Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte slammed President Biden on Monday for his energy policies and for the “horrendous” move to ask the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to produce more oil.
Gianforte argued on FOX Business’ “Varney & Co.” that the U.S. could have produced more oil rather than relying on foreign countries, which would have created American jobs and increased national security.
Gianforte made the comments five days after the Biden administration urged OPEC and its allies to increase oil output to tackle rising gas prices that the administration views as a threat to the global economic recovery.
“While OPEC+ recently agreed to production increases, these increases will not fully offset previous production cuts that OPEC+ imposed during the pandemic until well into 2022,” a statement from National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said. “At a critical moment in the global recovery, this is simply not enough.”
The request came as the Biden administration attempts to tackle climate change and discourages drilling at home.
President Biden revoked the permit for the Keystone XL oil pipeline project on his first day in office in a series of orders aimed at combating climate change, which also included temporarily suspending the issuance of oil and gas permits on federal lands and waters.
The Montana portion of the Keystone XL pipeline consisted of about 285 miles of pipeline, which started near the border between the U.S. and Canada, according to the pipeline’s website.
Gianforte said revoking the permit for the Keystone XL oil pipeline project “was a really a devastating move in Montana,” noting that the state is “a net exporter of energy.”
He stressed that the “unilateral decision” cost the state “thousands of jobs” and “hundreds of millions of dollars of tax revenue that would have paid for our schools and local infrastructure and law enforcement.”
According to the Keystone XL website, the project, initially proposed more than a decade ago, would have sustained about 11,000 U.S. jobs in 2021 – including 8,000 union jobs – and would have generated $1.6 billion in gross wages.
“Now we see the president begging OPEC for more oil,” Gianforte said. “It’s really horrendous and the reality is we could have produced these fuels here, creating American jobs and increasing national security.”
Gianforte made the argument the week after the Labor Department reported that its consumer price index rose 5.4% year-over-year in July, matching the prior month’s gain as the fastest since August 2008.
Prices increased 0.5% last month, slowing from June’s 0.9% increase. Analysts surveyed by Refinitiv were expecting a 0.5% gain.
The department said prices for shelter, food, energy as well as new and used vehicles all increased in July. The energy index rose 1.6%, buoyed by a 2.4% gain in gasoline prices.
The Labor Department reported that the price of gas increased 41.8% from the year before.
Gas prices have been increasing at the pump for the past few weeks, reaching a national average of $3.19 a gallon as of Monday, which is the most expensive gas price average of the year and $1.01 higher than the same time in 2020, according to AAA.
On Monday, West Texas Intermediate crude oil, the U.S. benchmark, declined $1.99 to $66.45 a barrel.
FOX Business’ Audrey Conklin and Jonathan Garber contributed to this report.