‘Not at all’: Sperling says canceling drilling leases in 2021 not a mistake by Biden

Advisor to President Joe Biden Gene Sperling said on Fox News on Friday that Biden’s decision to allow new oil drilling leases on federal lands did not mean it was a mistake for Biden to cancel leases early on in his administration. 

The Story host Martha MacCallum pressed Sperling on the issue:

The oil industry has made it clear that they feel like the administration has basically condemned their industry and doesn’t want them to grow, wants them to shrink over time. … I could put up a whole litany of soundbites that back that up. But I think it’s interesting because now the administration is saying that they’re going to make new leases available to drill on federal land, which is something that the president ran against. He said that he wouldn’t do that. He stopped them. So, — and I know that there’s mixed reaction to this decision about whether or not it’s being done in a way that will actually make a difference in lowering gas prices, but is that an admission that that was a mistake back then?

But instead of admitting that Biden should never have canceled drilling leases, Sperling decided on a word salad approach that is not going to fool anyone who is currently blaming Biden for the price of oil and gas.

“This period chose”

“No, not at all,” Sperling starts out. “There are many things we need to do that this period chose we need to do to have energy independence.”

And there’s Sperling’s–and Biden’s–first problem.

It’s quite a bit more than “this period” choosing for us to have new drilling leases. Biden could have avoided this entire debacle by not doing three things: not canceling the original drilling leases, not canceling the Keystone XL pipeline, and not giving tacit approval to the Russian pipeline Germany wanted, which encouraged the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Biden created the bulk of this energy crisis, which will come to its full impact this winter when seniors on fixed incomes are forced to pay double for oil to heat their homes.

Drill, baby, drill

Without Biden’s actions to dramatically slow U.S. production of oil and gas, we may have had a slight increase in prices due to the inflationary pressures being exerted on the rest of the economy rather than a doubling of the price of gas (and home heating oil) since Biden took office.

Sperling then claimed that Biden was taking action against the problem by releasing 180 million barrels of oil from the strategic reserve and getting other countries to release another 60 million barrels.

The problem with this move is that while 240 million barrels seems huge, it is a drop in the bucket of American (close to 20 million barrels) and world (100 million barrels) daily usage of oil. The move has made no significant decrease in prices; in fact, just after the release, oil and gas prices continued to increase.

Sperling said he believed there was more that could be done to relieve the price spikes, but didn’t say what that could be. Former President Donald Trump has always had the answer to this problem in three simple words: “Drill, baby, drill!”

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