Thursday 10 March 2022

Democrats break ranks, demand Biden increase domestic oil production as he looks to Venezuela and Saudi Arabia

 Democratic lawmakers are increasingly breaking with their party's narrative on fossil fuels as Americans face a growing oil crisis.

What do Democrats believe?

The Democratic Party's official 2020 platform committed to "combatting the climate crisis and pursuing environmental justice."

For years, Democrats have blamed fossil fuels for contributing to climate change and have advocated moving America's energy needs to renewable sources to slow the impacts of climate change. Doing so would require decreasing dependence on oil, coal, and gas, while increasing reliance upon solar, wind, hydro, and nuclear energy sources.

But what are some Democrats saying?

A group of Texas Democrats sent President Joe Biden a letter Tuesday calling on him to "unleash" American production of energy sources to "counter reliance on Russian oil and gas."

The letter — signed by Reps. Vicente Gonzalez, Sylvia Garcia, Henry Cuellar, and Filemon Vela — demanded that Biden send a "strong signal" to the world "that the United States will be a reliable producer and supplier of oil and natural gas for the foreseeable future."

Among the practical steps that Biden should take, the lawmakers said the president should "promote long-term American energy production," and they called on him to direct federal agencies to adopt policies empowering American energy producers.

"Domestic energy producers, refiners, and exporters are ready, willing, and able to work with your administration to give our allies access to a reliable source of energy and provide relief to American consumers," the lawmakers wrote. "We cannot wait for tomorrow to do what needs to be done today. 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."

Two Democratic senators — Jon Tester (Mont.) and Joe Manchin (W.Va.) — also renewed calls on Tuesday for American companies to ramp up domestic production.

"We shouldn’t be advancing other countries that don’t share our values," Tester told CNN. "So, I think the opportunity here is to do it domestically, create jobs here, deal with it domestically, and also see if we can help Europe out, too."

Manchin said, "We should basically go back to the policies that we’ve had before. We have to do our leasing in the Gulf [of Mexico], OK, [Bureau of Land Management] lands have been off-target, all this has to go back into production. That’s all we’re asking for. And if we’re asking the rest of the world to step up, let’s show that we’re going to step up. And any oil that’s needed to our allies around the world, we produce it cleaner than anybody.”

Despite pleas from his own party, Biden has not signaled that he will urge American oil producers to help alleviate the growing energy crisis.

In fact, the Biden administration is reportedly looking internationally — to Venezuela and Saudi Arabia — to help meet American oil needs.

Meanwhile, deputy national security adviser Daleep Singh claimed Wednesday that even if American producers maximized their drilling capacity, the price of gas would be unaffected.

"That's why we have resolved to speed our transition toward cleaner, more sustainable, and renewable sources of energy," Singh said.

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