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MS Senators call for Biden to reverse course on asking OPEC to increase production

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Mississippi’s Senate Delegation has signed onto a letter urging President Biden to walk back his decision to ask the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to increase oil production in response to rising gas prices. 

As prices at the pump hit their highest point in the past seven years, the Biden Administration recently asked the organization—made up of 13 member countries—to “do more to support the recovery” of the energy market. OPEC has agreed to increase production, but White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan stated that this will not fully offset previous production cuts imposed during the pandemic. 

In their letter, the 24 Senators, including Senators Roger Wicker and Cindy Hyde-Smith, criticized the White House for its environmental polices and their effect on domestic oil production. 

“Since your first day in office, your Administration has pursued policies that have restricted and threatened American oil and gas development, which has had devastating consequences for American workers and consumers. It is astonishing that your Administration is now seeking assistance from an international oil cartel when America has sufficient domestic supply and reserves to increase output, which would reduce gasoline prices,” the Senators wrote.

The letter specifically points to the cancellation of the Keystone XL Pipeline, a pause on oil and gas drilling leases on federal lands and waters (later blocked by a federal judge) and several other examples as policies that “threaten our energy and national security by making us more reliant on foreign nations for our energy needs.”

The letter ends by stating, “we agree with your intent to reduce the cost of gas for hardworking Americans, but your domestic policy agenda has proven to have the opposite effect and continues to threaten American jobs and family budgets. We urge your Administration to revise its regulatory agenda and legislative priorities as it relates to domestic oil and gas development.”

Former EPA Chief of Staff and Principal of Section VII Strategies Mandy Gunasekara joined SuperTalk Mississippi Tuesday to discuss her point of view on the request to OPEC and called it “laughable.”

Nationwide, gas prices have risen by 40% since January although Mississippi does have the cheapest gas in the country at $2.73 a gallon. 

U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., led the letter, which was also signed by Senators John Cornyn, R-Texas, Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Jerry Moran, R-Kan., John Hoeven, R-N.D., Ron Johnson, R-Wis., Mike Lee, R-Utah, Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., Bill Cassidy, M.D., R-La., James Lankford, R-Okla., Tom Cotton, R-Ark., Steve Daines, R-Mont., Mike Rounds, R-S.D., Thom Tillis, R-N.C., Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, Todd Young, R-Ind., John Kennedy, R-La., Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., Mike Braun, R-Ind., Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., and Roger Marshall, R-Kan.

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