The Biden administration stealthily revised down by 2,000, the number of oil and gas drilling permits a federal database shows are active. The move contradicts previous statements by White House officials and undermines the president’s statement during the recent State of the Union address when he noted America would pursue oil drilling as “the United States will need oil production for at least another decade.”
Last week, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) revised the number of approved applications for permits to drill from approximately 9,000 to less than 6,700.
Alaskan legislatures and Kara Moriarty, CEO of Alaska Oil & Gas Association, assert the Biden administration is crippling efforts to produce oil and gas and bring energy prices down.
Also undermining the goal of energy independence is Biden’s recent move to block Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavey’s bid to open several oil refineries, which would produce approximately 180,000 barrels of oil a day for America.
The Biden administration’s Bureau of Land Management blamed the revision on the Trump administration—claiming a technical recording policy attributed to the error.
In a statement to Fox, the Bureau of Land Management said: “As of February 2023, companies have over 6,600 approved and unused drilling permits available on federal lands. This number has been updated to account for a reporting discrepancy resulting from a transition to a new database in mid-2020.”
The admission cast the Biden administration in a poor light, particularly as gas and energy prices continue to rise and the president has consistently repeated the 9,000-permit figure, inferring oil and gas industry leaders had what they needed to increase production.
In March 2022, Biden blamed oil industry administrators for high prices, saying, “Right now, the oil and gas industry is sitting on nearly 9,000 unused but approved permits for production on federal lands.
Biden added: “Families can’t afford that companies sit on … their hands. By the way, one thing I want to say about the oil companies: They talk about how we have — they have 9,000 permits to drill. They’re not drilling. Why aren’t they drilling?”
In November, White House spokesperson John Kirby also cited the 9,000-permit figure and claimed that “there are plenty of opportunities for oil and gas companies to drill here in the United States.”
Frank Macchiarola, the American Petroleum Institute’s senior vice president of policy, economics and regulatory affairs, recently took administration officials to task, telling Fox News:
“Despite the administration’s inaccurate and misleading numbers, the reality is that the U.S. natural gas and oil industry is confronting the global energy crisis by continuing to work to meet the energy needs of U.S. consumers and our allies abroad.”
It is time for the administration to end the finger-pointing and instead support American production with a comprehensive strategy for American energy development — one that includes a final five-year program for offshore leasing and quarterly onshore lease sales,” Macchiarola added.
Fox News reported that oil production on federal land dropped to 12.28 million barrels per day in November — a reduction of approximately 720,000 barrels per day from when former President Trump was in office.
Responding to the growing outcry to the rise in energy prices, a White House official attempted to shift blame for the drop in production by pointing to the greed of gas and oil industry executives, telling Fox News Digital:
“The record profits oil companies made in 2022 and the thousands of approved but unused drilling permits they are sitting on shows that there is nothing getting in the way of increasing oil production except Big Oil’s own decision to funnel their profits into the pockets of shareholders and executives.”
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