Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) shrugged at the Biden administration’s release of 50 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve on Tuesday, describing it as a “Band-Aid” on a “self-inflicted wound” and calling on the president to revive the canceled Keystone XL pipeline.
Manchin, the chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, decried what he called the “shortsighted energy policy” of the White House.
“With an energy transition underway across the country, it is critical that Washington does not jeopardize America’s energy security in the near term and leave consumers vulnerable to rising prices,” Manchin said in a statement. “Historic inflation taxes and the lack of a comprehensive all-of-the-above energy policy pose a clear and present threat to America’s economic and energy security that can no longer be ignored.
“I continue to call on President Biden to responsibly increase energy production here at home and to reverse course to allow the Keystone XL pipeline to be built which would have provided our country with up to 900,000 barrels of oil per day from Canada, one of our closest allies,” Manchin went on. “To be clear, this is about American energy independence and the fact that hard working Americans should not depend on foreign actors, like OPEC+, for our energy security and instead focus on the real challenges facing our country’s future.”
The White House announced the release from the strategic reserve at 7 a.m. Tuesday, as millions of Americans prepared to hit the road for the Thanksgiving holiday and brave gas prices approximately $1.29 higher than last year. Despite the fanfare surrounding the announcement, analysts and markets were unimpressed — while Biden himself admitted that the move “will not solve the problems of high gas prices overnight.”
Biden revoked the permit for the long-mooted Keystone XL pipeline hours after taking office on Jan. 20, immediately halting construction on the project.
The following month, Manchin was one of two Democratic senators to initially support a Republican amendment that would have put support for the pipeline in the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan — only to later reverse course and back an amendment from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) that removed the Keystone XL provision from the bill.
Manchin has proved to be a persistent thorn in the Biden administration’s side over his stance on the president’s nearly $2 trillion social spending bill, known as the Build Back Better Act. Through his intransigence, the West Virginian has forced the removal of provisions creating free community college, expanding Medicare benefits and fining energy producers that stick with carbon-heavy fuels.
The president insisted in his remarks Tuesday that canceling the Keystone Pipeline and similar actions — like scrapping new oil leases — had nothing to do with the rise in the cost of gas.
“My effort to combat climate change is not raising the price of gas or increasing its availability,” Biden said before exhorting Americans: “Let’s beat climate change with more extensive innovation and opportunities. We can make our economy and consumers less vulnerable to these sorts of price spikes when we do that.”
With Post wires
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