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Former Keystone pipeline worker says Biden, not Russia, is to blame for high fuel prices

  A former Keystone XL pipeline worker says President Joe Biden's energy policies are the real cause of rising fuel prices and that the ...

 A former Keystone XL pipeline worker says President Joe Biden's energy policies are the real cause of rising fuel prices and that the war in Ukraine "has nothing to do with" it.

Neal Crabtree, a welder who lost his job when Biden canceled the Keystone XL pipeline, said that the energy industry "tried to warn" the Biden administration that opposing new oil and gas projects would jeopardize American energy independence and national security.

"We tried to warn this administration back when they canceled the Keystone pipeline" that it was also "canceling national security, foreign policy and energy," Crabtree told Fox News in an interview Tuesday.

The national average price for gasoline is now $4.25 per gallon, the highest ever recorded, according to the American Automobile Association. The White House has pointed to the ongoing war in Ukraine and sanctions against the Russian economy as causes for the surging fuel prices, noting that Russia is a major international exporter of energy. Biden on Tuesday announced that the U.S. would ban Russian oil and gas imports, a move he acknowledged would punish Russia's energy sector at the cost of even higher fuel prices for Americans.

The president called on U.S. energy companies to refrain from "profiteering or price gouging" and blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin's war for causing the energy crisis.

"Since Putin began his military buildup on Ukrainian borders – just since then – the price of gas at pumps in America went up 75 cents," he said Tuesday. "And with this action it’s going to go up further."

Crabtree disputed the president's claims. "Even if we can fix the Ukrainian problem, the prices are still going up," he told Fox News, adding that Biden's "policies have everything to do with the rising fuel prices in this country today.

"It has nothing to do with the war in Ukraine," he said.


As one of his first acts as president, Biden issued a moratorium on new federal oil and gas leases and permits and ordered a review of existing permits for fossil fuel development to demonstrate his commitment to fighting global warming.

Republicans argue that Biden's executive actions on climate change have limited oil and gas production, contributing to rising prices.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Monday insisted that the administration is not opposed to oil and gas production and suggested that U.S. energy companies are at fault for not drilling.

"Federal policies are not limiting the supplies of oil and gas," she told reporters.

White House officials have pointed out that the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects American crude oil production to rise to an average of 12 million barrels per day in 2022, approaching the 2019 pre-pandemic high of 12.3 million barrels per day, and then hit a new record-high of 13 million barrels per day in 2023.

"There are 9,000 approved drilling permits that are not being used, so the suggestion that we are not allowing companies to drill is inaccurate," Psaki also said. "I would suggest you ask the oil companies why they’re not using those if there’s a desire to drill more."

Energy companies responded Tuesday, accusing Psaki of misleading Americans with a "red herring" argument.

"That accusation is a complete red herring," said American Exploration & Production Council (AXPC) CEO Anne Bradbury in an interview with FOX Business. "It's really a distraction from the fact that this administration has paused leasing on federal lands, something that we're concerned about and something that we think needs to continue right away."

American Petroleum Institute (API) president and CEO Mike Sommers added that Psaki appears to misunderstand how the process works.

"Once you lease land there is a whole process that you have to go through. First you have to actually discover whether actually there is oil and gas in that land. Second of all, you have to get a permit to actually develop that land," he explained to Fox Business.

"Right now we actually are developing more leases than we have in two decades so the White House certainly doesn't have their facts straight on this," Sommers added.

Crabtree responded as well: "There's no energy company [that's] gonna spend the money to develop a new lease if they can't build a pipeline to move the project," he told Fox News.

He also criticized the Biden administration's plans to approach Venezuela and Saudi Arabia to buy oil and potentially Iran as well, pending the renewed nuclear deal.

"When I’d first seen the reports of the president going to places like Iran and Venezuela to ask for more oil output, I said ‘this is fake news, he hasn’t gone this far off the rocker,’" Crabtree said. "But I guess that's the path they want to take."

"Why not invite North Korea?" he continued. "Maybe they’ve got a few barrels of oil that they can spare?"

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