Fact Check Shows Sen. Schumer’s Russian Oil Claim Is False, Gets Four Pinocchios

Senate Majority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) spoke at a press conference held shortly before President Joe Biden’s 2022 State of the Union Address. During the question and answer period a reporter asked Schumer, “What do you make of Senator Manchin’s proposal to have more domestic oil production?” Schumer replied, “The U.S. is a major oil producer; we only get 1 percent of any imports from Russia.” As noted by the National Review, Schumer’s response was false. Data shows U.S. oil imports from Russia grew to more than eight percent of all imported oil in 2021.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports Russian imports accounted for 8.2 percent of all U.S. oil imports from June 2021 until November 2021. The EIA’s data also show oil imports from Russia to the United States in 2021, Biden’s first year in office, grew by more than 24 percent, from the last year of Donald Trump’s presidency.

Indeed, oil imports from Russia in 2021 exceeded the oil imported from Russia in each of Trump’s four years in office, and were approximately 79 percent greater than the amount imported during the lowest year recorded under Trump.

As detailed in in The Heartland Institute’s recent report, titled “Biden Energy Policies Cost U.S. Households More Than $1,000 in 2021,” Biden’s policies have reduced U.S. oil and gas supplies and raised prices correspondingly. Aside from harming U.S. consumers and homeowners, the shortfall in domestic production and higher prices are a significant factor in the increase in oil imports from Russia during the past year. The revenue from higher prices and increased oil shipments from Russia to the United States is helping to fund Putin’s military invasion of the Ukraine.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) is right to push for more domestic production and ending oil imports from Russia, in response both to higher prices and the Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine.

“We’re buying 650,000 barrels a day from Russia. It’s ridiculous. Totally ridiculous,” said Manchin, and he’s 100 percent correct.

The amount of oil that would have been shipped daily through the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada, 850,000 barrels per day, would have more than supplanted all the oil imported from Russia daily, had Biden not cancelled its permits on his first day in office.

If the Democratic leadership can’t even get the basic facts correct concerning Russia’s energy influence on the United States, it is no wonder they cannot develop realistic, effective policies, to reduce prices in the U.S. and to help our allies abroad.

The National Review is to be applauded for publicizing Schumer’s woefully inaccurate claims about Russian oil. One wonders why the corporate media didn’t fact check Schumer’s false claims about the extent to which the United States is increasingly reliant on Russian oil imports under Biden. His claim should have gotten four Pinocchio’s by every fact checker in the mainstream press and on social media.

H. Sterling Burnett
H. Sterling Burnett
H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D., is the Director of the Arthur B. Robinson Center on Climate and Environmental Policy and the managing editor of Environment & Climate News. In addition to directing The Heartland Institute's Arthur B. Robinson Center on Climate and Environmental Policy, Burett puts Environment & Climate News together, is the editor of Heartland's Climate Change Weekly email, and the host of the Environment & Climate News Podcast.

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