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‘America Last’: Biden Blasted For Allowing Major Oil Firm to Resume Drilling In Venezuela

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


President Joe Biden has come under fire again from critics of his push to ‘go green’ at the expense of domestic energy production. Last week, the White House signed off on an application from fossil fuel giant Chevron to resume oil drilling, but in Venezuela, not the U.S., despite Washington’s thorny relationship with President Nicolas Maduro and his regime.

The decision reverses another Trump-era policy that restricted American companies from doing business in Venezuela in order to oust Maduro, a dictator whose socialist economic policies have devastated his once-affluent country.

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“On November 26th, the Unitary Platform and the Maduro regime announced the resumption of talks in Mexico City; a humanitarian agreement focused on education, health, food security, flood response, and electricity programs that will benefit the Venezuelan people; and agreement on the continuation of talks focused on the 2024 elections,” the Treasury Department said in a statement, according to the Daily Wire.

“Following this announcement and consistent with U.S. government policy, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued Venezuela General License (GL) 41, authorizing Chevron Corporation to resume limited natural resource extraction operations in Venezuela,” the statement continued.

The Daily Wire added:

The statement said that the move by the administration to “provide targeted sanctions relief” was based on the Venezuelan government’s recent actions to help its people and “support the restoration of democracy.”

The sanctions relief that the administration is providing to Venezuela will last six months, at which point it could be revoked or amended.

Venezuela’s economy was wrecked by its “state-run economic model” that “wasted the world’s largest oil reserves,” CNBC reported in 2019. The report added that inflation in the country had reached a peak of nearly 10 million percent that year since 2018, which left many unable to feed themselves.

The Biden administration’s decision to back off on Venezuelan sanctions comes as the president has implemented energy policies seen as horrendously hostile to the fossil fuel industry. That includes the administration’s decision to hold off issuing more domestic drilling permits, a move that has drawn jarring criticism amid elevated gasoline and diesel fuel prices.

On Sunday, former White House Economic Adviser Stephen Moore said that the decision to allow Chevron to drill in Venezuela rather than the United States is puzzling and puts America last.

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“I literally almost fell out of my chair reading this headline that says we’re going to allow, you know, Chevron to do drilling in Venezuela,” Moore told Fox News, according to the Daily Wire. “This is the same administration that won’t allow us to do drilling here in the United States, not in Texas, not in Oklahoma, not in Alaska, not in West Virginia.

“But we can pump oil from Venezuela. It makes absolutely no sense. It’s put America last energy policy,” he added.

“And by the way, when Trump left office, and I helped Trump on energy policy, our whole policy was to make America totally energy independent so we wouldn’t have to rely on countries like Venezuela and Iran and Russia,” he added. “And so somebody explain this one to me because it makes no sense.”

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In August, a federal appeals court handed the Biden administration a victory regarding the White House’s efforts to scale back fossil fuel production even as gas and energy prices remain high.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans overturned a lower federal court’s ruling that would have ended the Biden administration’s drilling and leasing moratoriums on federal lands, Newsmax reported Thursday.

“The court’s decision vacated the Louisiana district court’s decision to block the Interior Department’s leasing pause after Louisiana and a dozen other states filed a lawsuit against the administration,” Newsmax noted, adding that the states argued they would suffer economic harm from the pause drilling.

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The three-judge panel of the appeals court found that the District Court for the Western District of Louisiana’s ruling does not actually outline what the federal government is and is not permitted to do regarding the moratorium.

“We cannot reach the merits of the Government’s challenge when we cannot ascertain from the record what conduct — an unwritten agency policy, a written policy outside of the Executive Order, or the Executive Order itself — is enjoined,” the panel wrote.

“Our review of (Administrative Procedure Act) claims must begin by determining if there was final agency action. Where, as here, it is unclear what final agency action the district court predicated its order upon, we are unable to reach the merits of the appeal,” the judges noted further.

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