Doocy’s questions.
The CEO of the American Exploration & Production Council (AXPC), Anne Bradbury, commented on Psaki’s response to the question about oil and gas leases:
“That accusation is a complete red herring, and it’s really a distraction from the fact that this administration has paused leasing on federal lands, something that we’re concerned about that we think needs to continue right away.
The fact is that industry is producing at a higher level on existing leases on federal lands than in the last 20 years, and these leases take many years to explore, to develop, and to produce on.”
Another interviewee was American Petroleum Institute (API) President and CEO Mike Sommers, who said, “This represents a fundamental misunderstanding as to how this process works. Once you lease land there is a whole process that you have to go through. First, you have to actually discover whether actually there is oil and gas in that land. Second of all, you have to get a permit to actually develop that land.”Watch the latest video at foxbusiness.com
“Right now, we actually are developing more leases than we have in two decades,” added Sommers,
“So, the White House certainly doesn’t have their facts straight on this.”
The CEO of the Energy Workforce and Technology Council, Leslie Beyer, expressed thoughts similar to the first two, saying that “some permits are viable and some are not.”
“But, right now the moratorium on leasing certainly adds an additional… block to American energy production,” said Beyer. “So, that is the opposite of what we need to be doing right now. We need to stop the rhetoric that’s anti-fossil fuel and we need some clarity just in the regulatory sense that this administration is behind domestic energy production.”
Beyer also commented on the lack of investment in extraction and infrastructure needed to significantly increase output. “There’s a lack of investment,” Beyer said. “We need capital to be able to develop these assets. And certainly, while that is the choice of the investors, the rhetoric coming from the administration and everything that is anti-fossil fuel informs those choices.”
Senator Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) was also at the conference and interviewed on the issue. Sullivan said, “It’s not truthful at all. From day one, this administration has been hellbent on their anti-American energy holy war to shut down the production of American energy. She (Psaki) knows that… it’s delaying leases.”
“Day one, they have been focused on killing the production of American energy.”