As energy prices soar, especially oil and gas, critics of the Biden administration have argued that simply encouraging increased domestic drilling would help begin to ease the country’s dependence on expensive, foreign fossil fuels.
But President Joe Biden’s White House doesn’t believe that’s a proper solution to the ongoing problem, with White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre making that clear during a recent press briefing, Fox Business reported.
Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy pressed Pierre on the issue, calling out the White House’s recent narrative in which it criticizes big oil companies and accuses them of price gouging and profiteering, instead of simply making it easier for companies to engage in domestic drilling, given America’s vast supply of oil ready to be tapped.
“Why not just drill more here in the U.S., though?” Doocy asked.
“Because we don’t need to do that,” Jean-Pierre responded. “What we need [oil companies] to do is, with the oil that’s out there, we need them to refine that oil so that the capacity can go up and that prices would go down.”
Jean-Pierre’s response to Doocy’s question was widely panned across social media, with critics also pointing out the contradiction of President Joe Biden recently again tapping the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
“We don’t need to [expand drilling in the US].”
— The Epoch Times (@EpochTimes) June 16, 2022
The back-and-forth between the two in the briefing room comes in the wake of President Biden sending a letter to several of the nation’s top oil refineries, demanding that they step up production or face the possibility of the president invoking emergency war powers to compel them to do so.
“Your companies and others have an opportunity to take immediate actions to increase the supply of gasoline, diesel and other refined product you are producing,” President Biden wrote.
He added: “My administration is prepared to use all reasonable and appropriate Federal Government tools and emergency authorities to increase refinery capacity and output in the near term, and to ensure that every region of this country is appropriately supplied.”
According to The Hill, both Exxon Mobil and Chevron have pushed back on Biden’s accusations by releasing their own statements regarding the current crisis, going as far as publicly suggesting that Biden’s White House could be doing more to help alleviate some of the pressure.
Recently, the national average gasoline price crested the $5.00 per gallon mark for the first time in U.S. history. Experts warn that the number likely hasn’t peaked, with some predicting that it could go shockingly higher by year’s end.