By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
U.S. Sen. John Barrasso on Tuesday blasted U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm for laughing when asked what she was going to do to increase domestic oil production to help stabilize the cost of gas in the U.S.
Speaking to reporters in the U.S. Capitol, Barrasso said Americans were “suffering with the high amount of inflation” and cited soaring gas prices as one such example, noting that the price at the pump was a dollar higher now than it was when President iden took office.
“What did the Secretary of Energy do when they asked her on national television what are you going to do about the cost of energy?” Barrasso said. “She laughed. She said that was hysterical, hilarious she said.”
“Well, maybe hilarious to her. But not to the people all over this country who are suffering with this high level of inflation,” he said.
Barrasso was referring to Sec. Granholm’s appearance on Bloomberg TV last week when asked what her plan was to increase energy production in the U.S. to help bring gas prices down.
Granholm, in fact, did laugh and then opted out. She said the U.S. couldn’t do anything about it and it was all up to OPEC.
“That is hilarious,” she said. “Would that I had the magic wand on this. As you know, oil is a global market. It is controlled by a cartel. That cartel is called OPEC. And they made the decision yesterday that they were not going to increase beyond what they were already planning.”
Many don’t agree with her explanation. Energy independence is possible, they say. And a reliance on OPEC should be stopped.
Barrasso has been hyper-critical of Biden’s energy policies and has noted that during the Trump administration oil production jumped 28% and natural gas 26%. By 2020, domestic production of both was at record highs.
“Americans saw the results. We led the world in oil and gas production,” Barrasso said earlier this year.
“This is Joe Biden’s America,” Barrasso said on Tuesday. “This is the reason that only one in five Americans believe that under Joe Biden, this country is headed in the right direction.”
Wyoming State Rep. Landon Brown praised Barrasso’s comments on social media Tuesday.
“Boom! @SenJohnBarrasso explaining it perfectly!” he wrote.
Democrats Concerned Too
Republicans aren’t the only ones worried about soaring energy costs. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, D-New York, urged Biden to make use of emergency petroleum reserves in an effort to bring gas prices down prior to the holiday season.
While Biden has not committed to making use of the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve, Granholm has said the president is considering it as an option.
“That’s one of the tools that he has, and he’s certainly looking at that,” Granholm said on CNN.
Granholm also said that she was hopeful gas prices would not reach a national average of $4 per gallon, The Hill reported.
Gas prices in California reached an all-time high on Monday as the average cost of a regular gallon hit $4.68, according to The Hill.
Prices for food and other consumer items probably will remain higher than average for at least a year, according to an economist with the University of Wyoming.
“Right now, we’re in this perfect storm of inflationary pressures,” Anne Alexander told Cowboy State Daily on Friday. “On the supply side, the supply chains are screwed up, partially because of labor shortages, but also because we’ve stopped producing as much of everything. On the demand side, we’re seeing almost panic buying.”
While Alexander does not believe the United States or Wyoming will see the level of inflation that affected the country from 1973 to 1982, she does not believe there will be any relief from current high prices until some time next year.
Wyoming’s cost of living has increased at a rate not seen in more than a decade, according to a recently released report from the state’s Economic Analysis Division.
The annual inflation rate of 7.7% recorded during the second quarter of the year — which ended June 30 — is the highest annual inflation rate seen since the second quarter of 2008, when the state’s inflation rate was 7.9%, according to the division’s inflation report.