After the White House claimed that U.S. oil producers have “plenty of opportunities” to drill domestically, some executives are slamming the administration’s “completely inaccurate,” “flat-out lie.”
“We’ve basically tracked about 125 specific actions that this administration and the Democratic Congress have done to slow down or stop oil production in America,” American Energy Alliance President Tom Pyle said on “Varney & Co.” Tuesday. “He has an ‘America last’ energy policy.”
When asked by Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy why President Biden “would rather let U.S. companies drill for oil in Venezuela than here in the U.S.” Monday, NSC Strategic Communication Coordinator John Kirby defended easing oil sanctions against Venezuela, saying that there are plenty of untapped opportunities for companies to drill in the United States.
On Saturday, the Treasury Department announced its decision to allow California-based Chevron to resume “limited” energy production in Venezuela after years of sanctions that have dramatically curtailed oil and gas profits that have flowed to Maduro’s government.
Kirby told Doocy that his framing of the question was “not an accurate take on the president’s view,” to which Doocy retorted that the president himself, earlier this month, said, “there is no more drilling.”
“There are plenty of opportunities for oil and gas companies to drill here in the United States,” Kirby said. “I’ll let Chevron speak for this particular issue of sanctions relief, but our expectation is it won’t be a lot of oil coming out of there. It will have to be shipped to the United States.”
In response, United Refining Company Chairman and CEO John Catsimatidis also told host Ashley Webster on Tuesday that the move “makes no sense at all,” after noting that Canada has the ability to export an additional 1 million barrels of crude oil per day to the U.S.
“Can anybody figure out why we are giving business to Venezuela? Who’s associated with China? Russia?” Catsimatidis asked. “Why are we giving them the business and not giving it to Canada?”
Catsimatidis also said he was left “puzzled” by the White House’s response to the issue.
“While Washington needs checks and balances, I hope we have additional checks and balances now that it’ll be a Republican Congress at least,” the billionaire CEO said.
Pyle explained why the Biden administration may prefer to get oil from Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, as opposed to Texas, New Mexico and North Dakota.
“He simply wants to placate his big donors who don’t want to see fossil fuels produced in this country,” Pyle said. “And meanwhile, we’re all hurting, and will continue to hurt under these policies.”
The American Energy Alliance president also warned about the environmental and economic consequences of foreign oil sources.
“Production in Venezuela has decimated the industry, because of Maduro and his socialist policies,” Pyle noted. “They don’t produce oil and gas as clean as we do here. Their oil is worse for the environment than our oil. It’s not about the climate. It’s about an agenda where they do not want these resources… in this country.”
In addition, American jobs are likely to suffer, with Pyle predicting a “crushing” impact from outsourcing jobs to Venezuela.
“It’s not just the jobs in red states like Texas and Louisiana. Oil and gas industry – there’s caterers, there’s banks, there’s real estate agents,” Pyle listed. “There’s folks in Minnesota who bring the sand over, the boots. It’s not just jobs in the industry, it’s jobs across the entire economy.”
This decision by the Biden administration is the latest step in the softening of hostile relations between the U.S. and Venezuelan governments. It came weeks after a major prisoner swap in which Venezuela freed seven imprisoned Americans in exchange for the U.S. freeing two nephews of Maduro’s wife. Maduro released two other Americans in March.
FOX Business’ Bradford Betz contributed to this report.
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