Fossil-fuel firms want to turn violence and bloodshed into an oil and gas propaganda-generating scheme. The goal: a drilling bonanza.

By Raúl M Grijalva, The Guardian

Last week, we all watched in horror as Vladimir Putin launched a deadly, catastrophic attack on Ukraine, violating international treaties across the board. Most of us swiftly condemned his actions and pledged support for the Ukrainian people whose country, homes and lives are under attack.

But the fossil-fuel industry had a different take. They saw an opportunity – and a shameless one at that – to turn violence and bloodshed into an oil and gas propaganda-generating scheme. Within hours, industry-led talking points were oozing into press releases, social media and opinion pieces, telling us the key to ending this crisis is to immediately hand US public lands and waters over to fossil-fuel companies and quickly loosen the regulatory strings.

Our top priority must be ending Putin’s hostilities, but as chair of the US House committee on natural resources, I feel duty-bound to set the record straight. We can’t let the fossil-fuel industry scare us into a domestic drilling free-for-all that is neither economically warranted nor environmentally sound.

Despite industry’s claims to the contrary, President Biden has not hobbled US oil and gas development. In fact, much to my deep disappointment and protest, this administration actually approved more US drilling permits per month in 2021 than President Trump did during each of the first three years of his presidency. Before the pandemic, oil and gas production from public lands and waters reached an all-time high, and the current administration has done little to change that trajectory over the last 13 months.

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