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Biden admin admits key talking point of gas price crisis it used to shift blame onto oil industry was wrong
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Biden admin admits key talking point of gas price crisis it used to shift blame onto oil industry was wrong

The Biden administration quietly admitted this week that a key talking point it used to deflect responsibility for the gas price crisis last year was not true.

What was the claim?

As gas prices skyrocketed to record highs, the Biden administration accused the oil industry of sitting on 9,000 already-approved oil lease permits.

It claimed that instead of increasing production and putting more oil and gas in the market, the oil industry was raking in record profits while refusing to reinvest that income into its businesses.

"They have 9,000 permits to drill now. They could be drilling right now, yesterday, last week, last year. They have 9,000 to drill onshore that are already approved," Biden said last March. "So let me be clear: They are not using them for production now. That’s their decision. These are the facts. We should be honest about the facts."

Numerous Biden administration officials repeated the claim for months.

But what are they saying now?

The Bureau of Land Management, which manages the leases, revised the approved number down to fewer than 7,000, blaming the Trump administration for causing a technical error.

Fox News reported:

The Bureau of Land Management revised the current number of approved applications for permits to drill — which oil and gas companies are required to file once they identify a deposit on a lease that can be tapped — down from an estimated 9,000 to less than 6,700. The BLM, a subagency of the Department of the Interior, blamed the revision on a Trump-era technical change that it hadn't properly accounted for.

The BLM said in a statement, "As of February 2023, companies have over 6,600 approved and unused drilling permits available on federal lands. This number has been updated to account for a reporting discrepancy resulting from a transition to a new database in mid-2020."

Still, the Biden administration maintained its anti-oil rhetoric.

"The record profits oil companies made in 2022 and the thousands of approved but unused drilling permits they are sitting on shows that there is nothing getting in the way of increasing oil production except Big Oil’s own decision to funnel their profits into the pockets of shareholders and executives," an official told Fox News.

Anything else?

While there are thousands of approved leases that are not being used, extracting oil from approved land is not easy. It could take years to develop land — if there is even a viable oil reservoir to be tapped.

The oil industry made it clear last year that the Biden administration was not honest about the time and money it requires to develop functioning wells on land with an approved lease.

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