The Biden administration has opposed domestic production and is making good on a campaign promise to eliminate the industry entirely. It appears, however, he might make an exception for Ukrainians.
Reuters reports that the administration is holding a virtual meeting Thursday with oil and gas executives to discuss how American oil producers can support Ukrainian energy infrastructure.
In a letter to oil executives that Reuters obtained, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy David Turk says Russia was aggressively targeting Ukrainian energy assets, which will hit the country during the coldest months of the year.
Turk says that American producers can help “boost Ukrainian resilience.”
The meeting will be held by the Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security and Energy Response, and it will include members of the Oil and Natural Gas Sector Coordinating Council, which represents 26 trade organizations.
“President Biden’s energy focus is all wrong,” Sen. John Barrasso told Cowboy State Daily in response to the planned Thursday meeting.
Barrasso has been highly critical of the administration trying to meet energy demand by any means other than allowing for domestic oil production. The Biden administration has issued the fewest lease sales of any president since World War II, which has hit Wyoming’s industry hard as most production in the state is on federal land.
As energy costs increased, Biden issued multiple releases of the nation’s energy stockpile, called the Strategic Petroleum Reserve — draining it to its lowest level since the 1980s — and eased sanctions against Venezuela, which will allow the socialist country to produce more oil for Americans to consume.
Earlier this month, the EPA announced it would increase the amount of ethanol and other biofuels that refineries must blend into petroleum products as part of changes to the Renewable Fuel Standards.
The EPA has refused to waive the standards for small refineries, which has been particularly difficult on small refineries like those in Wyoming as the standards add costs to production the small refineries can’t absorb like larger producers.
Biden “should be championing American oil and natural gas production instead of funding brutal dictatorships like Russia and Venezuela,” Barrasso said. “He should be expanding refining capacity to power America’s future and approving more infrastructure projects at home. Unleashing American energy will lower costs at home and help Ukraine and our European allies with an alternative to Russian gas.
“We are much better off selling energy to our friends than having to buy it from our enemies.”
Earlier Tuesday, Barrasso spoke out against easing sanctions against Venezuela during a press conference, saying that it’s “reckless” and “bad foreign policy.”
He said that as a result of the administration’s energy policies, 20 million Americans have fallen behind in paying their energy bills this winter.
“(At) the same time, he’s [Biden] telling American energy workers ‘no drilling here.’ And that’s why the American public will be paying more and more this year to heat their homes than ever before,” Barrasso said.
In an editorial posted on Fox News this week, Barrasso said Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro is an “indicted narco-terrorist.”
Once the most prosperous country in South America, Venezuela descended into poverty when Maduro’s predecessor, Hugo Chavez, rose to power and transformed the nation into a centrally planned socialist economy.
By easing sanctions, Barrasso said Biden is encouraging a migration crisis that has resulted in 300 Venezuelans migrating to the U.S. southern border every day last month.
Barrasso also was critical of Biden draining the nation’s energy stockpile, which was intended to be used for emergencies. Biden has been accused of using it to lower energy prices to help ease the dissatisfaction of voters.
“This makes us more vulnerable to energy and national security emergencies,” Barrasso said.