Biden official on if Russia will convince Biden to reevaluate Keystone Pipeline: ‘No, that’s a distraction’

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Daleep Singh, deputy national security adviser for the Biden administration, said Wednesday on “Morning Joe” during a discussion on Russia and Ukraine that the Keystone XL pipeline was a “distraction,” and that drilling for oil in the U.S. wouldn’t affect gas prices. 

“Even if we drilled as much as we could,” Singh said. “The price of oil is still set globally by the demand and supply conditions. Much of that supply is controlled by tyrants like Putin and again that’s why we have resolve to speed our transition towards cleaner, more sustainable and renewable sources of energy.”

Reporters raise their hands to ask questions as Deputy National Security Advisor Daleep Singh speaks during a press briefing in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC on February 24, 2022. (Photo by Brendan SMIALOWSKI / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

Reporters raise their hands to ask questions as Deputy National Security Advisor Daleep Singh speaks during a press briefing in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC on February 24, 2022. (Photo by Brendan SMIALOWSKI / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

Co-host Willie Geist asked if the situation in Russia caused the administration to reevaluate President Biden’s decision to cancel the permits for the Keystone XL pipeline “over environmental concerns.” The president announced Tuesday the U.S. would be banning imports of Russian oil.

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“No, that’s a distraction, Willie,” Singh said. “Keystone, it’s a pipeline, it’s not an oil field, it doesn’t produce any additional oil even if Keystone XL had been permitted last year, it would have been years away from completion. It would have helped in today’s circumstance,” he said. “Keystone has absolutely nothing to do with the current supply demand imbalance in energy markets.”

President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the debt ceiling during an event in the State Dining Room of the White House, Monday, Oct. 4 in Washington.

President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the debt ceiling during an event in the State Dining Room of the White House, Monday, Oct. 4 in Washington.
(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Frequent “Morning Joe” guest Mike Barnicle asked Singh how Biden’s executive order banning Russian oil would affect preexisting executive orders and multinational contracts that deal with Russian oil.

“No new contracts of Russian oil, Russian coal Russian natural gas. But we are going to honor existing contracts for a period of time and that’s only meant to have an orderly wind down of cargos on the water,” he said. 

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Geist asked earlier in the segment what message he had for Americans who were paying over $4 a gallon for gas.

“I’m glad to live in a country where 70 percent of the people out there believe in holding Putin to account even if it means higher gas prices,” Singh said, referring to a Quinnipiac poll. “The president has said ‘we’re going to tell the truth.’ This war by Putin is not going to be costless. It’s not going to be painless. Gas prices at the pump have been up 75 cents since he started to amass troops on Ukraine’s border in early November. That’s hitting families and businesses across the country,” he continued. 

UNITED STATES - MARCH 8: Gas prices are displayed on a gas pump at an Exxon station in Washington on Tuesday, March 8, 2022. (Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

UNITED STATES – MARCH 8: Gas prices are displayed on a gas pump at an Exxon station in Washington on Tuesday, March 8, 2022. (Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

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“We need to boost supply,” he said, noting that the private sector has the permits and the means. “We should pump more,” he continued, before calling for a quick transition to “cleaner, more substantial sources of energy.” 

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he was “thankful” for the president’s decision to ban Russian oil Wednesday. He said the ban was “striking in the heart of Putin’s war machine” and he called on other countries to do the same. 

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