President Joe Biden said during his recent State of the Union speech that the nation is going to need oil for at least another decade in a remark that led to audible laughter among Republican lawmakers in the audience.
Biden made the comment during the section of his speech that addressed concerns that his administration was shutting down oil refineries.
“We’re going to need oil for at least another decade,” the president stated. “And beyond that. We’re going to need it, production. If they had in fact invested in the production to keep gas prices down, instead, they used their record profits to buy back their own stock, rewarding the CEOs and shareholders.”
The remarks came after longtime concerns over Biden’s policies toward the oil industry that has led to surging gas prices for Americans.
The president signed an executive order on his first day in office to stop the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. The project was expected to carry over 800,000 barrels of oil per day.
Biden has since urged oil companies to increase output to reduce prices. The president has also added to controversies after selling six million barrels of the nation’s oil to the Chinese company Sinopec.
House Republicans passed a bill last month to ban the sale of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to China that passed along party lines in a 218 to 113 vote. The bill was introduced by Energy and Commerce Committee chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA).
The bill is largely symbolic, as the Democratic majority in the Senate is opposed to the legislation and holds the majority in the upper chamber.
“Draining our strategic reserves for political purposes and selling portions of it to China is a significant threat to our national security,” Rodgers said in a floor speech. “The administration is not just hurting our own ability to respond to emergencies and national security events, they are actively bolstering the oil reserves of our most dangerous geopolitical adversary, the Chinese Communist Party. This is unacceptable and it must stop.”
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) also sent a letter to the Department of Energy in July to call for an investigation into the Biden administration’s oil sales to Chinese companies.
“While Americans are paying record gasoline and diesel fuel prices, the Biden administration appears to have been letting our strategic oil stockpiles flow to foreign countries and entities,” Hawley wrote.
“Critically, the American people deserve answers as to how exactly the Department justified sending oil from the SPR to China. DOE’s recent transfer of nearly one million barrels of oil to UNIPEC is just one concerning example,” he added.