The head of the nation’s top oil lobby group blamed President Biden’s energy policies Thursday for surging multi-decade high inflation.
American Petroleum Institute (API) CEO Mike Sommers ripped the White House energy strategy, accusing it of sending mixed signals to the domestic industry.
Sommers — who made the comments during a media briefing ahead of Biden’s trip to Saudi Arabia where the president is expected to ask Middle Eastern energy producers to pump more oil — urged the president to incentivize greater domestic oil and gas production rather than beg foreign leaders for those same resources.
“This administration’s misguided policy agenda — shifting away from domestic oil and natural gas — has compounded inflationary pressures and added headwinds to companies’ daily efforts to meet growing energy needs while reducing emissions,” Sommers told reporters Thursday.
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“The truth of the matter is oil and natural gas will be needed for decades to come and the real question is where consumers will turn to meet rising energy demand,” he continued. “American producers are poised to meet the moment, but we need a comprehensive energy policy that lays the foundation for long-term growth.”
The Consumer Price Index, which the Department of Labor uses to measure inflation, surged 9.1% year-over-year in June, according to a report released Wednesday. Energy prices, including gasoline, natural gas, electricity and fuel oil, alone increased 41.6% over the last 12 months.
Sommers said the Biden administration has contributed to the higher prices by hamstringing energy companies’ ability to drill for more oil and gas. He urged the president to develop a comprehensive plan that “lays the foundation for long-term growth.”
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“One of the key concerns that we have are the continued mixed messages that we’re getting from this administration,” Sommers said. “On one hand, they’re asking for more supply, but on the other hand, continuing to talk about how this industry needs to go away within a very short period of time.”
“That does not unlock the kind of investment that we need to have if we’re going to continue growing production and advancing this industry going forward,” he added.
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The Biden administration has repeatedly pursued green energy policies like canceling major oil and gas leases, canceling the Keystone XL pipeline and backing regulations making it harder to approve natural gas pipeline infrastructure. On July 1, the Interior Department (DOI) removed the possibility of holding any lease sales in the Atlantic and Pacific and opened the door to no offshore sales at all over the next five years.
During the call Thursday, Sommers expressed concern over the DOI proposal and reiterated his invitation for Biden to visit US energy producers’ facilities.