February 28

By Talia Kaplan

Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy said on Monday that his state is ready to increase oil and gas production amid escalating tension overseas if the Biden administration allows.

Dunleavy made the comment on “Cavuto: Coast to Coast” on Monday as oil prices surged, with U.S. benchmark crude around $96 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude hovered at $98 per barrel as Russia, a major oil producer, continued to invade Ukraine.

Last week, oil prices hit an eight-year high, briefly topping $105 a barrel for the first time since 2014 – and Russia’s full-blown attack on Ukraine, which started last Thursday, could push prices even higher.

“We have billions of barrels of oil still in the ground. We’ve got about 126 trillion cubic feet of gas that we can deliver to our friends in Asia as well as the West Coast,” Dunleavy told host Neil Cavuto. “So we’re prepared and ready to do our part if this administration allows us to.”

Dunleavy provided the insight one day after White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the U.S. needs to decrease its reliance on foreign oil by switching over to renewable energy, not increasing domestic production.

“We need to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, on oil in general, and we need to look at other ways of having energy in our country and others,” Psaki said during an interview with ABC This Week Sunday. “We’ve seen over the last week or so… a number of European countries are recognizing they need to reduce their own reliance on Russian oil.”

Psaki’s comments come as fears grow that energy prices could continue to rise amid Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine, with many NATO countries such as Germany dependent on Russian oil to fuel their countries.

That dependence has also limited the international response to Russia’s invasion, with sanctions being specifically designed not to target Russian fuel exports amid fears such a move could send energy prices soaring in Europe.

The comments also come after the Biden administration last week began delaying decisions on new oil and gas leases after a federal judge blocked the administration from using higher climate change cost estimates when regulating polluting industries.

The ruling stems from President Biden’s decision on his first day in office to restore the climate cost estimate to $51 per ton of carbon dioxide emissions, up from the $7 it was slashed to during the Trump administration.

Biden has come under increasing pressure to walk back resistance to domestic oil production in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with Rep. August Pfluger, R-Texas, arguing such a move would help the U.S. “regain our dominance on the world stage.”

On Monday, Dunleavy argued that the U.S. should be pushing for increased production of oil and natural gas as well as renewable energy for the sake of national security and the country’s economy.

Dunleavy noted that “$100 a barrel oil is great for Alaska’s coffers, but it’s bad for the people in the state and for America because of the prices at the pump.”

On Monday, the national average for a gallon of gas was $3.60, which is 78 cents higher than the week before and 89 cents higher than the year before, according to AAA.

“I think we should push renewables and I think we should push oil and gas,” Dunleavy told Cavuto. “I think they both present great opportunities for this country.”

“I don’t understand why we aren’t doing that, especially given what is happening over in Russia,” he continued.