- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Former President Barack Obama took credit once again for the U.S. oil-and-gas boom, even though critics noted Wednesday that the upswing in oil and natural gas production occurred in spite of his policies.

Mr. Obama told the audience at a gala for Rice University’s Baker Institute that he was “extraordinarily proud of the Paris accords” before saying “I know we’re in oil country and we need American energy.”

“You wouldn’t always know it, but it went up every year I was president,” he said to applause. “That whole — suddenly America’s like the biggest oil producer and the biggest gas — that was me, people.”

This wasn’t the first time Mr. Obama has claimed credit for the boom, which saw oil production grow by 88 percent during his two terms. He did so often during his presidency, inevitably meeting with rebuttals from the oil-and-gas industry.

The Institute for Energy Research pointed Wednesday to data from the Congressional Research Service showing that the shares of crude oil and natural gas produced on federal lands dropped from 2009 to 2017 even as production on non-federal lands “skyrocketed.”

“Production on federal lands has not been able to fully recover from Obama Administration policies that resulted in a moratorium on offshore energy permitting and long delays in approving drilling permits,” the institute said.

Mr. Obama also promoted policies designed to curb fossil-fuel usage and production, including the Clean Power Plan; the federal methane rule; federal restrictions on hydraulic fracturing; the rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline; and the Paris climate accord.

At Tuesday night’s Rice event, the tuxedo-clad former president also gave himself a pat on the back for the stock market.

“It’s a little like, sometimes you go to Wall Street, and folks will be grumbling about anti-business, and I say, ‘Have you checked where your stocks were when I came into office and where they are now? What are you complaining about?’” he said.

“Just say thank you, please,” Mr. Obama said.

He spoke along with former Secretary of State James Baker, the center’s namesake, at a fundraiser that raised more than $5 million for the institute, according to ABC13 in Houston.

President Trump has sought to neutralize the Obama administration’s energy agenda by moving to pull out of the Paris agreement, repeal the fracking restrictions, and roll back the methane rule.

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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