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Dems urge Biden to increase domestic energy production in the face of skyrocketing gas prices

FIRST ON FOX: A group of Texas Democrats Tuesday called on President Biden to do more to unleash domestic energy production in the United States in the face of rising gas prices and reliance on foreign countries for energy.

Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, D-Texas, led a group of Texas Democrats in a letter to Biden Tuesday applauding his announcement to ban Russian oil imports while urging him to enact clear policies to help domestic energy producers boost energy output for the U.S. and beyond.

“We cannot wait for tomorrow to do what needs to be done today,” the lawmakers said in a letter to Biden first obtained by Fox News Digital. “We must unleash responsible domestic production to counter reliance on Russian oil and gas, while simultaneously cutting off Russia’s largest source of revenue. Now is the time to regain our energy independence and support our allies around the globe.”

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The letter is signed by Gonzalez and fellow Texas Democrats Sylvia Garcia, Henry Cuellar and Filemon Vela. 

While Republicans for months have been hammering Biden about boosting domestic energy production, Tuesday’s letter is notable because the plea is coming from Biden’s own party. It’s also coming from Texas Democrats just as Biden leaves for the Lone Star State for an event Tuesday on veterans’ healthcare.

President Biden announces a ban on Russian oil imports, toughening the toll on Russia's economy in retaliation for its invasion of Ukraine, Tuesday, March 8, 2022, in the Roosevelt Room at the White House in Washington.

Earlier Tuesday at the White House, Biden announced he would ban Russian oil imports amid bipartisan pressure to cut off funding for Vladimir Putin’s war with Ukraine. Biden blamed the skyrocketing gas prices on “Putin’s price hike’ and rejected any notion that his administration is hampering oil and gas production. 

“It’s simply not true that my administration or policies are holding back domestic energy production,” Biden said Tuesday. “That’s simply not true. Even amid the pandemic, companies in the United States pump more oil during my first year in office, than they did during my predecessor’s first year. We’re approaching record levels of oil and gas production in the United States.”

The Democrats, however, blamed reliance on foreign oil and “restrictions on domestic production” for the high gas prices, which for the first time since 2008 hit an average of $4 per gallon at the pump. They also called out Biden for climate change initiatives that have hampered domestic energy production. 

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“While we understand and applaud your administration’s commitment to address climate change, the U.S. abides by the most stringent regulations making our oil and natural gas the cleanest in the world,” the lawmakers wrote.

In this image from video, House impeachment manager Rep. Sylvia Garcia, D-Texas, speaks during the impeachment trial against President Donald Trump in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020. Garcia called on Biden to boost domestic energy supplies. (Senate Television via AP)

When Biden took office he implemented new oil and gas restrictions as part of his broader effort to address climate change and focus on renewable sources of energy. He canceled the Keystone XL pipeline that would have transported fossil fuel from Canada through the United States, and he froze new oil and gas leases on federal lands.

The lawmakers say domestic energy producers want to work with the Biden administration to supply the world with American energy, but they first need help from Biden’s regulatory agencies.

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“Now is the time to take practical steps to promote long-term American energy production and lower costs for American consumers, drive down global emissions, and demonstrate to the rest of the world that they can rely on American oil and natural gas for their energy needs well into the future,” the lawmakers wrote to Biden.

The lawmakers continued: “Specifically, we call on you to encourage the Department of Energy (DOE), the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the Department of the Interior (DOI), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and other agencies to adopt clear policies that ensure consistency, transparency, and timeliness for American energy investments. Domestic energy producers, refiners, and exporters are ready, willing, and able to work with your administration to give our allies access to a reliable source of energy and provide relief to American consumers.”

The White House did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment on the Democrats’ letter.

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