Eminent economist Thomas Sowell once quipped that if Washington were to pass a law against lying, there would be an eerie silence in the nation’s capital. Mendacity is now a prerequisite for politicians on both sides of the aisle. Presidents, senators, and congressmen utter misleading statements, spout lies, and omit crucial aspects of data or developments. It is the only way to survive in politics since these individuals have likely espoused contradictory opinions or voted for things that were the opposite of what they pledged. President Joe Biden’s war on reality is a perfect encapsulation of the left’s new guiding principle: Being morally right is superior to being factually correct. When the president blames Big Oil for today’s market conditions, it might feel right, but it is far from the truth.
Biden’s Big Oil Culprit
During his March 8 press conference, where he announced a ban on Russian oil imports, Biden purported that it is “simply not true that my administration or policies are holding back domestic energy production.” He then cited a magical number that has quickly become the basis of the White House’s defense against assertions President Biden is chiefly responsible for lack of increased output: 9,000.
“They have 9,000 permits to drill now that could be drilling right now, yesterday, last week, and last year,” he told reporters, echoing similar comments from Press Secretary Jen Psaki, who has been touting this figure repeatedly throughout press briefings and on Twitter.
While it is technically accurate that the oil and gas industry does have 9,000 permits to drill for crude oil and gas, the figure does not tell the entire story or paint the whole picture. And perhaps this is what the administration is betting on, knowing that the mainstream media will refuse to dive deeper into the issue or that left-leaning voters will not question more about this statistic. So, what is the truth?
Mr. 9,000 – The Facts
One of the biggest challenges facing the fossil fuel industry is capital. Over the last year, the federal government has been sure to encourage the finance industry to refrain from pouring too much money into oil and gas projects, pushing them to focus on the renewable sector. Bureaucratic efforts and a mountain of red tape have made it difficult to receive loans, especially for smaller firms. As a result, many businesses will favor non-federal leases since there is less of a regulatory burden.
Because they are emboldened by the Democrats, environmental organizations and anti-crude activists will do one of two things: present a legal challenge to hundreds of these leases or slow project and pipeline infrastructure development.
A common complaint from the fossil fuel industry is that the pre-development environmental assessments within the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) can generally take a couple of years to complete fully. This makes leasing and other government applications slow to receive approval. With horizontal drilling becoming more ubiquitous, drillers will need to apply for multiple leases. Either companies will combine a new lease with existing ones or request a series of fresh ones. Whatever the case may be, the length of time it takes to wait for the government to give the go-ahead can make it an arduous process.
It should also be pointed out that not every single lease will result in development. For example, following its exploratory work, a firm may decide that there are not enough crude or natural gas resources underneath, so that organization will abandon the proposal. But the government still receives leasing revenue.
Put simply, it is not as elementary as Biden, Psaki, and other administration officials make it out to be. They can keep shrieking about 9,000 leases, but it does not resolve the complexity behind turning on the taps and accelerating output.
Energy observers note that President Biden could do a lot to support the oil and gas industry, be it ordering financial regulatory agencies to cease preventing capital and credit from flowing into production or announcing that all outstanding leases and permits are approved. But he will not do this, choosing to instead rely on foreign countries to supply the global economy with oil and natural gas and tell everyone else to purchase an electric vehicle. This is in addition to the canceling of the Keystone XL pipeline and the plethora of restrictions since the president’s arrival at the Oval Office.
A Complex Issue
Could crude, natural gas, coal, and gasoline prices come down soon? If they do, it will not be because of Big Oil. The Biden administration has been entrenched in discussions with oil-rich despotic regimes, including Venezuela and Saudi Arabia, to turn on the taps and get ready to flood international energy markets with black gold. US officials have also been trying to establish a new nuclear deal with Iran that would likely result in Tehran injecting millions of barrels of crude into the worldwide marketplace. Rather than give America’s gross domestic product a boost by energy firms taking advantage of $100 oil and creating jobs, he is outsourcing the nation’s power needs to corrupt and brutal governments that are hardly different from President Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin.
Biden could have gone bridge in the ninth inning, but he opted to hit a can of corn, leaving fans in the stands with higher hot dog and beer prices.
~ Read more from Andrew Moran.