U.S. Labor Secretary Says Domestic Drilling Isn’t Being Considered Amid Russia-Ukraine Conflict

by TK Sanders

Domestic drilling for oil is not an option right now, according to U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh. The defiant statement comes as legislators and constituents from both sides of the aisle begin demanding energy reform. The Democrats want to stop receiving Russian oil, which would lead to a wild spike in domestic prices and would necessitate some sort of corrective action; while Republicans want to increase drilling in order to increase domestic supply. In other words, a refusal to adjust local output will come with political consequences, soon.

At a glance

  • Oil prices around the world are rising
  • Both Democrats and Republicans want to ease gas prices
  • President Biden will not drill for oil
  • Democrats want to transition to clean energy

In a media appearance, Walsh said that he and his team are exploring all options to ease oil prices without compromising the president’s directive to avoid drilling.

“I can’t [speak] for the president, but I can tell you that we’re looking at all avenues on how do we deal with energy in the United States of America,” Walsh said.

Many economic pundits believe that energy prices also contribute greatly to the sense of rampant inflation in the markets at the moment.

Television host Stuart Varney asked Walsh if Biden plans to increase drilling. “There’s an energy shortfall which we cannot make up unless we drill for our own oil and natural gas,” Varney said, “so does the president acknowledge that we’ve got a shortfall in domestic production?”

Walsh responded that domestic drilling has not been on the table up to this point. “We are certainly looking at what’s happening in the world right now. Eventually, that will have to be a conversation,” the labor secretary said.

The Labor Secretary would not share his own opinions about domestic drilling

When asked if he, himself, thinks the U.S. should increase drilling in light of the global conflict and price running, Walsh evaded the question.

“I’m not in a position to answer that question at this point, but certainly we have to watch and see what happens with Russia. We have to see what the world’s doing with Russia,” he said. Walsh also noted that certain Democratic legislators like Joe Manchin and Nancy Pelosi want Biden to ban Russian energy imports altogether. Such a gap in the market would also necessitate a change in production strategy.

“If we did something like [banning Russian energy], we’d have to figure a way to fill that, gap” Walsh admitted. He then slipped in an advertisement for green energy initiatives. “It can be painful in some sectors and some fields, but we have to transition into clean energy,” he said.

The war on non-renewable energy began on Biden’s very first day in office. It’s now coming back to rear its ugly head in a major way. In 2021, in a series of orders aimed at combating climate change, President Biden temporarily suspended the issuance of oil and gas permits on federal lands and waters and canceled the Keystone XL oil pipeline project. The revocation of issuance also cost 11,000 Americans their jobs.