Psaki: The Keystone XL Pipeline ‘Won’t Address Any of the Problems We’re Having Currently’

Melanie Arter | March 9, 2022 | 5:36pm EST
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White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki speaks during the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, DC, on October 18, 20201. (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images)
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki speaks during the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, DC, on October 18, 20201. (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images)

( - White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday that if President Joe Biden allowed construction to continue on the Keystone XL Pipeline, it won’t address the high price of gas right now.

Fox News White House Correspondent Peter Doocy asked, “Why did you guys decide to rebrand the rise in gas prices as the #Putinpricehike?”

PSAKI: If you want to use that on Fox, I welcome that.

DOOCY: I think it’ll get a lot of air time, because we have heard the president warn for months that gas prices were rising because of the supply chain and because of post-pandemic demand. If you guys knew for months that this was going to be the #Putinpricehike, why are we just hearing that now?

PSAKI: Well, Peter, if we go back to six months ago, I don’t think anybody was predicting we would be exactly where we are as it relates to Russia and Ukraine. As you know that events in the world, including the invasion by Russia of a foreign country does prompt instability and volatility in the global oil markets, and there are all sorts of different issues that can impact that. 

That’s what we’re seeing now. Outside economists and analysts have conveyed and said publicly that Russia’s invasion, Russia’s build-up of troops, President Putin’s decision to do that early this year led to a lot of the instability and volatility in the oil markets. You don’t have to take my word for it. 

So therefore if President Putin’s build-up of military troops is leading to volatility and an increase in oil and prices. Hence, you have Putin pump gas price pump rise.

DOOCY: You and the president are both talking about producing energy here saying that oil and gas companies had 9,000 permits to drill now. They could be drilling right now. Would President Biden cut red tape to make that possible?

PSAKI: What red tape needs to be cut when they have the permits? They have the capacity to do it. What’s holding them up?

DOOCY: Does President Biden think that each of these 9,000 leases that are available have oil or gas in them, because industry experts are saying that accusation is a red herring. Some permits are viable, and some are not and that when you say that, this represents a fundamental misunderstanding as to how this process works. 

PSAKI: First of all, the nearly 60 percent of leased acres remain non-producing. That’s a lot, in the range of 20 million acres, so there are 9,000 unused approved permits to drill in. They should not require– that should not require inviting them to do that. They should do that themselves.

DOOCY: But they can’t get the additional permits, so would the president–

PSAKI: What additional permits do you need? The leases are there. The permits are there. I don’t think they need an embroidered invitation to drill. They’re oil companies. The permits have been granted, Peter. What is happening here is that we are seeing these are private sector companies. 

We recognize that. Many of them are making record profits. We see that. That is all publicly available data. They have pressure to return cash to investors and their shareholders. What we’re saying right now is there is a war. We’re asking them to go use the approved permits, use the unused space and go get more supply out of the ground in our own country. 

DOOCY: And just a quick yes or no, because there’s a lot of gray area here. Is a restart of the Keystone XL construction completely off the table as long as Joe Biden is president?

PSAKI: Why don’t you tell me what that would help address?

DOOCY: I’m asking if it is an option. You guys say all options are on the table. Is restarting Keystone construction one of them?

PSAKI: If we’re trying to bring about more supply, that does not address any problem.

DOOCY: Is supply from Canada, a friendly ally, instead of Saudi Arabia or Iran–

PSAKI: We’re already getting that oil, Peter. The pipeline is just the delivery mechanism. It is not an oil field, so it does not provide more supply into the system. It does not address–

DOOCY: Is it possible that Joe Biden will ever say, you guys can go ahead with Keystone XL?

PSAKI: There’s no plans for that, and it would not address any of the problems we’re having currently.

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