Psaki Claim Fact-Checked: ‘Just Because an Oil Company Has a Lease Doesn't Mean They Can Just Start Drilling’

By Craig Bannister | March 7, 2022 | 3:12pm EST
WH Press Sec. Jen Psaki

In an effort to distract from President Joe Biden’s anti-domestic energy policies, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki insinuated last Thursday that, because there are nine thousand unused, approved oil leases in the U.S., American oil companies are simply refusing to begin producing domestic oil from them.

Psaki was asked at a press conference why - given Biden’s recent call for increased U.S. manufacturing of other goods, to help stem the rising tide of inflation - his administration isn’t applying that same attitude toward U.S. oil production, especially considering the effect of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Well, there are nine thousand approved oil leases that the oil companies are not tapping into currently.  So, I would ask them that question,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki replied, prompting The National Desk’s Fact Check Team to publish an analysis titled, “Why isn't the US producing more oil?”

Despite Psaki’s insinuation, oil companies can’t simply start using approved oil leases to begin pumping, the fact check explains, noting that it could take up to 10 years of overcoming regulatory hurdles and years of drilling before the oil well of an “approved” lease becomes fruitful:

“They must organize and safely manage their reservoir and satisfy several regulatory requirements, such as an onsite inspection, environmental review and permit approval. This process can actually take up to 10 years.

“Experts say even if these companies start drilling more oil wells today, it could take anywhere from six months to years for that oil to start flowing.”

As for the president's domestic energy policy, "Biden hasn’t held an onshore lease sale and is the only President in at least two decades not to have done so in a given year," The Wall Street Journal reports.

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