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WASHINGTON DC, March 10, 2022 Following Big Oil’s continued attacks on the Biden administration’s energy policies, government watchdog Accountable.US hosted a press call with U.S. Representative Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.), the Chair of the House Natural Resources Committee, and Taxpayers for Common Sense where they exposed the fossil fuel industry’s profiteering on the crisis in Ukraine and its efforts to mislead the American people about the cause of increased consumer gas prices.

Despite what Big Oil claims, a new report from Accountable.US shows that there is no evidence that a purported lack of access to new leases on federal public lands contributes to increased gasoline and natural gas prices for consumers. Furthermore,  the report demonstrates that oil and gas prices have not been impacted by the volume of production, new permits, or the availability of leases on public lands.

Some key quotes from the call:

U.S. Representative Raúl M. Grijalva: “Instead of joining calls across the country for unity, the fossil fuel industry has repeated the same old, tired talking points about how more drilling on American public land and less regulations is the solution to all our problems, including the invasion of Ukraine. We have heard the same old drilling demands of the American Petroleum Institute and their Big Oil buddies here on the Hill every year as long as we can remember. The fossil fuel industry is demanding more access to public lands but oil and gas companies are sitting on 26 million acres of leases, 53% of which are not producing. The fossil fuel industry is also demanding more drilling permits but they already have 9,000 approved permits they can use whenever they want. The very companies with thousands of acres of existing leases and hundreds of unused permits are the same ones shouting they need more land for drilling.”

Kyle Herrig, Accountable.US: “None of this is new for Big Oil. The American Petroleum Institute, their trade association, has a long history of attempting to use crises to advance its agenda and make wealthy oil and gas company executives even richer. But we won’t let Big Oil use this crisis as a cover to line their pockets while families see costs go up. This moment is a powerful reminder that an economy reliant on fossil fuels is too unpredictable and makes America dependent on the decisions of greedy oil company executives and often hostile or unstable foreign leaders like Putin.”

Added Herrig: “Republicans in Congress love to talk about market forces. Well, the market forces are going towards a clean energy future. Republicans have a choice: to do what they preach, which is to follow market forces, or stand on the side of despotic foreign regimes and enrich their oil and gas friends.”

Autumn Hanna, Taxpayers for Common Sense: “The war in Ukraine has prompted the oil and gas industry and its patrons to advocate for more support from the American taxpayer. None of these industry requests would affect the level of oil production for years, if at all, and they would have no effect on the price of gas at the pump. The broken leasing system, along with a slew of tax breaks enjoyed exclusively by oil and gas companies, represent a massive taxpayer subsidy to one of history’s most profitable industries. It is time to stop the subsidies and fix the federal leasing system.”

A full recording of the call is available here and you can read Accountable.US’ full report here.