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‘Let me give you the facts’: Psaki pushes back on Fox News reporter’s questions about rising gas prices

‘Let me give you the facts here — I know that can be inconvenient, but I think they're important in this moment’

Andrew Feinberg
Washington, DC
Monday 07 March 2022 20:37 GMT
Let me give you the facts': Psaki pushes back on Fox News reporter over domestic oil prices
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White House press secretary Jen Psaki used a contentious question-and-answer session with a Fox News correspondent to refute a string of right-wing media tropes Republicans have used to blame President Joe Biden’s energy policies for recent high gas prices.

While addressing reporters at her daily news briefing on Monday, Ms Psaki was pressed by Fox News reporter Peter Doocy on reports that the Biden administration is looking to backstop a potential ban on Russian oil imports by bringing in a new supply from Iran or Venezuela. Both countries are currently blocked from selling oil on US markets by economic sanctions imposed during the Trump administration.

Mr Doocy noted that the Biden administration has pledged to “do everything [they] can to reduce the impact that high gas prices have on Americans”, and asked Ms Psaki why the US could not simply “do it here” by increasing domestic production.

The White House press secretary has responded to similar questions by noting that the federal government has not placed any limits on oil companies’ ability to make use of current drilling leases, but Mr Doocy initially tried jumping in to keep her from saying so once more before she cut him off.

“Let me give you the facts here – I know that can be inconvenient, but I think they're important in this moment,” Ms Psaki said.

Ms Psaki said administration officials have been “clear” about the need for the short-term US oil supply to keep up with demand while continuing to push for a shift to renewable, clean energy sources.

But she also stressed that the US is currently among the world’s top producers of oil and gas.

“We have actually produced more oil – it is at record numbers – and we will continue to produce more oil,” she said. “There are 9,000 approved drilling permits that are not being used, so the suggestion that we are not allowing companies to drill is inaccurate”.

Also “inaccurate”, she said, would be any “suggestion” that Mr Biden’s executive order prohibiting new drilling permits on federal land is “what is hindering or preventing” a drop in gas prices.

“Ninety per cent of them [drilling leases] happen on private lands ... and there are 9,000 unused, approved drilling permits. So I would suggest you ask the oil companies why they’re not using those if there’s a desire to drill more,” she said.

Ms Psaki also shot down another line of questioning from Mr Doocy on whether Mr Biden’s cancelation of the Canadian Keystone XL gas pipeline would have prevented the recent price spike.

“The Keystone was not an oil field. It's a pipeline,” she said. “Also, the oil is continuing to flow in – just through other means – it actually would have nothing to do with the current supply imbalance.”

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