White House press secretary Jen Psaki dismissed Senator Tom Cotton’s (R-Ark.) calls for boosting domestic oil production as a response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, calling it a “misdiagnosis” in an interview with ABC News.
However, Psaki dismissed Cotton’s suggestions during the Feb. 27 interview.
“I would say that the congressman's recommendations there, the Keystone Pipeline, was not processing oil through the system. That does not solve any problems. That's a misdiagnosis, or maybe a misdiagnosis of what needs to happen,” Psaki said. President Joe Biden revoked the permit for the pipeline during his first week in office.
Psaki also pushed for America to explore alternative sources of energy rather than solely focusing on oil. “I would also note that, on oil leases, what this actually justifies, in President Biden's view, is the fact that we need to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, on oil in general, and need to look at other ways of having energy in our country and others.”
Psaki confirmed that energy sanctions against Russia “remain on the table” and pointed out that European countries are recognizing the need to cut down their own reliance on Russian oil.
Biden wants to maximize the impact of sanctions on Russia while ensuring that such sanctions have little impact on America and other nations, Psaki said.
Russia was America’s biggest source of refined petroleum products in 2021. Moscow accounted for 21 percent of U.S. gasoline imports. The present rally in crude oil prices means that any sanction on Russia, a major producer, can spike up prices significantly, and add to the ongoing inflation woes. As such, Washington is in a tricky position when it comes to sanctioning Russia’s energy exports.
“We must unleash and innovate to make sure the production continues to be strong, that we regain our dominance on the world stage in the oil and gas we supply, not only for our domestic needs but also our partners and allies so that they’re not dependent on maligned actors like Russia and China,” Pfluger said.