Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) got called out by CNN host Dana Bash Sunday morning when he attempted to blame the rise in oil prices on President Biden’s decision to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline and the administration blocking drilling by American energy prices, which have spiked since Russia invaded Ukraine.
Portman repeated patented (and false) GOP talking points about domestic energy production, telling Bash:
“When the president was elected, he said we’re going to cut off Keystone which is North American energy which is what we’re talking about. That was over 800,000 barrels per day, more than the Russian oil which was 600,000 barrels a day. Second, he issued an executive order stopping exploration on public lands and water. Finally, he’s rewriting this legislation that is now a regulation that has to do with permitting called Waters of the United States. All of this is leading to less North American energy production; specific policy decisions have been made.”
Bash immediately laid a fact-check on the Ohio Republican:
“Senator, a couple things. On Keystone, I have not seen any report that it would have even been done in time to affect the crisis that’s happening now — it wouldn’t have been done until at least next year. On the public lands you’re talking about, that might be true, that he stopped production on public lands, but the administration has given more permits for drilling on private lands.
“In fact, I have a comment from [Energy] Secretary [Jennifer] Granholm saying take advantage of the leases you have, hire workers, get your rig up. Isn’t it true that this is really just because of the pandemic and all of the economic woes and the implications from the pandemic that we’re seeing now and then, of course, exacerbated by Russia?”
Portman attempted to pivot:
“First of all, oil prices started to go up long before any invasion of Ukraine, as you know. Oil prices went up for a lot of reasons. One is the fact that this administration made it a priority of theirs to stifle domestic production of fossil fuels — there’s no secret to that. The president campaigned on it, he had a right to do it. I disagree with him, that’s a fact. That affected the price of oil, long before the Ukrainian issue became a factor.”
However, oil prices didn’t go to $125+ a barrel until the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which clearly establishes what has led to the sudden jump in pump prices.
The senator circled back to Keystone:
“Second, you talk about these leases. If oil companies could know that they could make billions in investments which is what some of these are, like the Keystone XL pipeline and have it end up with oil and gas being able to be available on the market, they would certainly do that.”
Oil companies aren’t already making billions? Their profits are through the roof! They’re engaged in price gouging, plain and simple.
Sen. Portman and others in the GOP should preface their remarks on energy prices with a disclosure of how much campaign cash they take from Big Oil. Then we’d know exactly why they’re so eager to drill on every inch of American soil and build pipelines that would pump dirty tar sands oil to other countries, which was the whole purpose of Keystone XL.
Here’s the video from CNN:
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