Texas Dems to Biden: Drill, baby, drill

Not even Joe Biden’s allies on Capitol Hill bought the nonsense excuses he slung today while announcing an embargo on Russian oil imports. Biden claimed that high gas prices resulted from oil-producers gouging consumers, and denied entirely that he had restricted production:

Really? Exactly one week ago, Biden didn’t appear to be too interested in such domestic production. His administration rolled over on a court decision to block drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico, the Washington Post reported, and pointed out numerous other actions taken by Biden to curtail exploration and production:

The Biden administration will not challenge a federal court ruling that it did not sufficiently consider climate change when it auctioned off 1.7 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico last year, accepting a decision that invalidated the largest offshore oil and gas lease sale in the nation’s history.

In a document filed Monday in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, lawyers for the government said they would not appeal the district court’s ruling canceling the lease sale. But they left open the possibility that the leases could still be issued if the decision to throw out the sale’s results is ultimately overturned. The American Petroleum Institute, the oil and gas industry’s largest trade group, has challenged the ruling.

The government’s position is not especially surprising. The Interior Department’s environmental analysis justifying the auction was completed under the Trump administration and Biden officials actually did not want to hold the lease sale. Shortly after taking office, President Biden suspended new oil and gas drilling on lands and waters owned by the federal government. But after a Louisiana judge struck down the moratorium last summer, administration officials said they were forced to go through with the sale in November.

And as Tom Cotton pointed out, that list is not comprehensive:

Biden ran on attacking American fossil-fuel production and followed through as president. He ostentatiously issued an executive order on Day One “to tackle the Climate Crisis,” which revoked a series of energy-related EOs from Donald Trump. That EO revoked the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline that would have allowed for hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil a day to reach US refineries from Canada. It also suspended the leases in the Arctic Refuge that Biden canceled later in June, proposed massive new regulations on exploration and extraction elsewhere:

(c) Heads of agencies shall, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law, consider whether to take any additional agency actions to fully enforce the policy set forth in section 1 of this order. With respect to the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, the following specific actions should be considered:

(i) proposing new regulations to establish comprehensive standards of performance and emission guidelines for methane and volatile organic compound emissions from existing operations in the oil and gas sector, including the exploration and production, transmission, processing, and storage segments, by September 2021[.]

The net effect of these new policies was to deliver on his promise to stymie extraction and exploration in the US by making it too expensive to conduct. That is one reason why the leases that Biden mentioned in his presser today are not yet being used; another is that producers may not have found access to enough oil and/or natural gas on those leases to make use profitable — although the higher prices now could change those calculations. Those higher prices have escalated all through Biden’s first year in office in part because of the signals he sent on curtailing US production to futures markets, not just recently because of Ukraine or “gouging.”

These barefaced lies about Biden’s hostility toward domestic production failed to convince Democrats in Texas. According to a letter provided to Fox News, they urged Biden to reverse his policies and “unleash responsible domestic production” for both strategic and economic reasons:

A group of Texas Democrats Tuesday called on President Biden to do more to unleash domestic energy production in the United States in the face of rising gas prices and reliance on foreign countries for energy.

Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, D-Texas, led a group of Texas Democrats in a letter to Biden Tuesday applauding his announcement to ban Russian oil imports while urging him to enact clear policies to help domestic energy producers boost energy output for the U.S. and beyond.

“We cannot wait for tomorrow to do what needs to be done today,” the lawmakers said in a letter to Biden first obtained by Fox News Digital. “We must unleash responsible domestic production to counter reliance on Russian oil and gas, while simultaneously cutting off Russia’s largest source of revenue. Now is the time to regain our energy independence and support our allies around the globe.”

The letter is signed by Gonzalez and fellow Texas Democrats Sylvia Garcia, Henry Cuellar and Filemon Vela.

While Republicans for months have been hammering Biden about boosting domestic energy production, Tuesday’s letter is notable because the plea is coming from Biden’s own party. It’s also coming from Texas Democrats just as Biden leaves for the Lone Star State for an event Tuesday on veterans’ healthcare.

It’s also notable because it comes at the same time as Joe Manchin and Jon Tester are pushing back on Biden’s climate-change agenda in the Senate. This letter at least tacitly rebuts Biden’s dishonest claims that he’s not impeding production even after making it the explicit policy of his administration since it launched. Of course, Biden has a long track record of dishonesty on this point and many others, so … it’s hardly surprising that even his friends didn’t buy today’s whoppers.