The White House has confirmed it is in talks with oil and gas producers in the United States about reducing rising energy prices, just days after Joe Biden bragged about halting drilling in Alaska.
Reuters reports that White House officials have contacted energy companies as the world faces record prices and a supply shortage.
A week earlier, Biden had boasted at a White House event on national monuments that he suspended oil and gas drilling on federal lands in Alaska.
“Alaska is pretty big. There are a lot of things we need to protect, ”Biden said on Friday. “This is why I refuse to sell the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling.”
In June, Biden suspended oil leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge after President Donald Trump opened the area for drilling in 2017.
Biden also suspended new oil and gas leasing and drilling licenses on federal lands in January.
The price of US crude oil hit $ 80 a barrel this month, a seven-year high. This year, oil production remains about two million barrels per day below the nearly 13 million barrels per day produced by the United States in 2019, before the pandemic.
The United States government said on Wednesday that households could see their heating bills climb by as much as 54%.
Last week, the White House blamed September’s Hurricane Ida for soaring energy costs in the fall, but said the president’s priority was to switch to cleaner sources of energy.
“Certainly we all want to keep gasoline prices low, but the threat of the crisis – the climate crisis – certainly can’t wait any longer,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters.