President Joe Biden’s administration is reportedly turning to Venezuela for oil just days after the administration canceled domestic oil and gas drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico and along the Alaskan coast.
Officials speaking on a condition of anonymity told The Washington Post that Biden’s Treasury Department eased Venezuelan energy sanctions on Tuesday, allowing the major U.S. oil company Chevron to negotiate with Venezuela’s socialist dictatorship on restarting production that was previously restricted.
One official told CNN that the U.S. agreed to lift sanctions on Venezuela “on the basis of ambitious, concrete and irreversible outcomes that empower the Venezuelan people to determine the future in their country through democratic elections.”
The Biden administration also canceled several domestic drilling leases as the average price of gasoline skyrocketed to $4.56 a gallon on Wednesday, AAA data shows.
“The lack of new lease sales will lower future supplies, which will keep energy prices high and drive inflation for years to come,” Marty Durbin, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s energy sector, said in a statement, according to The Wall Street Journal. “While some in the Administration have called for more domestic production, this action sends exactly the wrong signal to producers and markets.”
While running for office in 2020, then-candidate Joe Biden vowed to end drilling for oil altogether.
“Number one, no more subsidies for fossil fuel industry. No more drilling on federal lands. No more drilling, including offshore. No ability for the oil industry to continue to drill, period, ends, number one,” Biden said.
Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member John Barrasso said in a statement that President Biden should know “that buying energy from tyrants is a dangerous proposition.”
“Yet President Biden continues to reward our enemies by waiving sanctions while his administration does its best to kill American energy production. Funding despots isn’t in the national interest. Supporting American energy is,” he added, as reported by the Daily Caller.
Earlier this year, a poll revealed that a large majority of Americans are unhappy with Mr. Biden’s handling of inflation and surging gas prices. The survey by ABC News and Ipsos found that while 77% of Americans supported the move to ban Russian imports of oil over the invasion of Ukraine, even if that means paying more at the pump, 70% of people disapprove of Biden’s handling of rising prices.