Biden Bans Drilling Despite Record High Gas Prices

Average U.S. gas prices have reached record-breaking highs, AAA reports. Meanwhile, Republican senators are slamming the Biden administration’s “de facto ban on new drilling.”

The national average for a gallon of gasoline hit $4.589, beating the record of a few days previous.

The hefty price tag comes as the European Union edges closer to oil sanctions against Russia following its invasion of Ukraine. Soaring gas prices come feed 40-year-high inflation.

Record prices follow the Department of the Interior’s cancellation of a gas and oil lease sale of more than 1 million acres in Alaska’s Cook Inlet, which the Department of the Interior attributed to a “lack of industry interest.”

Interior also canceled two leases in the Gulf of Mexico. 

The White House continues to blame Russian President Vladimir Putin for the record-high gas prices across the U.S. The administration vows President Biden will do all he can to shield Americans from continuing “pain at the pump.”

In April, the president announced that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would allow the sale of E15 gasoline across the country this summer. E15 gasoline is the gasoline that uses a 15% ethanol blend.

Biden has moved to release 1 million barrels of oil daily from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve for the next six months. The president has called on Congress to make companies pay fees for non-producing acres of federal lands and idle oil wells.

The administration believes this will be an incentive for new production.

Critics: Biden is the problem

Critics claim President Biden’s energy policy actions have created a “supply problem” in the market.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and 20 GOP senators sent a letter to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, calling on the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to rapidly issue permits needed to bring additional oil production online from existing gas leases and offshore oil leases.

The senators wrote, “While the Biden Administration and Members of Congress fault the domestic oil and gas industry for sitting idle on over 9,000 drilling permits and millions of acres in ‘inactive leases,’ NMFS’s permitting delays represent one example of the administration’s de facto ban on new drilling — impeding domestic oil and gas investment, exploration, and production.”

The senators said the delays are “three administration-made and admitted mistakes” that can be traced back to mathematical errors in calculating the number of endangered species in the Gulf of Mexico. The 2021 final rule governing gas exploration and endangered species. 

The senators added, “It is unacceptable that agency miscalculations have restricted access to safe, secure, and reliable domestic oil and gas production through substantial, unnecessary, and arbitrary permitting delays.”

President Biden signed an executive order temporarily suspending new gas and oil leases on federal lands during his first week. His administration resumed new leasing last month following extended court challenges against the ban. The Biden administration is appealing the ruling. 

According to former Trump-Pence EPA transition member Steve Milloy, the president is to blame for the lack of American oil production.

“I blame Biden for all lack of production. He has scared away investment.”

Milloy also said the president would fine “any excuse not to drill. They even tried to use the social cost of carbon decision to stop leasing.”