By Amy Westerwelt for the Intercept

Back in late 2021, as Russian President Vladimir Putin began mobilizing troops at the Ukraine border, the fossil fuel industry got its foot soldiers ready too. With the threat of Russian aggression and subsequent sanctions looming, gas prices were on the rise, and the fossil fuel industry wanted the public to know that there was only one culprit: climate policy.

“There are a lot of factors at play as to why energy prices are surging,” Mike Sommers, president of the American Petroleum Institute, or API, told CNBC at the time. “But certainly one of the key factors is that the Biden administration has made an effort to reduce production in the United States. One of their first acts, for example, was cutting off the Keystone XL pipeline. One of their second acts was cutting up leasing and permitting on federal lands, and then they cut off access to ANWR,” referring to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.

He gave roughly the same interview every week for months. On March 7, two weeks after the invasion of Ukraine, he repeated it again, telling a CBS reporter, “You know, first they cut off the Keystone XL pipeline. Then they put a moratorium on leasing and permitting on federal lands and on offshore waters. And then they cut off supply from the Alaska natural national wildlife refuge.”

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Cover image: Galen Crout, Unsplash