by Thomas Catenacci
The White House has pushed the so-called green transition in the wake of the Ukraine crisis, arguing it proves global oil market dependence is unstable.
President Joe Biden believes that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine proves that the U.S. needs to move away from crude oil altogether, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said during an interview Sunday. Her comments came in response to Republican Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton’s interview earlier in the day, where he argued that the federal government should open the door to greater domestic fossil fuel production and cut off Russian imports.
“What this actually justifies, in President Biden’s view, is the fact that we need to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, on oil in general, and need to — and we need to look at other ways of having energy in our country and others,” Psaki said in the interview with ABC News.
“A number of European countries are recognizing they need to reduce their own reliance on Russian oil,” she said. “So I’m not sure we agree with that assessment of what needs to happen. But energy sanctions remain on the table.”
But Cotton noted in his comments Sunday that Biden shut down the Keystone XL pipeline in the early days of his administration. The pipeline project would have allowed for greater oil imports from Canada, the US’ largest oil trade partner.
“How about we impose (sanctions on Russia’s energy sector), but we lift all those restrictions on the production of American oil and gas, so we can start drilling on federal lands again and putting out new leases, so we can re-open the Keystone Pipeline, which would bring more oil into America every day from Canada than we import every day from Russia,” Cotton said.
While the Biden administration has announced several rounds of economic sanctions against Russia, it has yet to sanction the country’s key oil and gas sector. The fossil fuel industry provides about 40% of Russia’s federal budget.
Russia provided about 670,000 barrels of oil per day to the U.S. in 2021, Energy Information Administration data showed.
“This administration is floundering, truly floundering. They have no policy except that they’re at the altar of green energy,” Republican Ohio Rep. Bob Latta, a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, told the Daily Caller News Foundation in November 2021 after Psaki similarly argued higher gasoline prices prove the need for renewables.
The White House didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.