By Nathan Worcester
The United States is producing millions fewer barrels of oil per day—and hundreds of millions fewer in total—than it could have if it had matched trends under President Trump, according to testimony from an energy expert before the House of Representatives.
“Had the Biden administration simply mirrored the Trump administration’s production growth rate, daily oil production would have reached almost 15 million barrels by December 2022,” said Oliver McPherson-Smith, director for energy, trade, and environmental policy at the American Consumer Institute.
“This represents a hypothetical shortfall of almost 3 million barrels each day by December 2022, a significantly larger amount than the average OPEC member’s production of 2.23 million barrels per day in that same month,” he added.
All told the US is down more than 850 million barrels since January 2021 from what might have been, according to McPherson-Smith’s analysis.
He also drew attention to trends in American crude oil distillation capacity, which fell from 18.8 million barrels per day at the dawn of the pandemic to 18 million barrels per day at present.
“America’s capacity to refine its own petroleum products has undergone an even starker decline,” McPherson-Smith testified.
He said the Keystone XL cancellation and other Biden administration policies have played a role in driving down domestic oil production, alongside other factors.
McPherson-Smith spoke at a hearing of the House Oversight Committee’s Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Energy Policy, and Regulatory Affairs.
It’s taking place against the backdrop of House Republicans’ attempt to pass HR 1, dubbed the “Lower Energy Costs Act.”
‘Big Oil’ Wishlist
While the White House has threatened to veto the bill, House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) told The Daily Mail he believes the Biden administration could very well “reverse course.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) called HR 1 “a non-starter in the Senate” and a “wishlist for Big Oil.”
Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) joined the chorus of Democratic skeptics during the March 29 hearing.
“Republicans are wasting our time on the preposterous and offensive oil industry wishlist that House Republicans are bringing to the floor for a vote this week, as the ‘Polluters Over People Act,’” said Bush, who is ranking member of the subcommittee.
Rep. Pat Fallon (R-Texas), who chairs the subcommittee, said rising energy prices were exacting a worse toll on poorer Americans, as high fuel prices eat up a relatively larger share of their budgets.
He asked McPherson-Smith about the scale of energy inflation during the current administration.
McPherson-Smith said it was “up about 40 percent” under Biden since January 2021.
“That’s down from the 60 percent we saw last summer,” he added.
Climate Change Crisis
Another witness, Rutgers University Professor Mark Paul, argued that “climate change is the greatest crisis humanity has faced.”
He testified that a move away from oil and gas would “delink the U.S. economy from hostile authoritarian regimes.”
Yet, robust evidence shows that a transition from fossil fuels risks strengthening America’s dependence on China, a hostile regime increasingly hostile to U.S. interests and run by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
“Unfortunately, Republican plans are intended to increase the extraction of fossil fuels,” Paul told Rep. Shontell Brown (D-Ohio), who accused Republicans of pushing “misinformation.”
Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) asked Paul whether he supports nationalizing the U.S. oil industry. Paul said that he did.
She called that a “communist-style takeover.”