March 11, 2011 – Mason Williams
High oil prices are not President Obama’s fault, he asserted today at a press conference that addressed domestic oil production. Mr. Obama was responding to criticisms from Republicans that his administration had thwarted attempts to expand domestic oil production.
“Any notion that my administration has shut down oil production might make for a good political slogan, but it doesn’t match up with reality,” Mr. Obama noted.
This comes on the heels of an accusation by House Speaker Boehner on Thursday that “The Obama administration has consistently blocked American energy production that would lower costs and create jobs in our country.”
To the dismay of some environmentalists, Mr. Obama reiterated his administration’s commitment to encouraging more land and offshore drilling. However, tempering this goal, Mr. Obama also underlined that increased investments in clean energy and conservation was key to decreasing America’s dependence on foreign oil.
“Every few years, gas prices go up, politicians pull out the same political playbook and nothing changes,” Mr. Obama emphasized. “I think the American people are tired of talk. We’ve got to work together, Democrats, Republicans and everybody in between.”
Mr. Obama added, we “can’t escape the fact that we only control 2% of the world’s oil, but we consume over a quarter of the world’s oil.”
However, when asked about tapping into the U.S.’s strategic petroleum reserve in response to spiking gas prices and Middle East unrest, Mr. Obama noted, “Should the situation demand it, we are prepared to tap the significant stockpile that we have in the strategic petroleum reserve.” The president did not go into specific detail as to what would justify this move, other than noting the disruption would need to be similar to the 1970’s oil embargo or Hurricane Katrina.