Only days after Joe Biden bragged about halting drilling in Alaska, the White House is asking U.S. oil and gas producers to reduce the rising energy prices.
Reuters reports White House officials reached out to energy companies as the world faces record-high prices and a shortage of supply.
During a White House event on national monuments just one week earlier, Biden bragged of his suspension of oil and gas drilling on federal lands in Alaska.
“Alaska is pretty big. There’s an awful lot we need to protect,” Biden said Friday. “That’s why I’m refusing to sell out the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve to oil and gas drilling.”
In June, Biden suspended oil leases in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge after the area was opened to drilling in 2017 by President Donald Trump.
Biden also halted new oil and gas leasing and drilling permits on federal lands in January.
The crude oil price has hit a seven-year high this month; it reached $80 per barrel. This year, oil production has remained about 2 million barrels a day less than the nearly 13 million barrels a day produced in the United States in 2019, before the pandemic.
On Wednesday, the U.S. government announced that heating prices could increase up to 54% higher than last year.
The fall spike in energy costs was blamed on September’s Hurricane Ida last week by the White House. However, the president’s priority is cleaner energy sources, the White House argued.
“Certainly, we all want to keep gasoline prices low, but the threat of the crisis — the climate crisis — certainly can’t wait any longer,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said to reporters.