Biden to oil CEOs: ‘Use it or lose it’

Apr 1, 2022

President Biden put oil and gas CEOs on notice regarding their stockpile of millions of acres of idle oil leases, calling on Congress to pass “use it or lose it” legislation that would fine companies for locking up public lands without producing oil on them.

The president’s remarks came as he announced the U.S. would release one million barrels of oil a day from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, a move that immediately sent oil prices tumbling.

Biden noted that oil companies have been “pretty blunt” in explaining why they wouldn’t ramp up production despite Russia’s war on Ukraine.

“They don’t want to increase supply because Putin’s price hike means higher profits. One CEO even acknowledged that they don’t care if the price of a barrel of oil goes to $200 a barrel, they’re not going to step up the production,” Biden said, adding “This is not the time to sit on record profits. It’s time to step up for the good of your country.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi indicated such a policy was on the table in Congress. Senator Martin Heinrich of New Mexico also took aim at speculative leasing, where oil companies buy leases with little to no oil potential.

“We do have a problem with both unused leases that could be produced and unused leases that were leased completely speculatively, where we don’t think there’s any resource,” Heinrich told E&E News. “That’s taking other resources and other uses off the table in those areas in a way that’s not really fair to the rest of the community.”

Quick hits

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Quote of the day

”To be a part of helping to mark the place where that dramatic trajectory of my own life, combined with others of my generation, will influence the future by the footprints we’ve left behind has been incredible. Being a primary source in the sharing of that history – my history – and giving shape to a new national park has been exciting and fulfilling. It has proven to bring meaning to my final years.”

National Park Service Ranger Betty Reid Soskin

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mock up of backwards facing lincoln memorial

To preserve the Lincoln Memorial statue for another century, we’re announcing a plan to rotate the massive stone figure 180°, so the backside will face the entrance & shield the front from exposure. A rotating turntable option was rejected. Learn more:

(featured image: White House / PBS NewsHour)