A Keystone XL Fact Check for the GOP

One of the Senate’s finest from Ohio was fact checked by CNN’s Dana Bash on Sunday after trying the same old Keystone Pipeline talking points in a discussion about gas prices.

Rob Portman talked about President Biden canceling 800,000 barrels of oil a day from a pipeline that doesn’t exist.

In fact, Portman went on to make three distinctly GOP talking points, which can be fact checked and categorized below.

Portman said Biden isn’t right about oil companies failing to take full advantage of existing drilling leases.

  • In fact, oil producers have 4,400 wells right now that are already approved and drilled, but they are not yet producing. They aren’t producing because of a lack of workers and equipment, and lack of incentive while they enjoy wallowing in profits. U.S. oil producers have actually said they would rather use their earnings from higher prices to boost payouts to shareholders and expand their operations slowly, rather than rush to drill new wells.

Portman said the Keystone XL would produce 800,000 barrels per day while Russian oil supplied 600,000 barrels per day.

  • It’s true that Biden rescinded the permit for the Keystone XL on his first day in office. But even if he had not and TransCanada had won its court battles, only 8% of the pipeline had been built. In March 2020 under the Trump administration, the estimated time frame for a functional pipeline would have been 2023. That’s ZERO barrels, Rob.

Portman said Biden issued an executive order stopping exploration on public lands and on public water.

  • But here’s the caveat, Rob: Biden did temporarily suspend new leases on federal lands, but in June 2021 a federal court reversed the order.