[Rushtalk] How Dems Helped Spike Gas Prices

Carl Spitzer {C Juno} cwsiv at juno.com
Fri Mar 25 17:28:35 MDT 2022

How Dems Helped Spike Gas Prices

L.A. gas prices, March 7, 2022. / Getty Images Joseph Simonson • March
8, 2022 6:00 pm 

Despite reassurances from the White House that it is doing nothing to
discourage oil companies from opening new drill sites, President Joe
Biden's allies in Congress just months ago pressured oil executives to
decrease outputs because of climate change, raising questions about the
Democratic Party's strategy to lower prices for consumers.

In late October, for example, the House Oversight and Reform Committee
called in the CEOs of Exxon, BP, Shell, and Chevron to explain what
steps they are taking to produce less oil and gas, with Rep. Hank
Johnson (D., Ga.) alleging that "the world can't wait" any longer. At
the time, gas prices were hovering around a 10-year high.

The hearing has gained new relevance as a global gas shortage has pushed
prices to an all-time high. Prices are rising even more due to Russia's
invasion of Ukraine, with no sign of falling after Biden's announcement
that the United States will no longer accept Russian oil imports. Those
facts have left Democrats scrambling for a solution before the November
midterms as Republicans demand that the White House encourage domestic
oil drilling operations.

The president said on Tuesday that his administration's policies are not
"holding back domestic energy production," echoing comments from Press
Secretary Jen Psaki, who said that "federal policies are not limiting
the supplies of oil and gas" before mentioning the thousands of unused
pre-approved oil and gas drilling leases.

"You can draw a direct line from how the Democrats marauded energy
production yesterday to the unprecedented pain Americans are feeling at
the pump today," said CounterPoint Strategies president Jim McCarthy, a
policy adviser for leading energy companies.

Some Democrats, such as Rep. Ro Khanna (Calif.), have demanded that
domestic oil companies dramatically curtail their domestic operations.
At the same time, Khanna has called for the United States to end its
dependency on oil imports from countries such as Russia.

In one exchange during the October hearing, Khanna pressed Shell
president Gretchen Watkins on whether she agreed that "under the Paris
agreement that … we need to have oil and gas production declining every
year." After she answered that the company believes "that hydrocarbon
demand needs to reduce if we're going to get to net zero [emissions] by
2050," Khanna demanded to know whether Shell will decrease its
production by 2 percent each year, a figure initially offered by the
company in 2019.

"This is what happens when left-wing Democrat fantasies meet reality.
Khanna and other Democrats spent most of the fall trying to strangle the
life out of oil and gas companies and are now feigning surprise and
evading responsibility at the outcome," said McCarthy.

Khanna also demanded to know whether Chevron CEO Michael Wirth was
embarrassed that his company has increased production while "the
European counterparts are going down." When Wirth said that global
demand has increased, Khanna asked for a commitment to help "bring the
actual demand of oil production down."

Rep. Robin Kelly (D., Ill.) continued Khanna's line of questioning
Watkins, asking, "Will Shell commit to reducing gas production as part
of its emissions reductions plans?"

"In light of the invasion of Ukraine, Rep. Khanna called on President
Biden to release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to bring down
the price of gas and supports oil companies increasing production at
existing facilities in the short term," a Khanna spokeswoman told the
Washington Free Beacon. "In the long term, he believes we need a
moonshot to develop renewable energy sources to prevent similar
situations from happening in the future and have a more diversified
energy source."

Kelly's and Johnson's offices did not respond to requests for comment.

The average price for gasoline at the end of Biden's first week of
office was $2.39 a gallon. Prices have now hit above $4. Although
defenders of the president say the rising prices are forces outside the
administration's control, as well as Russian president Vladimir Putin's
invasion of Ukraine, Republicans say Biden's decision to cancel the
Keystone XL pipeline and institute a moratorium on new gas leases is

Democrats scheduled a followup hearing with oil executives for Tuesday,
March 8. That hearing was subsequently canceled last-minute, with no
explanation given.

Published under: Climate Change, Gas Prices, Oil, Ro Khanna, Russia,
Ukraine Invasion 


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