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Vox dusts off an old lie to discourage drilling

Now that high energy prices are really beginning to threaten Democrats’ election chances in November, Vox is dusting off an old, disproven Obama line [1] to tell the country that drilling won’t help America drive down energy prices. 

In 2013, Obama said quite famously about our oil troubles back then: “We can’t just drill our way out of the problem.”

The phrase became famous, or rather infamous, because after his Obamacare lie “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor,” which was called “Lie of the Year” by Politifact [2], his prediction on drilling was his biggest whopper. 

“More than seven years later, human ingenuity, technological innovation, and the power of the free market have proven him wrong. To the benefit of American families across the country, the United States is now the largest global producer of crude oil,” thanks to domestic drilling said Nicolas Loris, an economist at Heritage. [3]

But with oil prices threatening new record prices, Vox has dusted off the dubious Obama non sequitur in defense of Democrats’ “drill nothing” approach. 

So let’s break down the latest “myths” that Vox says Republicans are spreading about how drilling for oil in the U.S. won’t help produce lower energy prices. 

Vox Myth No. 1: President Joe Biden killed oil production.

Vox said, “Biden has done nothing to halt oil leasing.” They contend in fact that Biden has “outpaced” the Trump administration in oil leases. 

Let’s take these one at a time. 

Biden signed an executive order that allowed the administration to delay the sale of leases on federal land until they could figure out a way to stack the leases with fees to make oil less attractive. 

“We’ve already waited too long to deal with the climate crisis. We cannot wait any longer,” Biden said during a briefing on the order, according to CNBC [4]. 

And the environmental lobby was “thrilled.” 

“We’re thrilled President Biden is quickly honoring his pledge to stop new fossil fuel leasing of our federal lands and waters,” said Kierán Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity via CNBC “The climate and wildlife extinction crises demand this kind of bold, urgent action.”  

That sure doesn’t sound like either Biden or the environmentalists had a plan to outpace Trump on oil leases. 

That is up until a federal judge forced Biden [5] to nix the ban on leases that Biden called just a “pause.” 

And while it’s true that under that federal court order, Biden eventually sold more leases than Trump, those leases were found to be invalid by another court because Biden didn’t follow the law– just as it was planned by the administration—again, to prevent drilling. 

“It is extremely disappointing that the Biden administration continues to sabotage oil and gas lease sales. These actions are crippling consumers, destroying jobs, and jeopardizing our national security,” Elizabeth Murrill, Solicitor General of Louisiana said in a statement after the court decision according to Reuters. [6] 

Myth No. 2 The oil and gas industry can quickly ramp up production to make a dent in prices.

Vox said: “But oil companies have made it clear in earnings calls with shareholders that they don’t plan to produce much more, anyway.” 

And why would they with a partner like the Biden administration that has a commitment to killing their industry?

“That means U.S. drillers are leaving a lot of crude in the ground. If they chose the other path — pouring windfall profits into new drilling — they easily could inflate domestic production by 2 million barrels a day, according to IHS Markit. Current forecasts are for the U.S. to add less than half that to global supplies this year,” said Yahoo Finance.

The U.S. gets about 700,000 barrels of oil products per day from Russia [7]. 

So we have enough oil in the ground, without exploration, to make up the difference, but the will is missing. 

Drilling takes massive investment and who would make that type of investment when it can get killed as quickly as Biden killed the Keystone Pipeline [8] , a project which lost over a billion dollars USD on the cancellation? Or could be cancelled by a federal judge because that’s exactly what the Biden team wanted, just like they did with the oil leases. 

“We’ve had enough head fakes that we’re going to be very thoughtful in ramping activity up,” Rick Muncrief, CEO of Devon Energy Corp., said during a phone interview with Bloomberg about drilling more. “Let’s face it: we all are recovering in one way or another from this pandemic. We’re just slowly getting healthier and healthier over time, but you don’t get there overnight.”

This lack of trust could be overcome by government honesty and fair dealing. 

Myth No. 3 LNG exports will fix Europe’s problems and help U.S. gas prices.

Vox said: “The reason we’re experiencing higher natural gas prices right now is we’re exporting more,” Clark Williams-Derry, an energy analyst with the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis—who, by the way, is an environmentalist– told Vox. “It’s not that we’re consuming more. It’s not that we’re producing less. It’s that we’re exporting.”

We’re exporting more to Europe. 

So logically, when not producing more and exporting more to other places, producing more LNG here at home for domestic use would help bring prices down. 

This is economics 101, even if it’s heresy to environmentalists.  

Vox’s Myth No. 4 goes into detail about climate change, something that isn’t really germane to whether domestic drilling can bring down high prices. 

If increasing our supply of energy won’t help drive down high prices, why is the Biden administration visiting Venezuela [9] to try to strike an oil deal? Why are they allowing Iran to evade sanctions [10] and sell oil internationally? Why are they making an approach to Saudi Arabia [11] to produce more OPEC oil?

Venezuela, Iran and Saudi Arabia can produce more oil to help drive down prices, say Biden’s actions, but American companies with American workers, selling to American consumers, can’t? 

These are the myths Vox is peddling that Obama has already answered.