Energy industry groups heaped scorn on President Biden Monday after he vowed during a rally for New York Gov. Kathy Hochul to block all new fossil fuel drilling.
His comments came in response to a shouting audience member who challenged him on his pledge to ban the practice.
"No more drilling," Biden said at the close of Sunday’s rally in Yonkers. "There is no more drilling. I haven’t formed any new drilling."
The comments appeared to be in reference to a five-year offshore drilling plan that the Department of the Interior (DOI) is expected to finalize in the near future. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland has opened the door to block all drilling in federal waters through 2028, but she is also weighing whether to schedule up to 11 lease sales in that period.
Todd Staples, President of the Texas Oil & Gas Association, said Biden’s comments were in line with his administration’s hostility to the industry since the day he assumed the presidency.
By ruling out domestic drilling, Staples said, the U.S. is only playing into the hands of our adversaries "who want to weaken our nation."
"The best way to have access to clean, affordable, and reliable energy is to encourage increased production of homegrown, domestic oil and natural gas that supports jobs, national security, and economic growth while taking every step to protect the environment," he said.
"Americans deserve energy security, and it’s time our federal government treated oil and natural gas like an asset, not a liability."
Tim Stewart, President of the U.S. Oil & Gas Association said Biden’s "no drilling" comment was "yet another unserious statement by an increasingly unserious President."
"Thousands of new oil and gas wells will need to be drilled over the next two years, and we have learned that while the President may say one thing, the reality in which we all live — dictates another," he said.
Frank Macchiarola, API Senior Vice President of Policy, Economics and Regulatory Affairs, said Biden’s comments demonstrated his "failure to understand the fundamentals of the energy industry and develop a consistent, comprehensive energy policy."
He pointed out the inconsistency in the Biden administration calling on the industry "to increase production to meet growing demand for affordable, reliable energy" while also greatly reducing leasing on federal lands and waters, canceling pipelines, increasing taxes on domestic producers competing globally, threatening a windfall profits tax and making unfounded accusations about price gouging.
"This type of election-year rhetoric sends the wrong signal to the markets and to the American energy producers working every day to provide the fuels America needs," Macchiarola said.
President Biden has had a thorny relationship with the energy industry. One of his first moves after taking office in January 2021 was issuing an executive order blocking all new oil and gas drilling on both federal lands and waters, following through on his campaign promise to "end fossil fuel."
In a statement, a White House official said the president was specifically referencing drilling in the Arctic.
"The president was asked about new drilling in the Arctic. His position has been clear on that from the start," the official told FOX Business. "When the Trump administration opened the Arctic refuge for drilling, not a single major oil company bid on the sale."
"The facts are the U.S. produced more oil in President Biden’s first year than under Trump’s first year," they continued. "And oil companies continue to sit on 9,000 unused but approved drilling permits. There is no shortage of opportunity for oil companies to produce more oil in the United States. But instead of ramping up production and lowering gas prices, they’re using their record profits to pad shareholder pockets."
Biden has repeatedly threatened gas station owners to lower prices at the pump, despite the fact that they tend to be independent of oil producers and make just a few cents per gallon of gas they sell. He has also falsely claimed that gas was $5 a gallon when he became president, when the average price of a gallon of gas was about $2.37 the week he took office.
FOX Business' Thomas Catenacci contributed to this report.