Amid the insistence by the White House that it has done nothing to hinder the supply of oil comes a report that President Biden’s allies in Congress have been pressuring oil companies to reduce their outputs because of climate change.
The Washington Free Beacon reported that in late October, for example, Democrats on a House committee brought the CEOs of Exxon, BP, Shell and Chevron to a hearing in which they pressed them to produce less oil and gas.
At a time when gas prices had reached a 10-year high, Democratic Rep. Hank Johnson of Georgia told the executives “the world can’t wait” any longer.
On Tuesday, with prices rising to record highs amid the blocking of Russian oil imports, President Biden insisted his policies are “not holding back domestic energy production.”
However, during the hearing in October, Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna of California
pressed Shell president Gretchen Watkins on whether or not she agreed that “under the Paris agreement that … we need to have oil and gas production declining every year.”
Watkins replied that Shell believes “hydrocarbon demand needs to reduce if we’re going to get to net zero [emissions] by 2050.”
The congressman then demanded to know whether Shell will decrease its production by 2% each year.
Jim McCarthy, president of CounterPoint Strategies, a policy adviser for leading energy companies. told the Free Beacon the exchange in the congressional hearing shows “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 a followup hearing with oil executives and are now feigning surprise and evading responsibility at the outcome,” he said.
Khanna also confronted Chevron CEO Michael Wirth, asking if he was embarrassed that his company has increased production while “the European counterparts are going down.”
Wirth pointed out that global demand for oil has increased.
But Khanna asked him to commit to helping “bring the actual demand of oil production down.”
A spokeswoman for Khanna told the Free Beacon the congressman, in light of the Russian invasion, is asking Biden to release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to curb prices.
“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,” the spokeswoman said.
Democrats had scheduled a followup hearing with oil executives for March 8, the Free Beacon reported. But it was canceled at the last minute, with no explanation.
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