David McCormick, a George W. Bush administration alum and former CEO running for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania, blamed President Biden's "war on energy" for record-high gas prices, contesting Biden's strategy of blaming Russian President Vladimir Putin.
"We are blessed here in Pennsylvania with unbelievably bountiful clean energy," McCormick said. "If Pennsylvania were a country, we'd be the fourth-largest natural gas reserves in the world."
"It's unbelievably rich, but we can't get out of the ground because of the war on energy, led by Joe Biden, Governor Wolf's played a role in here as well, led by Biden, which is killing our energy industry, because there's too much regulation and too much uncertainty to invest," the candidate added.
"As a businessman, I know you're not going to invest with huge uncertainty about whether you're going to actually be able to realize your investment," he said.
McCormick insisted that the uncertainty from Biden's policies is "killing our energy workers, and it's driving up prices."
"Do not believe Joe Biden that Putin is the cause of our fuel prices," he concluded. "That pickup truck when I started 90 bucks to fill the tank 125 to fill it down."
Pennsylvania has the second-largest natural gas reserves in the U.S., behind only Texas. However, according to the Energy Information Administration, Pennsylvania has 96,463 billion cubic feet of natural gas reserves, which works out to 2.73 trillion cubic meters. According to the CIA world factbook, that would place Pennsylvania at 15th among countries in the world – a remarkable rank for a U.S. state but far from fourth.
The Keystone State is extremely energy rich, however. Pennsylvania is the nation's largest net exporter of electricity, the second-largest producer of natural gas, and third-largest producer of coal. Pennsylvania produces more natural gas than the European Union currently imports from Russia. Hydraulic fracturing, commonly referred to as "fracking," turned the traditionally coal-focused state into a natural-gas powerhouse.
Average gas prices in the U.S. have reached new record-highs in recent days, according to AAA's gas price calculator. The national average cost of a regular gas of gasoline hit $4.483 early on Monday morning, topping Sunday's new record of $4.470 on Sunday.
The price comes as the European Union edges toward oil sanctions on Russia amid the Kremlin's invasion of Ukraine. It also comes amid record-high inflation, with the consumer price index reaching 8.3% in April, hovering near March's 40-year high.
As McCormick noted, the White House has blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin for the record-high gas prices in the U.S., even coining the surge as the "#PutinPriceHike" and vowing that President Biden will do everything he can to shield Americans from "pain at the pump."
Biden, last month, announced that the Environmental Protection Agency will allow the sale of E15 gasoline – gasoline that uses a 15% ethanol blend – across the country this summer. Biden has also moved to release 1 million barrels of oil per day from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve for the next 6 months. The president is also calling on Congress to make companies pay fees on idled oil wells and non-producing acres of federal lands, aiming to incentivize new production.
Yet critics have claimed that Biden's actions on energy policy have created a "supply problem" in the market.
Within his first week in office, Biden signed an executive order temporarily suspending new oil and gas leases on federal lands. The administration resumed the new leasing last month following court challenges against the ban. The administration is appealing a ruling in which Judge James Cain, a Trump appointee, struck down the ban.
The Department of the Interior canceled an oil and gas lease sale for over 1 million acres in Alaska's Cook Inlet last week, amid record gas prices. The DOI cited "lack of industry interest," but Steve Milloy, a former Trump-Pence EPA transition member and founder of JunkScience.com, blamed the president.
"I blame Biden for all lack of production. He has scared away investment," Milloy told FOX Business last week. He suggested that the president will find "any excuse to not drill. They even tried to use the social cost of carbon decision to stop leasing."
Gov. Tom Wolf, D-Pa., also issued a moratorium on new drilling under state forests, a moratorium that the state's Republicans have loudly opposed.
McCormick, endorsed by former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and other Republican heavyweights, has branded himself as the conservative for the job to take on the Democratic machine led by President Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
McCormick is effectively tied with Dr. Mehmet Oz, whom former President Trump endorsed, and Kathy Barnette. The latest Fox News poll for the election this coming Tuesday had the three in a statistical tie, with Oz ahead at 22%, McCormick in second with 20%, and Barnette close behind with 19%. Another 18% of likely primary voters said they remained undecided.