277 min read

Messaging Consistency

Messaging Consistency

There were three Congressional hearings on climate disinformation last week, and these same 12 pro-fossil-fuel talking points made their way into all of them


Message 1: Environmental Groups Are Actually The Ones Spreading Disinfo

This tremendous whatabout-ism showed up in every hearing, multiple times, it was the most consistently used message across the board. Here are a few choice examples:

  • Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo) in the House Natural Resources Committee hearing on the PR industry's role in climate disinfo: "I really just want to know, why isn't the committee issuing subpoenas for PR firms that offer support for the climate change lobby, like the Sierra Club, who has repeatedly assured us that the genocidal Chinese Communist Party, even while they murder millions of people in concentration camps, is actually quite interested in working with the Democrats' climate change agenda."
  • Michael Shellenberger (Republican witness, head of Environmental Progress) in the House Oversight Committee Hearing on Climate Disinformation: "As for misinformation about climate change and energy, it is rife on all sides, and I question whether the demands for censorship by big tech firms are being made in good faith."
  • Rep Nancy Mace (R-SC) in the House Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties hearing about free speech attacks on environmentalists: "We should also be talking about the administration's decision to resume the undemocratic practice of sue and settle at the EPA, which allows special interest groups to make rules through lawsuits instead of the rulemaking process. This prevents the voices of Americans from being heard by removing them from rulemaking process while allowing environmental groups to have more say in policy than the American public. And don't get me started on the racket of lawsuits by environmental groups here today.

Message 2: Tackling Disinformation Is a Violation of the First Amendment

A very close second to "what about environmentalists," this false equivalence between disinformation and protected free speech turned up in every hearing too. Amy Cooke, head of the John Locke Foundation, and the Republican witness in the PR hearing led the charge here, bringing up this argument a total of five times during her 15 minutes or so of testimony. "More information is freedom," she said in her opening testimony. "Americans, including those in the energy and environmental policy space, are rightfully troubled by the growing threat that their speech will be shut down by those who sit in politically powerful positions."

Message 3: California Is a Disaster!

In the same way that Republicans talked about the pandemic as a preview of climate action, California has become the right's cautionary tale for what happens when you have an "over-reliance" on renewables. A talking point that fell apart towards the end of the House Oversight Committee hearing on climate disinformation, when Rep Pete Sessions (R-TX) asked why California "is where it is after 25 years of attacking oil and fossil fuels," and witness J. Mijin Cha calmly walked him through the fact that—uh oh!—California's grid has held strong this year despite multi-day massive heatwaves.  

Cha: "...in fact, in our last extreme weather event, the grid did not fail. There was an adequate demand demand response that made sure that the grid didn't fail and that electricity was provided to all the residents in California."

Rep Sessions: Well, that may be true, but there was a vast outreach to please don't use the power supply.

Cha: Only at the peak moments of demand and most electric vehicles charge overnight. And the grid again did not fail.

Rep Sessions: Peak demands were all day, as I recall. Don't use your car.

Cha: No. Actually, I live in California and the notice that we got was that you should cool your house during the day and then around from 4 to 9, try not to use household appliances.

Rep Sessions: Okay. So why would that be after 25 years worth of building in a future for green energy? Why did. Why why are we doing this?

Cha: Again, California is also an oil and gas state, so they have not made as much advancements in renewable energy as they could have. And also, again, we had sat ten days in a row of 120 degree temperatures. So we had a demand on the grid that was much larger than usual. And again, the grid did not fail.

Unfortunately Cha wasn't there to debunk this thread in every hearing, because not only was the scepter of California and its renewables-addled failing grid raised over and over again, but it was brought up in all three hearings in exactly the same way, by both Republican politicians and their witnesses.

Message 4: Wind and Solar Are Unreliable

A lot of the old classics got trotted out at these hearings too, like this one, posed by every Republican in all three hearings: Aren't wind and solar unreliable? "What you get are two problems," Shellenberger cautioned in the climate disinfo hearing. "One is that you don't have the power you need, which is why California, despite having been having deployed so much solar panels, ran out of energy when we needed it over the last couple of weeks when we were near blackouts, but also produces too much electricity when you don't need it."

Message 5: Transitioning Off Fossil Fuels Threatens National Security and Makes Us More Dependent on (Communist!) Russia and China

Often using what's happening in Europe as an example, Republican politicians and their witnesses said over and over that if Europe had developed more of its own gas it wouldn't need Russia's so bad...somehow that same logic doesn't apply to the notion that had Europe developed more of its own renewables, it also wouldn't be reliant on Russian gas. "The world is on notice of the importance of domestic energy production," Rep Comer (R-KY) warned in the House Oversight Committee hearing on climate disinformation. "Russia's leverage over Europe's energy supply makes the point yet again that energy security is critical to national security. Despite global upheaval, record high gas prices and skyrocketing inflation, Democrats continue pushing Green New Deal initiatives that make Americans dependent on hostile nations for all." Attributing various issues to the "Green New Deal" didn't happen quite enough times to make it into the chart, but it didn't happen across multiple hearings, so that strategy is still alive and well.

Message 6: All-of-the-above Energy Strategy

The Biden Administration can blame the boss for this one, but Republicans have really picked it up and run with it.

Message 7: Tradeoffs Between Environmental and Economic Concerns Are Always Necessary

This goes way back for the fossil fuel industry, which has been talking about the necessary trade-offs between environmental and economic concerns for at least a century now.

Message 8: Transitioning Off Fossil Fuels Would Be Catastrophic

When in doubt, stoke fear! The free speech hearing didn't engage with this one, but Republican witnesses and politicians in the PR and disinfo hearings sure did. In the PR hearing, Rep Hice asked Republican witness Amy Cooke, of the John Locke Foundation, "In your opinion, what would happen if the United States just stopped producing oil and gas, like many of these activist groups are clamoring for what would happen?" And she answered: "It'd be catastrophic. I'll tell you what. You wouldn't have this hearing today. Civilization, the economy, as we know it would would certainly collapse. And I don't think you need a computer modeling modeling out 100 years to to figure that out." When climate advocates paint apocalyptic scenarios like this, they're often branded "climate alarmists" by conservatives. What would we call the other side of the coin here...fossil fuel alarmism?

Message 9: You Don't Want to End Up Like Europe, Do You?

In much the same way that California was presented over and over again as a cautionary tale, Republican politicians and their witnesses pointed to Europe as an example of what can happen when you transition away from fossil fuels—never mind that it's also an example of what can happen when you're dependent on them. A big part of the story was that Europe had opted out of fracking a decade or so ago because of concerns about contaminating water and soil (losers!) and that had spurred their dependence on Russian oil, so really the entire problem boils down to environmental policy.

Message 10: Biden's Climate Policies Have Caused a Global Energy Crisis

Somehow Biden's climate policies, the first of which for all intents and purposes was the IRA, passed last month, have created the global energy crisis that's been going on for nearly a year. Not saber rattling in Russia, commodity trading in the fossil fuel sector, nope, just Biden finally passing a piece of climate legislation two years into his term.

Message 11: The Democrats Are Waging a War on Energy

It's an all out war on the energy industry! Which is...making record high profits and paying the highest dividends it's paid in decades.

Message 12: How Dare You Talk about Climate When Gas Prices Are High?

"Regular Americans" don't care about climate change, they're more concerned about gas prices. And how dare you talk about any bad behavior of the oil companies when gas prices are high? Look I didn't say these messages made sense, only that they were repeated consistently.


Hearing Transcripts

These have not been corrected. If you would like an audio recording of any of the hearings, or a Word doc version of any of these transcripts, just let me know.

House Natural Resources Committee, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations: “The Role of Public Relations Firms in Preventing Action on Climate Change."

Rep Katie Porter: [00:00:00] So that individuals and entire companies are moving away from the street. In fact, there are already signs that individuals and entire companies are moving away from this work. I hope the PR industry will continue to shun such tactics and the firms that use them. Until then, this committee's investigation will continue. I now yield to Ranking Member Moore for his opening statement. [00:00:23][23.5]

Rep Blake Moore: [00:00:25] Thank you, Chair Porter. It must certainly be election season. It's an absolute disservice to the American people when committee hearings and time are used solely to score political points instead of working towards solutions for the problems that everyday people face. We have skyrocketing energy costs and inflation across the board, draining families pockets. But we are here talking instead about public relations professionals doing their job and highlighting that their companies that they work for their clients contributed to the Red Cross during an emergency. It's unbelievable to me to to what level we can stoop during an election season to try to highlight that giving tax credits for electric vehicles that you can't even buy for eight months from now is somehow going to save the world when the rhetoric that we've seen from the majority be an absolute attack on American energy. In reality, this hearing is just another attempt to vilify this nation's most significant energy sector. And what's particularly concerning is that today's approach by Democrats threatens the exercise of First Amendment rights. Squashing debate simply because you don't like the opposition goes against our nation's core principles. It is costing families more and more to buy groceries from eggs to the cost of bacon, to fill up our gas tanks and keep the lights on at home. The state of California just faced the threat of rolling blackouts and was forced to issue a statewide grid emergency. And what wasn't disinformation and what wasn't rhetoric was was when I took about two or three months before I came on and was sworn into this role for my freshman term of Congress, I sat down with an energy sector and individuals in my state and they said, California, in a year from now, they're going to have rolling brownouts. And he showed me articles and they showed me data that was going to actually prove what plays out and what we're seeing right now in California. That's not disinformation. That is a crisis, an energy crisis that is self caused because of rhetoric and in an attempt to sort of squash what the energy industry is doing to build a broad energy portfolio and do the right thing and move in the right direction. Employers throughout the economy are struggling to handle increasing operating costs and facing impossible decisions. All of these folks are impacted daily by political decisions, and they all deserve to have a voice in the energy policy debate. When we elevate the voices of hardworking Americans, it paints. It paints a stark picture from the increasing cost of daily life in our country. It's getting more expensive for everyone. One of my constituents, a dairy producer, described how the cost to operate just one piece of equipment increased five fold from $500 to 20 $500 a day because of rising gas prices. His proposed solution is to turn on American energy. He's right. We should be developing our energy sources and all of the above approach, and I've never shied away from the importance of it. Do emissions reducing technologies, embracing nuclear and not just relying on wind and solar because we can't wind and solar just produces brownouts. And if we don't have a baseload power, we will not be able to to do any type of of expansion of our energy grid. And particularly the most damaging thing we've seen is with the Biden administration as they hamper energy. And so it's taking 17 months to hold an onshore sale and failing to complete a single sale for offshore drilling. Sadly, my constituents story is not unique, and voters deserve to understand the devastating impacts misguided policies can have before deciding whether or not to implement them. Ms.. Amy Cook joins us today from the John Locke Foundation and can tell us how important it is. For important it is to provide an outlet for Americans to share their stories and about their employment in the energy and gas industry, the industry, support for local fire stations or the Red Cross, or how affordable energy factors into business decisions. When anti-fracking measures, fracking measures were introduced in Colorado, voters needed to know how these policies would impact their neighbors livelihoods and their own pocketbook pocketbooks, which is all playing out. Denying such voices would have had devastating consequences. The ability to exercise political speech ensures all viewpoints are represented in policy debates. The Supreme Court goes to great lengths to protect speech, especially speech related to public issues. It is clear to me that the ongoing energy crisis and development of our domestic resources are public issues of great importance to American families. This committee should be wary of any attempt to stifle the exercise of free speech, regardless of whether or not the majority agrees with the viewpoint. The American people deserve better than a hearing intended to chill speech or salvage a botched investigation. What we should be doing instead to begin, this committee should use its time examining how best to pursue an all of the above energy strategy with a diverse energy portfolio. All sources of the energy play a role. Wind, solar, nuclear, hydropower, oil and natural gas. The practical implications of this approach are that we continue to harness the innovative spirit of Americans to create technologies. The public retains access to a. Portable and reliable energy. Our nation has the ability to do this, and it's time that we capitalize on these abilities, regain independence and lower costs for the American people. And with that I yield back. [00:05:37][311.8]

Rep Porter: [00:05:38] Thank you, Ranking Member Moore. Now, I would like to turn to our witness panel before introducing the witnesses. I will remind them that they are encouraged to participate in the Witness Diversity Survey created by the Congressional Office of Diversity and Inclusion. Witnesses may refer to their hearing invitation materials for further information. Let me remind the witnesses that under our committee rules, they must limit their oral statements to 5 minutes, but that their entire statement will appear in the hearing record. When you begin, the timer will begin and it will turn orange when you have one minute remaining. I recommend that members joining remotely pin the timer so that it remains visible after your testimony is complete. Please remember to mute yourself to avoid any inadvertent background noise. I will allow the entire panel to testify before questioning the witnesses begins. The chair now recognizes Miss Christine Arena, founder and CEO of Generous Ventures, Inc. [00:06:32][54.3]

Christine Arena: [00:06:35] Thank you, Chairman Grijalva. Chair Porter, Ranking Member Moore, and members of the Committee. My name is Christine Arena. I'm a 20 year communications industry professional and author and researcher on greenwashing. Thank you for the opportunity to speak with you today about the role of PR firms in preventing climate action. I come to this subject as a marketing practitioner and advocate for change inside my industry. The link between misleading communications and climate policy obstruction is well documented. This year, the IPCC identified rhetoric and misinformation and corporate advertisement and brand building strategies from vested interests as primary barriers to climate action. Much research on the communications techniques used by those vested interest to mislead the public has been published by institutions including Harvard, George Mason, the Union of Concerned Scientists and many others. 13 lawsuits have been filed against US fossil fuel companies based on consumer messaging that some of our country's top lawmakers consider to be deceptive and even unlawful. These efforts. These ongoing efforts to expose the communications architecture behind climate policy obstruction are not about demonizing an industry or playing politics. They're about revealing the truth and protecting lives. My written statement illustrates a surge in pro climate PR and ad messaging that sharply conflicts with corporate lobbying and investment strategies on climate change. It details how disinformation is becoming both more prevalent and more nuanced. Until now, the PR firms most responsible for this work have escaped scrutiny. The cloak of client confidentiality and privilege provides an effective shield, and PR executives have flatly denied wrongdoing. But new analysis, including the paper, the Role of Public Relations Firms and Climate Change Politics by Brown University's Robert Brulle and Carr. Carter Worthman reveals some of the central players and key methods used to block climate action. These methods include, number one, corporate image promotion, including greenwashing or corporate advertising that produces false positive perceptions of a company or industry's environmental performance. Number two third party mobilization, including efforts to simulate the appearance of citizen support for a corporate position through the use of proxies or Astroturf groups. And number three, delegitimization of the opposition, including more divisive efforts to monitor, surveil, discredit, distract or intimidate individuals and groups that oppose industry interests. Although the first strategy is most common, my written statement includes recent examples of how the fossil fuel industry has used all three prongs to attack national and local policy measures, including its efforts to attack environmental regulations following the Ukraine invasion and the $31 million campaign to crush Colorado's Prop 112. Like the tobacco industry, the fossil fuel industry has always relied on public relations to advocate for its interests. But what's new is the intensity of its pursuits, the complexity of its operations, and the vast resources it deploys to bulldoze regulatory obstacles in its path. Ordinary citizens provide possess neither the specialized knowledge needed to detect the myriad of factual omissions and distortions included in greenwash ads, nor the financial resources needed to make their voices heard over the industry's extensive lobbying and public relations efforts by employing disinformation strategies and tactics. Certain PR firms are hindering an informed populace from participating in a robust national climate conversation and corresponding climate action at current levels. Climate disinformation is not merely an ethical problem. It causes harm to individuals, society and democracy, which is why accountability is so urgent. Unfettered greenwash will only result in the continued growth and spread of knowingly false claims. I'm grateful to so many of my communications industry colleagues for rallying together now to elevate standards and practices and to the social scientists who have given us the applicable research and frameworks needed to do so. I humbly ask this committee to address these issues with similar resolve. Thank you. [00:11:08][272.6]

Rep Porter: [00:11:11] Thank you very much. The chair now recognizes Dr. Melissa Aronczyk associate professor for the School of Communications and Information at Rutgers University.

Melissa Aronczyk: Rep Porter, Ranking Member Moore, and members of the United States House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. Thank you for the opportunity to speak with you today about the role of public relations firms in preventing action on climate change. My name is Melissa Rogic. I am an associate professor at Rutgers University and the coauthor of the book A Strategic Nature Public Relations and the Politics of American Environmentalism, published by Oxford University Press earlier this year. The central finding of our research for this book is that the public relations industry has for several decades in a major actor in the strategy, planning and execution of campaigns for the fossil fuel industry to influence what we know and how we act on environmental issues. I'd like to make three points today. My first point is that public relations for fossil fuel companies is about much more than messaging or marketing. PR firms often say that they are merely facilitating or amplifying their clients ideas or information. In fact, PR is not only communicating ideas and information, but coming up with those ideas and creating that information. They also create opportunities for that information to circulate while actively downplaying. Despite the label of public relations, PR firms target multiple stakeholders behind the scenes at local, state and federal levels, attempting to indirectly influence citizens, journalists and policymakers. A New York Times investigation in 2020 revealed that the firm FTI Consulting was behind fake grassroots groups, including Texans for Natural Gas, the Arctic Energy Center and the Main Street Investors Coalition. These appear as local efforts to speak out on energy issues. Rather, they are groups funded by oil and gas companies, manufactured and run by PR firms to provide the illusion of support for the fossil fuel industry. My second point today is that public relations coordinate strategies and distributes risk across fossil fuel sectors. PR firms share intelligence and coordinate strategies across sectors including petroleum, natural gas, chemicals and pesticides and mining. They then coordinate coalitions from members of these sectors to collectively counter action on environmental problems. These strategies are not publicized. They are not transparent. And they are not regulated. PR firms often represent these coalitions in public or informal settings, such as congressional hearings, to minimize the risk to their clients reputation. Because of this, coordinated infrastructure of anti-environmental action operates behind the scenes. Members of the public and lawmakers have no way of knowing if the support for fossil fuel production is real or manufactured. My third and final point today is that PR has influenced public opinion and policymaking on environmental problems for over 50 years. This is one of the most striking findings in my research. Industry reports from at least the early 1970s document how PR firms conducted pro industry campaigns to downplay public health and environmental risks. Today, some of those same PR firms working for the same industry clients are using the same strategies to distort our understanding of the impacts of climate change. Evidence for the existence of these long term PR strategies comes from the millions of internal corporate documents publicly disclosed during litigation against the tobacco industry in the 1990s. In those documents, we clearly see how instrumental the role of PR firms has been in preventing the public and lawmakers from acting to protect the environment. We have a record of compromising behavior by specific PR firms with devastating effects on the health and welfare of the American people. But until now, the PR firms themselves have remained out of sight. Today's hearing allows us to broaden our understanding of PR firms accountability when it comes to downplaying the threat of climate change and the role of their clients in causing it. Thank you. Thank you very much. The chair now recognizes Miss Amy O. Cooke, chief executive officer for the John Locke Foundation. [00:16:12][301.2]

Amy Cooke, John Locke Foundation: [00:16:15] Thank you, Chair Porter and members of the subcommittee. Thank you for the opportunity to be with you today and to provide some comments. My name is Amy Cooke. I'm the CEO of the John Locke Foundation, a state based free market think tank headquartered in Raleigh, North Carolina. Prior to joining Locke, I held various positions, including directing energy and environmental policy to Sister Think Tank in Colorado. I have a journalism degree from the University of Missouri Columbia, and a master's degree in American history from the University of Northern Colorado. Love for the First Amendment drew me to journalism. Fear of losing it drew me to public policy. I agree with Jimmy Lai, a newspaper publisher currently imprisoned by the Chinese government, for advocating for democracy, he said. More information is freedom. Americans, including those in the energy and environmental policy space, are rightfully troubled by the growing threat that their speech will be shut down by those who sit in politically powerful positions. My expertize is energy policy, and what I've found in over a decade of energy policy research is that all debates distill down to tradeoffs the responsibility of public policy organizations such as mine to tell the truth about those tradeoffs, putting a face on those tradeoffs so that people, including media influencers, legislators, voters and the general public, have all the information they need to make informed public policy decisions. I've been on the ground working with those who have concerns and stories to tell regarding these tradeoffs. They have a right to tell their story and the public has a right to hear them, but they're often shut out or marginalized by legacy media, big tech and government. And as an example, let's just take the regulatory space at the Colorado Public Utilities Commission. Insiders have stakeholder meetings that include only themselves, not ratepayers. They enter into a settlement that forces ratepayers to pay more greatly impacting their families and businesses. And that's why I got involved in a utility's carbon reduction plan at the PUC. Small group of businesses felt that their voice wasn't being heard by the very commission that is supposed to represent them. The barriers to entry in a regulatory proceeding are quite high a challenging filing system, lack of affordable council and witnesses, and for the privilege of petitioning your government. It can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to do so in a meaningful way. Another example is a ballot measure I worked on. There were decent, hard working Coloradans who wanted voters to know what a de facto ban on hydraulic fracturing would do to their livelihoods, their families, their businesses and communities. We provided an outlet for people like Raul, a welder, and a young female firefighter, just to tell their stories. And they explained what the tradeoff of a 25 foot setback would look like for them. In a recent energy policy debate in North Carolina, we didn't argue about the policy of zero carbon. Instead, we provided expert analysis for the most efficient and reliable way to get there. Our report supplied the foundational building blocks for what ultimately became the final version of a bipartisan bill titled Energy Solutions for North Carolina. At a time when we are putting increasing demands on our grid with electric vehicle mandates and new building codes, we need look no further than California and Texas to see that those tradeoffs are not always wise. Trading, reliability and quality power for non dispatchable sources is detrimental to the grid and more importantly, to ratepayers. American voters deserve access to the facts so they can decide for themselves, and our First Amendment ensures that they can. And while we are here having policies or hearings to police debate of energy policy, real problems need to be solved. Gas prices are still far too high. Ratepayers are forced to pay for an unreliable and inferior product due to bad policy decisions from the past, which is really what we should be discussing. So what should we be doing? What we should be expanding our energy infrastructure, encouraging domestic energy production, rewarding reliability and resiliency. And for a path to zero emissions, follow North Carolina's lead on HB 951, and most importantly, creating an atmosphere that respects the First Amendment and fosters civil debate. In closing, there's really good news about energy. We don't have to choose between a clean environment and quality of life. Thanks to American's innovative and entrepreneurial spirit, we've demonstrated we can develop our resources wisely, provide clean, safe power, and be energy dominant free from independence on hostile regimes that may threaten our national security. I trust Americans to put good policy ahead of partizan ideology. Thank you so much. [00:21:25][309.5]

Rep Porter: [00:21:27] The chair now recognizes Ann Lee Foster, former director of communications and community engagement for Colorado Rising.

Ann Lee Foster: Chair Porter, ranking member Moore, and members of the committee. My name is Ann Lee Foster, and I was a ballot initiative proponent of Prop 12. This was a role I never expected to find myself in before moving to Colorado. I was working for a university art museum in Virginia, although I was working a wonderful job. I was living in my hometown and wanted to make a big change. So I moved. I was looking forward to the clear blue skies, but when I arrived, that was not the reality. The Boulder Denver area has an air quality rating, according to the American Lung Association, largely due to fracking. I learned of the many studies demonstrating the health negative health impacts of living near fracking and heard countless stories of children suffering from nosebleeds, asthma and coughing episodes. I learned of a ballot initiative to limit fracking and volunteer for the campaign organized by concerned parents, school teachers and impacted citizens. I was harassed starting the first week of signature gathering when men carrying signs targeted me, yelling at potential signers and standing between the individual and myself. This was statewide and persistent throughout the four months we gathered signatures. There are many accounts of particularly women being followed around by multiple protesters for extended periods. Many folks reported being intimidated and scared. A document was leaked to our campaign from an employee of Anadarko, a fracking company instructing employees to check the text, the location of our signature gatherers if they saw them. Colorado Public Radio tested the numbers and protesters showed up within 10 to 15 minutes each time. We hired a professional signature gathering firm that said they had dealt with opposition tactics and requests. The firm quickly started billing us at much higher rates than agreed to and producing significantly fewer signatures. The reason cited was harassment from protesters. Several weeks into signature gathering, we received a call from office staff who said the office was closing and the principal of their firm was removing signed petitions. The firm told us we would have to pay them another $40,000 to get the signatures back. We got them back when we went public with the incident. We contracted with two other firms after this who both quit early. One of the firms told volunteers he had taken payment to stop working with us. Despite these challenges, we qualified for the ballot. Two weeks before the election, we were sued for defamation defamation by the president of the first firm. The damage damages were based mostly on the allegation. They had lost a contract with Park West. We had recordings of all the conversations proving the firm's president took signatures against our will and the attempts to coerce us. The suit was withdrawn. I personally suffered from what I feel is stalking or harassment. I noticed a suspicious man at one of my signature gathering trainings. When turning in the signatures of the Secretary of State's office, I noticed that individual seemingly waiting for us. I told him I recognized him. I later received a text from an unknown number of congratulating me on our success, identifying himself as the person I recognized as the Secretary of State's office and saying he worked for a neutral third party. He later texted and asked me to coffee or ice cream. Later, at the Colorado State Capitol, a strange man began to follow me. I ducked down hallways and changed floors, but I couldn't shake him. He appeared in a press conference that we hosted and recorded it on his phone. I also saw him at a county commissioners hearing. He never stated who he was or why he was attending. I also saw him at a local coffee shop I frequented. I started to encounter symptoms of adrenal fatigue, including hair loss, unexplained weight gain and panic attacks. I saw several health professionals, including a psychologist and therapist. Despite all that, we endured the strength and persistence of Coloradans volunteering to protect their families and communities from this destructive industry was deeply inspiring and something I will never forget. In the end, this isn't about my story or even Prop 112. It's about what we are all going to endure at the hands of these destructive industries. I leave you with this quote from the Daniel Rich's book, Lose the Losing Earth. Everything is changing about the natural world and everything has changed about the way we conduct our lives. It is easy to complain that this problem is too fast and each of us is too small. But there's one thing that each of us can do ourselves in our homes at our own pace. Something easier than taking out the recycling or turning down the thermostat and something more valuable. We can call the threats to our future what they are. We can call the villains, villains, the heroes heroes, the victims victims and ourselves complicit. We can realize that all this talk about the fate of the Earth has nothing to do with the planet or its tolerance for higher temperatures and everything to do with our species tolerance for self-delusion. And we can understand that when we speak about things like fuel efficiency standards or gasoline taxes or methane flaring or setbacks, we are speaking about nothing less than all we love and all that we are. Thank you.

Rep PorterThank you very much for that valuable testimony, reminding members that Committee Rule three D imposes a five minute limit on questions. The chair will now recognize members for any questions they may wish to ask the witnesses. I'd like to start by recognizing myself for 5 minutes. I'm going to start by directing my questions to Ms.. Arena. Ms.. Arena, you were a 20 year communications industry professional specializing in sustainability and social impact campaigns. Is that correct? [00:27:18][351.4]

Arena: [00:27:21] Yes.

Porter: Based on your experience, do you know what the standard practices are in the public relations industry?

Arena: I certainly do.

Porter: According to your written testimony, you wrote, quote, There is nothing standard or ethical about the practices of the PR firms we are discussing today. What makes these practices different from the standard work PR firms perform for clients?

Arena: Third party mobilization tactic of hiring fake protesters to disrupt an ongoing Colorado rising event. You know, hiring fake protesters is unethical in multiple ways. First, they're fake protesters, right? You're the there's the simulation of community support or opposition that isn't really necessarily real. Secondly, it is not disclosed who is paying for and funding those paid protesters. And thirdly, those paid protesters that I wrote about were actually engaging in what I believe were harassment behaviors that is stalking Colorado rising members as they were trying to make their voices heard. I do not believe that there is a single trade association in my industry that would consider the hiring of fake protesters to be an ethical marketing practice. And I certainly don't consider that standard.

Rep Porter: It's a far cry from the kind of typical image promotion or advertisements that we think about with PR firms. These unethical practices, these ethical PR firms are often most effective at the local level, where powerful corporate interests can overwhelm local communities. Ms. Foster What was your experience in Colorado facing off against one of these PR firms?

Ann Lee Foster: The the harassment was extensive. We logged it throughout the state and throughout the entire four months of our campaign.

Activity where it wasn't clear who was funding those actors. The ballot initiative was framed as a liberal effort to drive conservatives out of the state of Colorado. So we saw very extreme language in the scope of the campaign itself. [00:27:52]

Rep Porter: [00:27:53] Thank you very much. The chair will now recognize ranking member more, the gentleman from Utah for 5 minutes. [00:27:58][5.0]

Rep Moore: [00:27:59] Thank you, Chair. Let's just simply state what we're talking about today, that it's okay for environmental groups to put spin or narrative and create a storyline that even The Denver Post had to come back and retract and correct misleading statements from a narrative that was getting getting pushed in Colorado. But it's not okay for for American energy companies to tell their story. You cannot have it both ways. And today's hearing is entirely about, you know, not even looking at the misinformation or narratives that we've seen from environmental groups being and it being an example that hopefully we get a chance to discuss today. I would like to just go through and and just a sincere yes or no from each of our witnesses. And I'm going to open it up, not just the Republican witness today. To all of you, just a sincere yes or no. And then I'll move on to some questions that I've prepared. Is natural gas? A better energy source firm for reducing emissions than coal. Does anybody disagree with that statement? Do you agree that natural gas is better and it reduces it emits less pollutants than coal? Can we just go down the list of everybody here on the panel today? I can read everybody's name. Sorry. I'll grab everybody's names. Here. Here we go. Mr. Arena. [00:29:29][89.4]

Arena: [00:29:32] No. Methane is one of the top greens. [00:29:34][2.6]

Rep Moore: [00:29:35] Just C yes or no. So you think that coal is better than natural gas? [00:29:38][3.5]

Arena: [00:29:39] No, I don't think coal is better. I think. [00:29:40][1.6]

Moore: [00:29:41] Well, I'm just asking for a yes or no. Would you rather have it be coal? Because. Because wind can't do it all. We can't cover it all with wind. I wish we could, but we can't. So, Ms.. ARONCZYK. [00:29:53][12.9]

Aronczyk: [00:29:57] I am an expert in communications and media strategist. [00:30:01][3.6]

Rep Moore: [00:30:01] I just. Yes or no, Miss Cooke? Yes or no? [00:30:04][2.1]

Amy Cooke: [00:30:05] Yes. [00:30:05][0.0]

Rep Moore: [00:30:06] Miss Foster. [00:30:06][0.2]

Foster: [00:30:09] I'm sorry. Could you just clarify? [00:30:11][1.4]

Rep Moore: [00:30:11] Would you prefer to have it? Would you prefer to be called natural gas? [00:30:13][2.4]

Foster: [00:30:16] I'm just confused by the question. [00:30:17][1.1]

Rep Moore: [00:30:18] I understand. I get this is this is what I'm talking about. We can't get to the root of the problem here. Let's just I'm just trying to be as one member of 435 members of Congress. What I'm trying to do is help us avoid what Europe's going through right now. They succumb to a narrative that natural gas was the worst thing in the world, even though it reduces emissions and then they just buy it from Russia. Then we have a global, you know, gas catastrophic event going on in Ukraine right now with Russia, the evil empire that they are. So they have to then go away from that, the energy there. And so they go back to coal. Right. And and I just want to help us avoid that. And and I'm not saying that my party is ever has had this perfect. We haven't. But what we know is we have to have energy. We have to be able to get to and from places. Democrats, Republicans, we all, you know, use energy. And I just want us to help us build a broader, more expansive. You know, strategic plan on how to go about doing this. Otherwise just constantly demonizing the energy industry that it for I found in my interactions with them they've been sincere on their efforts to embrace clean technology, reduce emissions across the Wasatch Front in Utah. They invested enormous amount of money, overinvested into Tier three gasoline. They didn't have to. They weren't forced to do it. They did it because it was the right thing to do. We are all for that and we've been trying to promote that as much as possible. I get a little excited about this issue, so I apologize. I sincerely was not trying to badger any of the witnesses. I just when you get two options, I just want to know what what would you rather what we would rather be doing? I'll go back to Miss Cooke here with about a minute left. In your testimony, you mentioned that energy policy is all about tradeoffs. Can you just spend a few more minutes on on highlighting that and then we'll we'll have a chance to jump in to some other questioning. [00:32:15][116.8]

Cooke: [00:32:18] Yeah, I get. Thanks for the question. Listen, we often think that the trade off is just emissions. So we'll say we're going to shut down a coal fired power plant and replace it with wind, solar batteries and some natural gas. And it will and therefore we'll have lower emissions. But it's really not that simple. A single working mom sees her electricity bills skyrocket. Her power is shut off. It affects her quality of life. That's a trade off. Are we willing to do that to our fellow citizens? But there are more trade offs to consider. And it's everything. It's land use. It's energy efficiency per capita. It's cost. It's grid reliability. It's environmental concerns. Mineral extraction, resource development, geopolitical, political. And also just just the role of each resource pole is a baseload resource. Natural gas is an immediate type of resource. Wind and solar are non dispatchable available when hurt when you know, mother nature decides that they are. It is about tradeoffs. And that's what we need to be talking about in the energy policy arena. And it also includes how it's going to impact our fellow citizens. [00:33:36][78.1]

Rep Moore: [00:33:37] Thank you, Ms. Cooke, and now I yield back. [00:33:38][1.0]

Rep Porter: [00:33:39] Thank you. The chair now recognizes the gentlelady from New York. Ms.. Velasquez, for 5 minutes. Good morning. And thank you all, Madam Chair, for this important hearing. Ms Aronczyk, in your testimony, you draw a parallel between the long term PR strategies used by the tobacco industry as they tried to downplay the health impact of their product in the 1980s and nineties and the fossil fuel industry's efforts to prevent action on climate change. Can you please greatly explain why these strategies remain highly effective, even across completely different sectors? Thank you for that question. The long term strategic nature of public relations strategies. Of course, the most obvious answer is that they work. They work to delay responses to environmental problems. They work to delay environmental regulations and legislation. And they often distort or otherwise confuse the message on whether these environmental problems or climate issues are an urgent. And these forensic PR firms are weaponizing information by creating false narratives about the role that the fossil fuel industry plays in contributing to the climate crisis. In your research, what effective strategies, if any, have you come across to combat the spread of this information? Strategies to to combat the spread of disinformation. Yes, please. You know, this is this is a tough question, because it's very challenging to know when there is constant disinformation circulating, what is real and what is manufactured. And so the onus ends up being on individuals to try to develop strategies to pay attention to certain sources or multiple sources. Most people don't have the kind of background information to be able to parse, especially some of the technical conversations and to know where the facts are. Miss Arena, would you like to comment on that question? [00:36:14][130.9]

Arena: [00:36:15] Yes. And I would like to put into perspective how how common and how widespread a problem this is. According to a survey that was just released last week. 60% of super oil supermajor messaging contains a green claim. 60%. So that's the majority of their public facing communications containing a green claim. Well, less than 12% of their capital expenditures are actually invested in those green activities. It's even lower for Chevron and Exxon and U.S. gas companies as well. And at the same time, the lobbying activity of these companies is diametrically opposed to the public positions they're taking. So the lot the rhetoric that they aim towards lawmakers is completely different from the rhetoric they project out into the world. So what that does is it creates a mass level of confusion around what it is that these companies are really doing. And that is what we object to. We do not object to the fact that these companies are communicating. We are objecting to how they are communicating and the strategies and tactics that they're using. [00:37:20][65.4]

Rep Velasquez: [00:37:21] Thank you. I'm sorry. And I understand in 2015 you'll resign from your position as an executive vice president at Edelman, citing the firm's stance on climate change as the reason, given your experience. What does holding PR firms like Edelman accountable look like? [00:37:41][19.8]

Arena: [00:37:43] Well, I think the first thing that needs to happen is open dialog. You know, the fact that we are here in a hearing where not a single public relations firm engaged in some of these activities is present and they have all declined to participate. I think is is quite significant. There clearly needs to be a straightforward and open discussion about these issues that are absolutely connected with the climate change problem. We have scientific consensus from the IPCC linking misinformation and corporate brand building and advertising efforts with climate obstruction. So there is consensus around this problem. This is a conversation that the PR world needs to get engaged in, and I help to drive those efforts forward as well. [00:38:31][48.0]

Rep Velasquez: [00:38:32] Thank you. Thank you very much, Madam Chair. I yield back.

Rep Porter: Thank you. The chair now recognizes the gentleman from Georgia, Mr. Hise. [00:38:40][8.1]

Rep Hise: [00:38:40] Thank you, Madam Chair. Ms Arena, let me begin with you. Yes or no is Generous Ventures a member of the Clean Creatives campaign? [00:38:49][8.7]

Arena: [00:38:51] Yes. [00:38:51][0.0]

Rep Hise: [00:38:52] Okay. Thank you.

Arena: We signed that pledge. [00:38:53][0.9]

Rep Hise: [00:38:54] And were you a founding member of the Clean Creatives campaign? That's correct, isn't it? [00:39:01][6.4]

Arena: [00:39:02] I was one of the early members. Correct. [00:39:03][1.1]

Rep Hise: [00:39:04] Okay. All right. Can you can you tell me who is behind the funding of Clean Creative's campaign? [00:39:10][6.4]

Arena: [00:39:13] Individuals know, I can't tell you that I know some of the foundations they've raised money from. But again, I'm not on the management committee over there, just a member. [00:39:19][6.7]

Rep Hise: [00:39:20] Okay. Do you know, does clean creatives accept foreign money or foreign support while trying to influence American policy? [00:39:29][8.5]

Speaker 3: [00:39:31] I could not comment on their finances. [00:39:33][1.7]

Speaker 5: [00:39:35] Well, I'm not asking you to comment on the finances. I'm asking you if they accept foreign money. [00:39:41][6.0]

Speaker 3: [00:39:43] Again. I don't know if they accept. [00:39:45][1.5]

Speaker 5: [00:39:45] Would you please provide a list of the funders that you are aware of to this committee? We would appreciate that. You said you do know some. I'm asking you to provide that to the committee. Please. What kind of support does fossil free media and the KKR Foundation provide to clean creatives? [00:40:04][18.8]

Speaker 3: [00:40:07] Our foundation is a foundation that supports climate accountability work around the world, and so that they are a funder of fossil free. And as I put in my disclosure form, I also received a grant from K.R. Foundation. [00:40:23][16.6]

Speaker 5: [00:40:24] Okay. Madam Chair, I have a couple of emails here that I'd like to submit for the record. The first is one sent out by Fossil Free Media about a press release regarding the majority's threat to subpoena to FTI. The other is the actual press release from the majority in that regard. [00:40:44][19.9]

Speaker 1: [00:40:46] Without objection. [00:40:46][0.3]

Speaker 5: [00:40:47] Thank you very much. The interesting thing with these emails here. The first bit being sent out by Fossil Free announcing the majority's threat to subpoena FTI from clean creatives. It is Stamp Mart 5:34 p.m. Eastern Time on August 17th. On the other hand, the official press release from the majority went out on that same day, August 27th or August 17th, at 7:28 p.m.. So almost 2 hours after the email from Fossil Free. Ms. Arena Do you know how clean creators became aware that the majority was threatening to subpoena FTI? [00:41:34][46.8]

Speaker 3: [00:41:37] No. Again, I don't work inside fossil free media. I'm a member of their campaign, so I. [00:41:44][6.6]

Speaker 5: [00:41:44] Couldn't. Do you do you normally. Are you privy to information about future committee actions prior to the implementation or the public announcement of the committee work? [00:41:56][12.2]

Speaker 3: [00:41:59] If the committee reaches out to us via email, we would be privy to that information, but otherwise no. [00:42:06][7.1]

Speaker 5: [00:42:07] So are you saying the committee reached out to you beforehand about the subpoena? [00:42:10][3.6]

Speaker 3: [00:42:13] Yes. I was made aware that that it would potentially happen. [00:42:17][3.5]

Speaker 5: [00:42:17] It's very concerning to me that an outside advocacy group knew hours before the public knew that the majority was going to threaten to issue a subpoena. It makes me wonder what other information the committee leaks, the majority leaks to third party outside groups before the public is made aware of this. It's extremely concerning to me and hypocritical that we're even having this hearing today. This is totally bogus. Totally hypocritical. Ms.. Cook, let me go to you. The clean creatives is allowed to engage in free speech, but at the very same time, the public relations firm representing oil and gas industry are under investigation for exercising free speech. Miss Cook, aren't there some PR firms that attempt to influence voters against oil companies that are funded by some of this dark money? Yes or no? [00:43:20][62.6]

Speaker 4: [00:43:22] Yes. [00:43:22][0.0]

Speaker 5: [00:43:23] Would you repeat that? [00:43:23][0.7]

Speaker 4: [00:43:26] Yes. [00:43:26][0.0]

Speaker 5: [00:43:27] Okay. Isn't it hypocritical of you and incredibly hypocritical to say that one side should have free speech and the other side should not? [00:43:36][8.5]

Speaker 3: [00:43:38] Yes. [00:43:38][0.0]

Speaker 5: [00:43:40] Thank you very much. I yield back. [00:43:41][1.0]

Speaker 1: [00:43:44] The chair will now recognize the gentleman from New York, Mr. Tonko, for 5 minutes. [00:43:48][4.2]

Speaker 5: [00:43:49] Thank you, Madam Chair, and thank you for your leadership on such an important issue. Constituents in my district care deeply about advancing renewable energy and creating a cleaner and healthier community for all. And I imagine that the oil and gas industry knows that a great way to combat popular support for building a clean energy future is with disinformation or anti-democratic tactics that prevent communities from doing what they truly believe is best for them. And I'm particularly alarmed by this Foster's experience in Colorado, where the oil and gas PR firms blocked a popular ballot proposition using tactics described by Ms.. Foster as nothing short of harassment, stalking and fraud. And more than anything, I'm alarmed by the committee's findings that this is a pervasive issue through PR firms. The fossil fuel industry is strategically misleading members of all of our constituencies to line their own pockets, stymie climate action, and disrupt the democratic process they have for decades as our communities suffer deep consequences. So, Ms.. Foster, in your testimony, you spoke about the difficulties that Colorado Rising had retaining professionals, signature gathering firms for your ballot proposition. How common is it to use such a firm, and is it fair to say that a ballot campaign has to use one to have a fair shot? [00:45:14][85.7]

Speaker 1: [00:45:18] The requirements in 2018 to make the ballot. We're collecting over 100,000 signatures from registered Colorado voters, which is an enormous task. And I know of only one other ballot initiative campaign that has ever successfully accomplished that without a professional signature gathering firm. So I would say it's an imperative part of the process. [00:45:39][21.0]

Speaker 5: [00:45:40] Thank you. And what happened with your signature gathering firms? Do you believe that you could access one whose work you could trust? [00:45:49][9.2]

Speaker 1: [00:45:52] By the end of the signature gathering campaign, we no longer felt that we could trust any campaigns to not be paid off or flip on us. And so we ended up actually taking on the entire signature gathering operation ourselves in the middle of the campaign because we lost firms. [00:46:14][22.4]

Speaker 5: [00:46:16] And multiple firms leaving. Sounds like a pattern. In a recording obtained by the committee. Colorado Rising volunteers asked a signature gatherer why he abruptly stopped working with Colorado Rising. And he said, and I quote, Oh, nobody threatened me. You know what they're doing? They're going around buying people this faster. Do you believe the other signature gatherers were also paid off? [00:46:41][25.5]

Speaker 1: [00:46:44] The first signature gathering firm said that they had been offered. Ms.. Foster in 2018. Colorado Rising, a far left environmental group that you helped lead, attempted to pass Proposition 112, an oil and gas setback back initiative that would have established a 2500 foot setback between new oil and gas development that occupied buildings. Were you successful in doing so? No, not we encountered of approximately $40 million opposition campaign in comparison to our about $1 million. So in horror. Thank you, Mr. Minister. We're not successful in doing so. When put to a public vote, the initiative lost by ten points. And the reason why is obvious. Natural gas and oil supports hundreds of thousands of jobs in Colorado, approximately 235,000 jobs. And your ultimate goal? To impose a fracking ban on our state threatens to destroy our economy and compromise our energy independence. Ms.. Foster, your America Last Socialist Organization has repeatedly attempted to hit the oil and gas industry in Colorado, including through ballot initiatives. While Colorado Democrat, governor and Democrat senators from my state promised to support several of the initiatives you put forward, they have since backtracked, most notably last year, when the governor indicated he couldn't support Senate Bill 21 200. In a scathing letter to Governor Polis in April 2021, Colorado Rising had this to say, quote, What's particularly troubling about the governor's attack on SB 200 in his use of oil and gas industry talking points to justify his opposition to the bill, end quote. Given your support for these elected officials and their willingness to peel back numerous aspects of your radical agenda. Would it be fair to say that the governor, along with the Democrat senators, betrayed your trust? And are you disappointed in them for that way? You know, I'm not entirely sure how this pertains to the topic of PR firms, but the ultimate reality is that Proposition 112 was supported by the Colorado Democratic Party platform. We got over a million votes from registered Colorado voters. The voters shut it down. Would it be fair to say that the governors and the senators misled you into believing that they supported your anti affordable energy agenda? They've backtracked on. I wasn't a part of 200. And that is a separate issue from one. Colorado Democrats and myself find ourselves in an interesting position because we do all disagree with your anti energy agenda, not because Colorado Democrats are seriously interested in promoting affordable energy and Colorado jobs, but because your agenda, if carried to its logical conclusion, would involve the people of Colorado rubbing their hands together to stay warm. And in the coming winter months and with natural gas prices at a 14 year high and getting higher, they just might have to do that now. Miss Cook, it appears to be the case that Democrats frequently design arguments as disinformation or misinformation to convince people that disagreeing with progressives or orthodoxy is the wrong thing to do. Would you agree with this assessment, and would you say that these kind of Democrat attacks do nothing but chill free speech? [00:50:27][222.8]

Speaker 4: [00:50:29] Well, yeah. So a hearing like this that attacks are right. Anyone's right to provide. And another side, another voice is going to chill free speech. And make no mistake, it was voters that did 112. Yes, it wasn't. It wasn't anything else. It was voters. [00:50:50][21.0]

Speaker 1: [00:50:51] Yes. Thank you, Miss Cook. On June 12, 2022, the distinguished chairman of this committee led a letter in which he argued that public relations firms for oil and gas companies delay, quote, environmental initiatives. In your view, is that the justification? Is that justification enough to take the extraordinary step of serving a PR firm with a subpoena? And is it appropriate to target PR firms who work with clients Democrats don't like? [00:51:22][31.1]

Speaker 4: [00:51:25] No. [00:51:25][0.0]

Speaker 1: [00:51:27] Now, while this committee willingly uses taxpayer resources to harass private companies, arguing, of course, that coal, oil and gas companies are spending tens of millions of dollars to sway public opinion. I actually I want to I want to move on to this. Sorry, I have 4 seconds. I really just want to know, why isn't the committee issuing subpoenas for PR firms that offer support for the climate change lobby, like the Sierra Club, who has repeatedly assured us that the genocidal Chinese Communist Party, even while they murder millions of people in concentration camps, is actually quite interested in working with the Democrats climate change agenda. The General Lady's time has expired. The chair will now recognize the gentlelady from Massachusetts, Ms.. Trahan, for 5 minutes. Well, thank you, Chairwoman Porter and Ranking Member Moore. I just for allowing me to wave on to this important hearing. I think one thing that's important to note is that we can have free speech and stop the spread of disinformation if we stop with the grandstanding and just get to sensible policymaking. Like many of my colleagues, I represent communities in Massachusetts like Lowell and Lawrence that have been harmed by decades of under investment in clean energy and most recently, record breaking gas prices that big oil corporations leveled to increase their already record breaking profits. And we're here today because of opaque business practices, both on the part of billion dollar oil companies and the PR firms they deploy to do their dirty work work. But also social media companies, which by collecting troves of personal data on users, have created services that can be weaponized to manipulate public discourse. Excuse me. It's important to recognize the relationship between these two industries which profit from the destruction of our ecosystems. And one example is the ability for companies in the PR, PR firms that they employ to micro target online advertisements. A study from the markup found Exxon was targeting an ad that said, quote, Learn how global thermostat is capturing CO2 directly from the air to users who engage with liberal political content. While users who engage with conservative political content receive a very different ad that states quote, The oil and gas industry is the engine that powers America's economy. Help us make sure unnecessary regulations don't slow energy growth. Now, these type of ads are particularly concerning because they're targeted in ways where experts such as those here today may not see the misleading statement about economic growth and may not be able to jump in with counterarguments. And it shouldn't take an investigative report to shine a light on this kind of shady behavior. But right now, that's all that we as lawmakers and members of the public have. In February, I introduced legislation to change that. The Digital Services Oversight and Safety Act, or so sufficient, is a comprehensive transparency bill that requires companies that host user generated content to disclose data on digital advertisements, recommendation algorithms, and publish risk mitigation reports in layman's terms. No longer will companies like Exxon be able to hide behind ad targeting algorithms and secretive social media policies when they try to pit Americans against each other on the climate crisis. And it's for that exact reason that D'Souza is supported by over 15 environmental organizations. So, Dr. Arun, can you speak to the way large media and social media platforms influence the spread of climate disinformation? How might scholars in media studies and similar fields benefit from having access to detailed ad libraries and similar transparency metrics? Well there. First, I'd like to mention that both when we're talking about digital advertising, we really have a duopoly of power in Facebook and Google. So when we are seeing some of these targeted social media messages, we really see a concentration of power over what we see when we see it, where we see it, and how often. So if media researchers like myself can have access to understanding these documents, who is targeted? How are these campaigns being manufactured to work towards certain audiences and not others that can let researchers ask better questions and produce more informed research? That's exactly right. And those are our watchdogs. I, I, I couldn't agree more. Companies like you said, Facebook and Google, they have teams that purport to fight coordinated, inauthentic behavior that undermines democracy. And we must shift the incentives of social media companies to put more effort into identifying and identifying and brining transparency to these campaigns. Given the profit motives, it will require regulation. So, one, I invite my colleagues to co-sponsor the Digital Services Oversight and Safety Act because we can't continue to let opaque business practices and algorithmic targeting of information harm democracy, consumers and our planet. Thank you so much, Madam Chair. [00:56:46][319.0]

Speaker 5: [00:56:47] Resource Committee staff is putting out a report. The report is titled The Role of Public Relations Firms in Preventing Action on Climate Change. This is not even yet on the committee website. But yesterday. Clean creatives is tweeting about this. They have a copy of it. Not yet. Even on committees on the majority's website, not public are amazing how clean creatives got this. We have clean creatives yet again collaborating with the majority. Getting information. Before anybody else has that information. Getting information about subpoenas before anyone else has a getting reports before anyone else has it. This is just absolute insanity. What's going on here? And the real investigation ought to be taking place about that type of collaboration. But here we are going through Ms.. Arena mentioned the unethical PR practices. Things like fake protesters not knowing who's paying for it, harassing behaviors. This type of stuff that I'm mentioning even now becomes a part of it all. With what's going on here. And this whole thing is unethical. What we're watching. Let me go to you. In your opinion, what would happen if the United States just stopped producing oil and gas, like many of these activist groups are clamoring for what would happen. [00:58:18][91.3]

Speaker 4: [00:58:22] It'd be catastrophic. I'll tell you what. You wouldn't have this hearing today. Civilization, the economy, as we know it would would certainly collapse. And I don't think you need a computer modeling modeling out 100 years to to figure that out. But it's more. Think about this the last two years with COVID. How many single use syringes were necessary? And those come from those were plastic that you could dispose of. That's fossil fuels. The helmet that your your child wears in any sports activity. I had a bike accident a couple of years ago. A fossil fuel based helmet saved my life. Glasses saved my eyes. It's in everything. They are in everything. And. And it has been our more efficient, more effective use of fossil fuels, which has actually lowered emissions over the last couple of decades. I mean, we've gotten better with it. It spurs innovation and technology, and that's what allows us to use it more efficient, efficiently, more effectively, develop the tech, the technology to capture any emissions or go in another direction to nuclear or something like that. But I can't imagine us ever, ever. It would be catastrophic. [00:59:46][84.1]

Speaker 5: [00:59:47] It would be catastrophic. It didn't have. Thank you for your answer. It would be catastrophic. And it's amazing to me that as we speak here today, China is in process of making 5050 of the largest coal plants in the world. With no protections. No. Over. They obviously are not concerned with climate change. They are not concerned with polluting the world. And obviously, we right here are not concerned with them doing that either. We have the cleanest coal in the world and we have witnesses here today who can't even determine if they prefer natural gas over coal. Absolutely stunning. Ms.. Cooke, let me come back to you. I recognize the importance of sharing how the daily lives of Americans were impacted by misguided policies. We want truth. All of us want truth out there. Your testimony described your efforts to provide an outlet for Coloradans to share how anti-fracking measures would affect them. Could you briefly share some of those stories? Yeah. You about one minute. [01:00:51][63.7]

Speaker 4: [01:00:52] I'll do it. Raul. A welder. He was the son of migrant workers who worked for. For ancillary support services for the oil and gas industry. He worked with his two sons. It was all about opportunity, jobs, future growth for him and his family. He was able to if if that had passed, it's likely his livelihood would have been shut down. There was a volunteer firefighter, a young woman in New Raymer, Colorado. The oil and gas industry provided them all of the latest and greatest equipment so that she could be of service and help save lives in her community. [01:01:31][38.8]

Speaker 5: [01:01:32] Thank you very much. Thank you, Madam Chair. You bet. [01:01:34][2.0]

Speaker 1: [01:01:36] The chair will now recognize the gentleman from California, Mr. Khanna, for 5 minutes. [01:01:41][5.8]

Speaker 5: [01:01:44] Thank you. Thank you, Madam Chair. And thank you to Chair Porter and Chair Grijalva for your leadership in on this important, important. [01:01:56][12.5]

Speaker 3: [01:01:56] Off until he calls on me. [01:01:57][0.9]

Speaker 5: [01:02:00] And I appreciate you're looking at the the misinformation that oil companies have been engaged in. I know Chair Porter Jr Hall in Chicago Hall they have been working on this issue and I have been working on it with Chair Maloney. We have a hearing tomorrow that to go over a lot of the misinformation that big oil has engaged in since the 1970s, and that they continue to mislead the public about spending money on clean tech initiatives that are and not actually taking place. Now, if we could put on the screen one of the ads that Exxon ran, that would be great. I think it's up because it's virtual. And my question, I guess, for the witness is how does an ad like that even get get made? And what would you say are the consequences of an ad like this? [01:03:18][78.0]

Speaker 3: [01:03:28] I'm sorry. Are you calling on one of us specifically? [01:03:30][1.5]

Speaker 1: [01:03:30] Yes. [01:03:30][0.0]

Speaker 5: [01:03:32] You go first. [01:03:32][0.4]

Speaker 3: [01:03:34] I can't see what ad you're referring to, but I would say in general, that's what makes this issue even more pointed. [01:03:41][6.8]

Speaker 1: [01:03:41] The gentleman's time has expired. The chair will now recognize the gentleman from Montana, Mr. Rosendale, for 5 minutes. [01:03:48][6.3]

Speaker 5: [01:03:49] Thank you, Madam Chair. Ms.. I have a couple of very big picture principles and concepts to go over with you. If you could answer a few questions for me. Can you walk us through the relationship between the grid reliability and the energy transition? [01:04:05][15.5]

Speaker 4: [01:04:09] Well. I would say currently it's not really a transition. I'm worried we're actually going over a cliff. If we if we switch to predominantly un dispatchable, non dispatchable, unreliable or unreliable resources and put them on a grid, providing this is going to sound kind of geeky and but poor quality. Too much too much power at one time. Not enough at another. The grid has to have balance. It has to be electricity has to be used immediately, and it has to always be in balance when you have sources like wind and solar. And I'm not saying there's not a place for them. I'm just saying when you have sources like wind and solar that aren't reliable in the sense that they're either spiky or they have times of the day when they when they aren't working, it makes the grid more fragile. It is less resilient. It is unstable. And you will see things like blackouts, brownouts, or in some cases, a complete failure. Baseload power is baseload for a reason. And when you look at capacity factors, we need to be investing in things that can provide stable, reliable, clean, abundant, affordable power when we need it. [01:05:39][90.9]

Speaker 5: [01:05:40] Thank you. Thank you, Ms.. Cook. And I will tell you that I experienced the blackouts in February of 2020 at a time when the weather conditions in Montana were about 20 below zero. And the folks in Texas were experiencing the same types of issues that we witnessed the near collapse of the entire power grid. Which brings me to my next question. Do you agree the grid reliability and energy security are valid public policy concerns? [01:06:09][28.4]

Speaker 4: [01:06:11] Absolutely 100% some of the single most important public policy concerns. [01:06:16][4.7]

Speaker 5: [01:06:17] Thank you very much. And would you respond to accusations that discussing grid reliability, energy security and climate goals together constitute greenwashing or disinformation? [01:06:29][12.0]

Speaker 4: [01:06:33] Well, I don't think any time you hear another voice whether you know. Even if you disagree with that, it's not this information. It is it is simply somebody in the public arena having a debate. I get it. You don't like those people. I get it. But that doesn't mean we don't have valid concerns. And I'll tell you what, if you want to if you want to see devastating consequences for the environment, see a grid collapse. See what that looks like when people are then burning whatever they can get their hands on to heat their homes or to to cook food, a. These are it's not disinformation just because you don't agree with it. It is another perspective that deserves to be heard and frankly, must be heard. And by the way, that's how we come to the best solutions. I trust Americans. I trust voters. I trust legislators to look at all sides and do the right thing. Public policy organizations like mine, all we do is provide you the information. What you do with it is up to you. But we provide you the information so you can make sound public policy decisions. And that means hearing my perspective on energy security and grid stability. [01:08:01][87.4]

Speaker 5: [01:08:02] Thank you. And Ms.. Cook, you know, it's been demonstrated factually that the world is going to need oil and gas products for decades to come, not only for our energy, but because of all the byproducts that are also generated by each and every one of these. Could you describe the benefits of having oil and gas produced here in the United States with our high the highest environmental standards and labor standards, rather than imported countries like Russia, Iran and Venezuela? [01:08:30][28.3]

Speaker 4: [01:08:33] Yeah. That's where I lived in Colorado, Weld County, Colorado, which was one of the highest oil and gas producing counties in the country. You know, 25,000 wells. And I might be wrong on that, but 95% of them are hydraulically fractured. Improving air quality every single day because of these strict environmental standards that not just the United States, but the state of Colorado put on oil and gas producers. Hydraulic fracturing alone, the ability to to horizontally and then to vertically and horizontally and directionally drill was absolutely revolutionary in efficiency and emissions reduction. [01:09:20][47.1]

Speaker 5: [01:09:21] Thank you, Madam Chair. I see that my time has expired. So, Miss Cook, thank you so much for your participation. I yield back. [01:09:29][7.4]

Speaker 1: [01:09:30] Thank you. The chair now recognizes the chair of the full committee on House Natural Resources, the gentleman from Arizona, Mr. Grijalva. [01:09:37][7.5]

Speaker 5: [01:09:39] Thank you, Madam Chair, and thank you for the hearing and the. Diligence and hard work by yourself and the committee staff. It's much appreciated. And you know, the discussion today is not about ending gas and energy access for for the American people, but to expose and seek truth in advertising from the gaslighting that big oil and big gas are doing on the American people through public relations, not just firms, but specific strategies to to keep the discussion from being on common ground. And that common ground to me is, is fact. It's science and it is empirical information that people can deal with. And that's I think it's important to do that because this is not just about promoting the benefits of a particular company, but it is about turning the discourse into something other than empirical, fact based, science based discussions about what is going on and how this is affecting the overall issue of climate in this country and around the world. But Dr. Arana, why why do gas and oil companies need PR firms to what are the reasons these companies can't just do the climate information, disinformation, work on themselves by themselves? Why can't. A Chevron just beat the Chevron company does. Sends out whatever information or disinformation they're sending out. Why do they need a third party, a PR, PR firm? [01:11:34][115.5]

Speaker 1: [01:11:36] There a long, longstanding pattern of oil and gas companies hiding behind their PR representatives for a variety of reasons. One is some of the underhanded tactics we've been hearing about today. It's a desire to distance themselves from the dirty work that's being done and not to have their reputation tarnished. But also, we can see the need to be protected against general reputational risk. These days, it's very clear that climate change is a real and present danger and we don't need anti environmental action. So they use public relations firms. I think one of the most important reasons is that PR firms are experts in the business when it comes to long term planning and strategy to promote industry viewpoints and to de-legitimize advocates and advocacy for environmental action and climate change action. PR firms are able to coordinate across industry sectors so they can work with oil, gas, chemicals, pesticides, mining because they have clients in all of those sectors. So that kind of expertize is what fossil fuel companies rely on when they work with public relations firms. [01:12:53][76.7]

Speaker 5: [01:12:56] Thank you very much in. Mr. Foster. You, yourself and members of color rise. Motivated to to start a campaign for increased fracking buffer zones. And you kept that going when the opposition was clearly very strong at. What toll did it take? On you personally. [01:13:31][34.6]

Speaker 1: [01:13:34] Yes, this was extremely personally detrimental to me. My health suffered greatly. I began to experience panic attacks, insomnia, all as a result of being in a hyper vigilant state for extended amounts of time. It was an incredible amount of stress that had long term impacts on my health and others in the campaign as well. [01:14:00][26.2]

Speaker 5: [01:14:02] And. What? Why? And some of the tactics that were used in opposition to your campaign and the campaign that came from the people in Colorado. Well, oil company. Using PR firms. In a campaign as straight up as at work what will continue to use outside firms in opposition and pay them to do so? [01:14:38][35.0]

Speaker 1: [01:14:40] When we first contracted with the firm, we realized that that was a critical piece of the equation to obtaining the signatures we needed to make the ballot. It's a difficult process and very defensive. And once we realized, once we started to have concerns about the loyalty and the commitment of the firm, we were deep into the campaign. Many other firms were already contracted out and we didn't feel that we had the time to pivot and start the entire operation over again. [01:15:15][34.7]

Speaker 5: [01:15:16] Thank you. I yield back and thank you very much again, Madam Chair. [01:15:19][3.1]

Speaker 1: [01:15:21] Thank you. The chair now recognizes, Mr. Graves. Are you able to question your. Mr. Graves, the gentleman from Louisiana is recognized for 5 minutes. [01:15:29][8.4]

Speaker 5: [01:15:30] Thank you, Madam Chair. Madam Chair, I'm excited about this hearing because we're talking about misrepresenting the truth. In this hearing today, we're talking about misrepresenting the truth to the American people. We're talking about effectively lying to people. That's what this hearing is about today. And so we have listened over the last 18 months, as we have heard people say, that we are aggressively carrying out this new energy agenda for the purpose of addressing climate change and reducing emissions. But the reality is, is that what's happened is we've actually seen emissions go up, not down. Let me say that again under this administration's policies designed to address climate change. We've watched emissions go up, not down at the same time. At the same time, we're in a situation now to where one fourth of all Americans, one fourth of all Americans in this country are in a situation where they have to decide if they're going to cover groceries, if they're going to cover health care costs, or if they're going to pay their utility bills. We're seeing record inflation and it's a result of what's happening this this right here. Respondents who for necessary expenses, such as medicine or food, in order to pay an energy bill. So. So they're giving up energy or excuse me, medicine or food in order to pay energy bills. This is the outcome of the Biden administration policies on the American people. It's unaffordable. I mean, looking at some of these percentages, again, in Texas, 34% of the respondents have said have said that that they can't afford that they've had to forgo food or grocery costs in order to pay their utility bills. Look, so folks are saying, oh, well, wait a minute, wait a minute. The Biden administration is doing a great job on energy. You actually have to go back to the 1940s, the 1940s to find an administration that has leased fewer acres of land for energy production in the 1940s. Take a look at this. Take JFK. I take Jimmy Carter. Jimmy Carter, during the first 19 months of his administration, leased 100 times more acres of land for oil and gas production than we've seen under the Biden administration. Ronald Reagan, the big line up there, 375 times more energy. So. So folks can be sitting there saying, well, wait a minute, wait a minute. I'm worried about I'm worried about emissions. Let me say it again. This administration's energy policies not only have made it unaffordable, unaffordable to cover groceries or medicine, where 25% of all Americans, one in every four Americans, have had to decide, am I going to pay my utility bill, buy food or pay for medicine? But they've also resulted in energy emissions going up, not down. And when I say up, let's be clear up from a Trump baseline. Under the Trump administration, their emissions went down an average of 25% a year. What objective are we achieving if we're talking about misleading the American people? Let's be clear on who it is that's misleading the American people. It's the Biden administration. The Biden administration is misleading the American people, acting as though their energy strategies are resulting in lower emissions and addressing climate change. It's not. And it's pushing emissions to other countries that are going up globally as well, who can look at this and think that this makes sense? I'm glad we're talking about people that are dishonest because we need to spend more time. Data doesn't lie, and the facts show that this administration's energy policies are pushing people into poverty, are pushing jobs overseas. It are making energy. It's making energy unaffordable. But wait, it's not just limited to families. You know, Sheriff from Chairman Parish. Sheriff's on you. I asked him. So if you weren't spending these dollars on fuel and electricity and utility costs, these are dollars that would be going into additional officers, equipment and training sheriffs one year. That's exactly right. He's confirming that what's happening that what's happened is that as a result of the Biden administration's energy policies. His sheriff's department is spending more money on those things, which is undermining his ability to actually fight crime and do the things that he's supposed to be doing. So I can't say it enough. I'm glad we're talking about misleading the American people. Because we have the chief mis leader who's out there telling the American people that these policies are working and they're not. You're back. [01:20:35][304.7]

Speaker 1: [01:20:38] The gentleman yields back. The chair now recognizes the gentleman from Texas, Mr. Gohmert, for 5 minutes. [01:20:43][4.9]

Speaker 5: [01:20:43] Oh, thank you, Madam Chair. Appreciate it. I was thinking. You know, people ask. You know, it just seems like Democrats and Republicans aren't friends with each other. Let me tell you, I was friends. It was an honor to be friends with a former member named John Dingell. And it wasn't because we had a lot of politics in common. He was just it was a very honest man. And I understood he cared deeply about people and people that needed a hand up. And that's why it was such a shame when he was chairman of Energy and Commerce. And he was he was excited about doing something like Obamacare he'd been pushing for for decades. We disagree on that. But he refused to push through the cap and trade bill because, as he famously said, that got him fired as chairman by Speaker Pelosi. He said that I'm not bringing it through my committee because that bill is not only a tax, it's a great big tax. And he knew it didn't really affect the wealthy. It was inconvenient for them to pay a little more. But who it really crushed was the poor and the lower middle class. And that is what's happening in America as this administration, as my friend Garret Point Graves pointed out, you know, we're not leasing as much. We're cutting back on the energy resources with which this country has been blessed. And those of us that have grown up around drilling don't mind it. As my predecessor, the Democrat at the time, Ralph Hall, said, Look, I don't mind drilling anywhere in the world except on my grave, and I'm okay if you can hole under my grave, because he knew how much it lowered the price of energy and helped people that didn't have. But I'm particularly concerned about the efforts of the majority party here. It seems an effort of intimidation because the firm is advertising and trying to point out the good and and it is helpful to people to be able to pay less for energy. And it would be helpful if people weren't misled about electric cars. They are generally more expensive. We're going to have so much lithium batteries that we won't know what to do with it. It's going to be a huge problem. We're having to buy so much from China with regard to rare earth metals, but you can't make a vehicle without some fossil fuels. And then you've got the problem of people if you want to plug in your car, as Thomas Massie pointed out, they charge it. It's the equivalent of plugging in 17 refrigerators. If everybody does just has one car, we're going to have blackouts, brownouts all over the country. That's not good for people that barely are getting by. And let me just point out, when this committee and the majority of this committee starts thinking about trying to intimidate people into not bragging about the benefits of their products, and Ryan said, when you say that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from a man who produced nothing. When you see that money is flowing to those who deal not in goods but in favors, when you see that people get richer by graft and by poll than by work, and your laws don't protect you against them, but protect them against you. When you see corruption being rewarded and honesty being coming, a self-sacrifice, you may know that your society is doomed. And Natan Sharansky was imprisoned prison gulag and in Russia for speaking up. He makes similar related comments. And so it concerns me greatly for the future of America, and especially for the poor, for the lower middle class that are going to be so harmed by this administration's energy policy. We need to back up and not try to intimidate witnesses. I yield back. [01:25:47][303.4]

Speaker 1: [01:25:48] Thank you very much. With that, with no further members waiting to question will begin to wrap up. I'll offer my closing statement. Today, we have heard about the ways that PR firms are paid to engage in unethical tactics that intimidate and silence Americans who are exercising their rights to support actions that combat climate change. I'm looking forward to hearing more tomorrow at the hearing about oil company profits and climate disinformation that's being held by my colleague, Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney in the Committee on Oversight and Reform. But for all that we have seen here today, I know there is more and it's worse. We initiated the subpoena process for FTI Consulting, which has one of the worst reputations in the business. Though negotiations are ongoing, the trajectory is sadly not good. What are they trying to hide? Is it their creation of fake grassroots groups for their clients to hide behind? Was it the creation of fake social media profiles to track the plans of activist groups? Or is there something worse? The harder FTI Consulting fights, the more it appears that they have a lot to lose by having their tactics exposed through oversight. We are just getting started. I want to close by thanking my colleague, Mr. Heisman, Republican colleague, Mr. Heise for identifying the report, the role of public relations firms in in preventing action on climate change that the committee has released. And I encourage people who are interested in this topic to review the report, and in particular, the documentary Evidence of tactics and unethical tactics and climate disinformation that make up the bulk of the report. With that, I will recognize the Ranking Member for any closing statement he may wish to make. [01:27:49][120.7]

Speaker 5: [01:27:50] Thank you, Madam Chair. Just keep my comments brief. I think it's important for the American public to hear what's going on in this committee hearing today. What this is, is yet another attempt to silence the viewpoints from one side of the aisle from being brought forward. Firms that promote different products and entities have been around since our country was first created. And we all, on a regular basis hear about the newest product, about the greatest product, about the new inventions that are coming forth, and that is throughout all industries. And I don't think that the oil and gas industry is any different. And I think that when we start trying to utilize this body to silence one side of a discussion or another side of the discussion, what we do is suppress the very innovation and technology that has brought us to this place in history, that's given us the ability to to utilize so many of our resources to be able to develop them in a more environmentally sound method, to be able to make sure that our labor standards are the highest in and greatest in the world. And by trying to keep some side of the discussion suppressed or intimidate them from bringing their message forward, I think is always a bad idea that that more information is better for all of us. And so I do appreciate the hearing and I yield back. Thank you, Madam Chair. [01:29:28][98.1]

Rep Porter: [01:29:29] Thank you. I want to thank the witnesses for their valuable testimony and the members for their participation and questions. The members of this committee may have some additional questions for witnesses, and we'll ask that you respond to those in writing under Committee Rule three oh. Members of the committee must submit witness questions within three business days following the hearing, and the hearing record will be held open for ten business days. For these responses, if there is no further business without objection, the subcommittee stands adjourned. Thanks. [01:30:02][32.8]


Speaker 1: [00:00:00] Texas law to try to depose city officials from California in an apparent effort to set up another SLAPP RICO case after several municipalities sued for damages related to the rising sea levels again after several years of litigation, the case was rejected by the Texas Supreme Court for lack of personal subject matter jurisdiction. But in the meantime, the damage was done with these strategic efforts to discourage and to punish citizens just for exercising their First Amendment rights. Wealthy and powerful corporate entities are dragging citizens and public interest opponents through meritless but protracted and extremely costly litigation to expose anyone who dares to stand up to them to financial and personal ruin in its work. To silence its critics. The fossil fuel industry is also pushing for the passage of anti-protest laws dressed up as critical infrastructure protection statutes. And we're going to hear about these. The first of these laws was passed in Oklahoma in 2017 with the explicit purpose of punishing pipeline protesters, although the state already had criminal penalties for trespass, vandalism, destruction of property and tampering. The new law created draconian penalties for the exact same crimes in the vicinity of critical infrastructure, such as terms of up to ten years in prison for vandalism or defacing property. Under that law, individuals and groups could be fined or sued for tens of thousands of dollars for involvement, even in lawful activities like letting a critical infrastructure protester stay in your home or camp on your property. Since that time, 16 states have followed with substantially similar or identical statutes, which dramatically increased civil and criminal penalties for what would otherwise be misdemeanor civil disobedience offenses like disorderly conduct or clearly First Amendment protected activity like rallying and chanting, chanting and taking a position on a public policy question and whitehat an indigenous water protector. We are going to have the benefit of hearing from today was subjected to one of these critical infrastructure laws in Louisiana where she was apprehended by law enforcement officers who were moonlighting on the fossil fuel industries payroll. As private officers, she faced up to five years of hard labor for the crime of trespass. This is despite having been permitted to be on the land that she was removed from by the landowners. It's crucial that Congress protect the rights of American citizens and civic groups to engage in lawful political protest from whatever political perspective without being subjected to ruinously expensive and meritless retaliatory litigation. Presently, 30 states have, in a bipartisan manner, adopted anti-SLAPP laws to protect citizens from baseless lawsuits. However, 18 states don't have these laws in place, and there has never been a Federal anti-SLAPP law. In the coming days, I hope to introduce a strong federal anti-SLAPP corollary, and I hope my friend Ms.. Mason friends on both sides of the aisle will join me in our efforts to end the chilling and punitive practice of stifling and discouraging civic action by the people of the United States. I look forward to hearing from our witnesses today, and with that, I'm happy now to recognize the very distinguished ranking member, Ms.. Mace, for her opening statement. [00:03:28][208.4]

Speaker 2: [00:03:30] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And I want to thank all the witnesses for being here this morning today with us. South Carolina's first congressional district is a district that I represent, and we're on the front lines of American scientific, technological and even environmental innovation. In fact, tens of thousands of people who work in these sectors call South Carolina's first congressional district home, and we're very proud of that. These jobs require a high degree of expertize and training with an eye for ensuring tomorrow's America is more advanced, more prosperous, more safe, and, in fact, more environmentally friendly and more green. The beautiful coastal district that I'm honored to represent faces unique environmental challenges that I've tackled since the first day I ever took office. As an example of this signing on as an original co-sponsor with my fellow Republican from Florida, H.R. 4696, the American Shores Protection Act, which would codify former the former president's executive order to extend a moratorium on oil and gas drilling off the coast of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. I'm also proud to have a 100% rating with the conservation voters of South Carolina. I am often sometimes the lone Republican to vote on environmental measures when we're on the floor of the House. And I maintain this perfect rating and score not by trumpeting alarmist environmental propaganda, but by advancing sensible, practical, logical solutions to face South Carolina's challenges. I want to make myself clear. The Lowcountry depends on the preservation of our region's environment, both for our. Already in our region's well-being, billions of dollars we depend on in our economy because of the tourism that we have. We have clean water, clean beaches, clean air. And sometimes we like to say our beaches are paved with gold. They're so beautiful. Leftwing environmentalists, however, are far too often try to shut down American industry without offering reasonable replacements. With the state of energy prices in the US today, it's not time for policies that will make energy more expensive and less reliable. But we've got to work together on our future and our reliance on oil and gas to fuel our lives. It's not going away tomorrow, nor should it. We have time to transition to greener, more robust energy policies. We must maintain robust domestic energy policies to allow ourselves and our allies to be energy independent while we tap into billions of barrels of oil and natural gas here at home. We need to develop alternatives like nuclear, wind, solar and geothermal. In fact, earlier this year, Representative Ro Khanna and I out of California, when we did a bill to ban Russian oil and gas imports, we were looking for the government to study alternative forms of energy and look at the benefits of using those in the future. The uniqueness of that bill we were very proud to work on multiple bid. Administrations, however, have called for censoring de-platforming of individuals who say things that they disagree with. They call anything disagreement, disinformation. And so I see this issue of censorship actually being two sided. I think both sides have done some things that are are wrong, inherently wrong, inherently violate civil rights, inherently violate the Constitution. But while we're having this hearing today, I don't know why we're talking about, you know, just attacks on the left, but attacks have happened by this administration. In fact, Gina McCarthy, the White House climate advisor, said during an interview that big tech companies should censor information she disagrees with about the environment and climate change, saying tech companies have to stop allowing specific individuals over and over again from spreading disinformation. We need the tech companies to really jump in here. Jen Psaki, former White House press tech press secretary, called on Big Tech to do more to censor the Joe Rogan podcast, for example, for having interviewed people with dissenting views on the administration's COVID response. After Spotify put a disclaimer on the podcast for listeners who chose to stream it, she said their actions didn't go far enough, saying So this disclaimer It's a positive step, but we want every platform to continue doing more to call out misinformation and disinformation while also uplifting, accurate information. Of course, the implication that the Biden administration dictates true dictates truth while also dissenting view, is labeled disinformation. Mark Zuckerberg recently acknowledged during an interview on the Joe Rogan podcast that Facebook reduced distribution on its platform of a New York Post article Breaking the News in October of 2020 about Hunter Biden's abandoned laptop. They did this after a general request from the FBI. Zuckerberg stated, We just kind of thought, Hey, look, if the FBI, which I still view as a legitimate institution in this country, is very professional law enforcement. If they came to us and tell us that we need to be on guard about something, and I'm going to take that seriously. Emails obtained from the federal government through litigation earlier this month show extensive coordination between 45 Biden administration officials and social media company employees to censor content related to COVID 19. So why aren't we looking into and government sanctioned threats against free speech calls to censor a platform certain people the administration disagrees with politically or even entire news stories that could be harmful to a political candidate are inappropriate and foster a culture that's hostile to our fundamental freedom of speech. And it's not one side or the other. Oftentimes, I think it can be both. Direct collusion by the government to silence opposition is even more troubling. We should also be talking about the administration's decision to resume the undemocratic practice of Sue and settle at the EPA, which allows special interest groups to make rules through lawsuits instead of the rulemaking process. This prevents the voices of Americans from being heard by removing them from rulemaking process while allowing environmental groups to have more say in policy than the American public. And don't get me started on the racket of lawsuits by environmental groups here today. While the Biden administration has been attacking free speech, I've also been working on bipartisan solutions to the issues facing not only my state, but our country. This is why I work across the aisle to promote sensible energy policy. We can only solve the hardest problems in our country with bipartisan solutions, and only then will we accomplish the demands of the American people. I want to thank the chairman and the witnesses for their participation today. And I did want to ask unanimous consent, Mr. Chairman, to enter the following articles into the record without objection. Thank you. And Axios article detailing how Gina McCarthy called on big tech to crack down on climate change misinformation. An article from the Washington Post dealing How then White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki called for Spotify to do more than add a disclaimer to Joe Rogan's podcast. An article from CNN detailing how Mark Zuckerberg revealed Facebook was acting on a general FBI warning when it decreased distribution of a New York Post story on the infamous laptop. An article from Deseret News detailing how dozens of Biden administration officials worked with social media companies to censor dissenting COVID 19 opinions. Thank you. And I yield. [00:10:18][408.9]

Speaker 1: [00:10:19] Back. All right. Without objection, they'll be entered in the record. We look forward to reading those. And thank you for your opening statement. Now I have the privilege to introduce our witnesses today. First, we have Professor Anita Ramasastry, who is the Henry Jackson professor of law at the University of Washington School of Law. Then we'll hear. And we'll hear from Deepa Padman Barnaba Padmanabhan, who is the deputy general counsel for Greenpeace USA and a constituent of mine. I understand. Then we will hear from Daren Bakst, a senior research fellow in environmental policy and Regulation at the Center for Energy Climate Environment at the Heritage Foundation. Then we will hear from Ellie Page, a senior legal adviser at the International Center for Not for Profit Law. And last, we will hear from Anne White Hat, a member of the c changyu Lakota Nation from lo de la v camp. The witnesses will be unmuted so we can swear them in. If everybody would please stand and raise your right hands. Do you swear or affirm that the testimony you're about to give is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God? [00:11:34][75.8]

Speaker 3: [00:11:36] I do. [00:11:36][0.1]

Speaker 1: [00:11:37] All right. Let the record reflect that all the witnesses have said yes. And with that, we will go ahead and. Your written statements will be made part of the record. With that, Professor Robin Sastry, you're first you're now recognized for your testimony. [00:11:53][16.2]

Speaker 3: [00:11:54] Thank you, Chairman Raskin, Ranking Member Mace, members of the Committee. Thank you for the invitation to participate in this important hearing this morning. My name is Anita Rama Sastry. I am the Henry Jackson professor of law at the University of Washington School of Law in Seattle. And from 2017 2019, I served as president of the Uniform Law Commission, which is an unpaid role. The Uniform Law Commission, established in 1892, provides states with nonpartizan, well conceived and well drafted legislation that brings clarity and stability to critical areas of state statutory law. And I should say that it's a membership organization of all 50 states the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands from 2016 to 2022. I also served as an expert appointed by the UN Human Rights Council to work with governments, business and civil society to address issues relating to corporations and human rights abuses. The views expressed in this testimony are my own and should not be construed as representing any official position of the organizations I mentioned above. I will make three key points today and will be pleased to answer questions from the committee. The first one is that there is indeed a growing trend of SLAPP suits me as a means to silence dissent not only in the United States but globally across the globe. Human rights defenders who speak out about issues of public concern face a range of attacks because they raise concerns about human rights, risks and harms associated with economic and environmental activity. SLAPP suits, which are criminal or civil lawsuits brought or initiated by business entities to intimidate critics, are one type of attack. These lawsuits can drain the resources of community members, environmental advocates and journalists who speak out in support of human rights and the environment. The reason is an escalation globally and in the US and SLAPP litigation as a tool to close civic space. The fossil fuel sector is one case in point. The Business and Human Rights Resource Center, a respected document Documentation Center, notes that between 2015 and 2021, it identified 355 cases that bear the hallmarks of SLAPP suits brought or initiated by business actors against individuals and groups relating to their defense of human rights or the environment. These suits were analyzed against a larger backdrop of more than 3100 reported attacks on human rights defenders globally. So again, I think it's the numbers and the volume that we should be concerned about. There also seems to be a rising volume of legal actions by the energy sector, in particular against civil society groups. The Business and Human Rights Resource Center, again, which TRAPPES which tracks these SLAPP actions, found that 12 carbon majors brought at least 24 lawsuits against 71 environmental human rights defenders between 2015 and 2018, seeking a total of $904 million in damages. Just this week, Earth Rights International released a report in which it identified 152 cases over the past ten years where the fossil fuel industry has used SLAPP suits and what it describes as other judicial harassment tactics in attempts to silence or punish its critics in the United States. Now, no briefly that many of the oil and gas companies or fossil fuel companies that we're focusing on today have made strong, visible public human rights commitments. Those commitments include adherence to international frameworks or guidance that call upon companies that they've made commitments to respect the rights of civil society, to consult and to engage with them, and to allow them to to peacefully assemble and express their views. So that what we're seeing in the trend in terms of SLAPP litigation is inconsistent with those public commitments that these companies have made. My second point is that SLAPP actions do show free speech and assembly, that there is a larger cost not only for those organizations or sued, but for access to information by the public more broadly. So why should we be concerned about these numbers? The reason is that slaps can impose devastating consequences and those who are sued, draining them financially and emotionally, and discouraging them from exercising their right to free speech. Civil society groups that face these suits may opt to end their advocacy rather than being covered with protracted litigation and awful end up settling actually in ways that will restrict through settlement the right to free speech. Now, steps are a threat to public participation, democracy and the rule of law, and a direct attack on rights such as the right to freedom of expression and assembly. As an expert who was work with the UN observing the impacts of these proceedings on communities and individual human rights defenders and organizations globally and in the US. I have seen the effect of prolonged and protracted litigation that often involves multiple parties and cast a wide net. So while I speak about this in the aggregate, you'll hear from other witnesses today about what that toll is actually to individuals and organizations. But I can attest to that as an expert who has worked for four years in the field with these organizations. Now, my third point is about the need to restore balance. And I think this is consistent with what we've heard from Chairman Raskin and Ranking Member Mace, which is that. Congress should address this trend and restore balance and promote avenues for free expression and assembly. I believe a key solution here is the adoption of anti-SLAPP laws that allow courts to review cases at an early stage in the proceedings to see if they are indeed of public concern and whether the SLAPP suit itself is frivolous or has merit. Now, in recent years, as you heard from the chairman, several states have adopted or amended their anti-SLAPP laws. As of April 20, 22, 32 states and the District of Columbia have anti-SLAPP laws, but again, 18 do not. The Uniform Law Commission recently drafted in a proof or enactment the Uniform Public Expression Participation Act. This is a state of the art anti-SLAPP law for the States and was designed to be adopted by states and has already been enacted in states as diverse as Kentucky and Washington. The Act contains a clear framework for the efficient review and dismissal of slaps. If a respondent cannot establish a prima facie case, their claims can be dismissed. Now, with the state reforms currently underway, there's another question about whether we need a federal law. And I believe the answer is yes and that they can coexist. So the state statute and the federal as a matter of cooperative federalism, if a corporation sues a civil society organization in the federal court for a state law tort, for example, such as libel today, it's not clear whether they can invoke the protection of a state law in federal court, assuming one even exists. The federal law combined the stronger state law that will also preclude forum shopping. So in conclusion, I urge Congress and the House of Representatives. I hope that they will act to restore balance and to protect and preserve the ability of civil society to participate in public debates concerning important topics such as climate change, the environmental impacts of the fossil fuel industry, and other related topics without fear of being dragged into lawsuits that will take a significant toll on their ability to engage in the civic, civic sphere. Sphere. Thank you. [00:18:41][406.7]

Speaker 1: [00:18:41] Thank you, Professor Rama Sastry. And now, Ms.. Padmanabhan, you were recognized for your 5 minutes. Can you just push your little mike button? [00:18:56][14.4]

Speaker 2: [00:18:59] Chairman Raskin, Ranking Member Meese and members of the committee. Thank you for the invitation to participate in today's hearing. My name is Deepa Padmanabhan and I am Deputy General Counsel for Greenpeace USA, one of the leading organizations exposing global environmental problems and promoting solutions that are essential to a green, just and peaceful future. I am pleased to have the opportunity to discuss attacks on free speech in the form of strategic lawsuits against public participation or slaps. I walked through the doors of Greenpeace 11 years ago because I truly believed in its mission. I never could have imagined that a few years later, my career would become dedicated to protecting our fundamental right to free speech. In May of 2016, Greenpeace USA was hit with its first SLAPP suit filed by Resolute Forest Products, one of Canada's largest logging companies, alleging damages of $100 million for publicly challenging the company's forestry practices. Not long after, in 2017, we were hit with the very similar suit brought by Energy Transfer, the company behind the Dakota Access pipeline, claiming $300 million in damages for allegedly orchestrating the resistance at Standing Rock. At issue in both lawsuits was our right to make the public aware of business practices that we believe are harmful to both our health and our planet. What made these lawsuits different from previous slaps was the use of the Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organizations Act or RICO, a law that was designed to go after the Mafia. These companies were trying to equate advocacy work to protect our planet with organized crime. And the similarity between the lawsuits was no coincidence. It was the same lawyers behind both suits who had indicated they were shopping this tactic around. It was clear that these corporations were trying to send a message to small groups, activists, and anyone and everyone with a voice. Watch out or you could be next. We knew we had to fight these lawsuits head on because their implications reached well beyond Greenpeace. The fundamental right to speak out, organize, resist and show solidarity across movements was under threat. Our First Amendment right to free speech was in jeopardy. Smaller groups could be sued into the into silence by the mere filing of a suit of this magnitude, which is the precise intention behind this tactic. We quickly realized that we were not alone in this fight. Groups across issue areas, from the environment to labor to human rights and beyond, came together to send a message that when you go after one of us, you go after all of us. That was the birth of protect the protest, a coalition that was created to fight back against the use of slaps while we successfully got Rico thrown out of both lawsuits, these corporations to continue to pursue whatever claims they can to consume our resources and distract us from our work to protect the planet and its people. They also use other SLAPP tactics, including third party subpoenas, to go after small groups and individuals. The costs associated with these lawsuits are a drop in the bucket for these communities, but they are an existential threat to public watchdogs who play a critical role in our society. So here we are, more than six years from when the first SLAPP was filed against us, still forced to invest time and resources into these legal battles that otherwise would have been used to protect communities and the environment from toxic pollution and the existential threat of climate change. While our window to fight the climate crisis continues to shrink, we have to fight these suits head on because the voices of those who protect our planet in our communities cannot be silenced. Whether you support or oppose our positions, it is non-negotiable that Greenpeace and everyone else has a right to freely discuss, criticize and or denounce practices that impact our health and our livelihoods. That is what the First Amendment guarantees. Slaps put that healthy debate on ice. Corporations with deep pockets can effectively buy freedom from criticism by censoring their opponents. Now is a critical moment for Congress to act and introduce Federal anti-SLAPP legislation. 32 states and the District of Columbia have enacted Common Sense anti-SLAPP legislation, and all were introduced in a bipartisan or nonpartisan fashion. While federal legislation might not put an end to all slaps, it would be a significant step towards becoming a nation of justice, where our fundamental right to speak truth to power is protected. Thank you. [00:23:36][277.6]

Speaker 1: [00:23:37] Thank you so much for your testimony. Now, Mr. Bakst, you are recognized for your 5 minutes. [00:23:42][4.1]

Speaker 4: [00:23:43] Chairman Raskin, Ranking Member Mace and distinguished members of the Subcommittee. Thank you for this opportunity to discuss governmental efforts to chill speech and limit public participation on climate, energy and environmental issues. My name is Darren Backes and I'm Senior Research Fellow Environmental Policy and Regulation at the Heritage Foundation. The views expressed in this testimony are my own and shouldn't be construed as representing any official position of the Heritage Foundation. Open discourse should be the norm in this nation when it comes to energy and environmental issues. The killing of species too often reality. There are regular ad hominem attacks such as the inappropriate label climate deniers for those who not follow the climate narrative. But it gets far worse. There are calls to put people in jail on for their views on climate. James Hansen, one of the most well-known climate activists, argued that CEOs of fossil fuel companies should be tried for high crimes against humanity in nature. NASA's website is prominently featured, featuring an article arguing that it's time to prosecute climate deniers, that our legislators have urged the Department of Justice to prosecute climate skeptics using RICO, actually. There are recent reports of Biden administration officials pressuring social media companies to restrict speech, such as speech connected to climate policy. The government appears to be doing an end run around the First Amendment by using others to block speech. It could otherwise not directly censor on its own. This is being done apparently to go after concerns about misinformation. But misinformation is just another way of labeling speech that one doesn't like, including subjective, specious and other right or wrong. These actions are inexcusable is correct. It's incredible that in the United States where freedom of speech is held so sacred that defending such a basic right is even necessary. But that's where we find ourselves right now. US. If we're really concerned about misinformation, it certainly should not come from government trying to dictate what citizens can say and not say. It should focus on how the government itself is examining misinformation. Congress has long recognized the problem of government disseminating misinformation and created the Information Equality Act to empower the American people to address these problems. So now I'd like to quickly turn to some regulatory issues. And, of course, you know, there are two examples that are actually, I think, that show the limiting of public participation and the different perspectives that people have. In April 2021, EPA Administrator Michael Regan dismissed all of the members of the legally required panels, the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee and the EPA Science Advisory Board. This shocking move, at a minimum, gives the impression that the administrator wants to hear only from those who will support the Biden administration's agenda. Second, the problem of sudden onset it looks to be coming back. The soon settled tactic is around the protections afforded to citizens by Congress through the Administrative Procedure Act. In general, environmental groups will soon environmental agency like EPA to require them to issue a specific rule. There are times when this can affect the substance of rules. These agreements are usually made behind closed doors without public input and often without interveners. The Trump administration issued a memo to prevent abuses and to promote public participation. But the Biden administration revoked this memo. So what should be done? Well, first of all, Congress needs to ensure the federal government doesn't directly or indirectly censor Americans for their opinions. Congress should focus any concerns regarding misinformation where it belongs. Misinformation disseminated by the government. Congress should require independent reviews of the foundational studies informing an agency's understanding and major issues. And Congress should take action to prohibit sue and settle. There's going to be disagreement on policy objectives. And even when there's agreement on the objectives, there will be disagreement on how to achieve the objective. Disagreement doesn't call for attacking those we disagree with, but instead engaging a thoughtful and respectful discourse on the issues. But the government itself is taking actions that are counter to these basic principles of this country and constitution. Congress. Congress should put an end to these actions and help to create an environment where people are not scared to speak on the issues, but empowered to voice their concerns regardless of their perspectives on these issues. Thank you. [00:28:08][264.6]

Speaker 1: [00:28:10] Thank you very much for your testimony, Mr. Baxter. And now, Miss Page, you're recognized for your 5 minutes. [00:28:15][4.9]

Speaker 5: [00:28:17] Thank you, Chairman Raskin. And good morning to you, Ranking Member Mace. Members of the subcommittee. My name is Ellie Page and I'm a senior legal advisor with the International Center for Not for Profit Law. This morning, I'd like to share with you why we at ICAO and so many others are concerned that critical infrastructure laws threaten American's First Amendment rights. In recent years, people across the country have turned out to protest new pipeline projects. Floridians worried about how pipelines will affect their drinking water. Farmers in Illinois concerned about their fields. Indigenous leaders in Minnesota wanting to protect tribal lands. Fishermen in Louisiana fearing the loss of their livelihoods. In response, many states have introduced laws that can criminalize nonviolent protests around protest, around pipelines. The chairman noted Oklahoma was the first of these. In 2017, the state enacted a law creating new felonies that can cover protesters near, quote unquote, critical infrastructure. Under the law, critical infrastructure is defined to include pipelines and a variety of other fossil fuel facilities. That same year, the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, which has ties to fossil fuel companies, began circulating a model bill based on Oklahoma's law. Since then, at least six other states have enacted very similar laws. Supporters of the laws say that they're nuts. They're needed to protect infrastructure from damage by bad actors. But let's be clear these laws are unnecessary in most, if not all states, existing law already criminalizes conduct that can end up damaging our nation's infrastructure. When the governor of Minnesota vetoed a critical infrastructure bill, he said that was why existing state law on trespass and property damage was sufficient. Instead, these new laws, many of which are adopted with fossil fuel industries, explicit support can be used to target pipeline protesters by criminalizing and chilling nonviolent protest activity. They do so in three key ways. First, the laws create extreme penalties. Under Arkansas's critical infrastructure law, a protester can face six years in prison for peacefully trespassing onto a pipeline construction site in several states. Those found guilty under critical infrastructure laws can also be sued by pipeline companies, opening them up to costly civil lawsuits like the kind we've heard about this morning. We have seen of heard from folks on the ground who want to protest lawfully but are afraid of getting caught up in these kinds of penalties who've opted to stay home instead of speak out. Second, the laws are overbroad and vague. North Dakota's law bans inhibiting or impeding pipeline construction. Such broad language covers constitutionally protected speech. It could seemingly even cover a lawful protest that's far from any pipeline. But the delays? Pipeline equipment. Louisiana's law, meanwhile, bans unauthorized entry onto pipelines. But it's not clear what that means. In a state with over 125,000 miles of pipeline, much of which isn't marked or even visible. So it's not clear where individuals can and can't be legally, legally present. And the stakes are high. Five years in prison. Third, in many cases, the laws make protesters and organizers liable for other people's unlawful conduct. They have effectively codified guilt by association. Under Oklahoma's law, if a church group organizes a protest and one person at the protest trespasses, the group could be charged as part of a criminal conspiracy and fined $1,000,000. Critical infrastructure laws are extreme, overbroad and unnecessary. Advocates have successfully challenged parts of these laws and courts have found them to be unconstitutional. But most remain on the books and continue to be used to target and harass nonviolent protesters. As we'll hear from my fellow witness, Ms.. Whitehead. Congress can take action to protect Americans First Amendment Rights First by ensuring that federal energy legislation doesn't intentionally strengthen enforcement of critical infrastructure laws, but instead includes safeguards for peaceful protest. Second, by encouraging the Department of Justice to file amicus briefs in support of litigation against critical infrastructure and other anti-protest laws. And third, by enacting legislation like a Federal anti-SLAPP law that can help protect protesters and protest organizers from being silenced by industry backed lawsuits. Thank you. And I'd be happy to answer your questions. [00:32:39][261.7]

Speaker 1: [00:32:39] Thank you very much, Ms.. Page and Ms.. Whitehead, you're recognized for your 5 minutes of testimony. [00:32:43][3.7]

Speaker 5: [00:32:48] Mickey IP he handwash statement they washed in opposite shoes. RB Oh, he took away Mina and white hat match shopping, still relatives. I greet you today with a heartfelt handshake in my beautiful Lakota language. I'm strong Lakota from Rosebud, South Dakota, and a resident of the state of Louisiana. I'm a mother and herbalist and a water protector. In 2016, I returned to my ancestral home to join the Indigenous led resistance to Energy Transfer Partners plan to build the Dakota Access Pipeline and assault the waterways and unceded land of the Lakota royalty in violation of the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty. This pipeline cut across four states and under the Mississippi River, posing grave threats to the contours of Mother Earth rail critical infrastructure, including the waterways of the Mississippi River down to the Gulf Coast of Mexico. As a mother, I never intended to get arrested. However, on September 18th, 2018, I was arrested and charged with two felony counts under new amendments to Louisiana's critical infrastructure law. I was facing up to ten years in prison. I was told that I was being arrested for trespassing two weeks prior on remote land being worked on by the pipeline company in the Atchafalaya Basin. Despite my having the express permission of the landowners to peacefully protest there, a Louisiana state court later ruled that it was in fact the pipeline company that was trespassing. Yet we were the ones brutally assaulted and arrested that day and in the weeks following by the same uniformed sheriff's deputies working privately for the pipeline company and also by pipeline workers themselves, over a dozen of us have for several years had the possibility of lengthy prison sentences hanging over our heads. But sharing what happened to me is not the only reason why I'm here today. I want to talk about the coordinated effort of industry, lawmakers and law enforcement to isolate, attack and silence our movement. This collusion emerges from a centuries long history of attacks on my people as we resist the consolidation of power over this country by a white supremacist system bent on maintaining exclusive authority over our land. A key tactic in the coordinated attack on us is known as lawfare, the weaponizing of the legislative process to attack social movements. The first so-called critical infrastructure law emerged in Oklahoma in 2017 and was picked up by the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, a lobbying front group for corporations that masquerades as a nonprofit. ALEC uses a nationwide network of industry backed lawmakers to catapult critical, critical infrastructure laws into states across the country. ALEC affiliated law makers have been the sponsors of draft critical infrastructure laws and all but five of the 23 state legislatures where they've been introduced, many of them as lead sponsors. Understand that existing Louisiana law already criminalized the types of activities industry claimed it was focused on. All this law did was ratchet up formerly misdemeanor offenses to much more serious criminal felony charges for First Amendment protected protest activity. At their heart. Critical infrastructure laws are intended to prevent people from joining the groundswell of opposition to fossil fuel extraction because this movement threatens their profits. The new law only served as a pretext to inflict more violence against us. Local police working privately. Four pipeline companies wasted no time before violently arresting us. As I briefly described earlier. The coordinated attack on our movement also included efforts to silence the journalists who risk their safety and well-being to tell the world about what was happening to us. Karen Savage, an investigative reporter who is here today, was arrested twice under the felony trespassing law while documenting illegal construction and the tactics used against us. She was assaulted by a pipeline worker while filming the violent arrests of three peaceful water protectors. When she reported the assault to the Saint Martin Parish Sheriff's Office, it went nowhere. She later learned that the lieutenant who took her report was among the 58 sheriff deputies moonlighting for the pipeline company, a practice that left no one to protect the rights of water protectors and reporters. In our experience, amendments to this law only serve to embolden lawlessness among oil industry supporters. Escalating violence has been used for centuries against people who challenge the concentration and misuse of power. This is nothing new to us, but what we experience needs to be recognized by all as a coordinated assault on a movement. Indigenous people continue to be the first responders to the worsening effects of climate crisis. Our actions are part of our commitment as caretakers of the places we live in. We are the proud founders and the status of an ever growing global movement to defend against the irrevocable destruction of our Mother Earth. It is in that spirit that we call upon all in this committee to bring your power to bear in support of the water protectors that are defending what's precious to us all. Thank you very much for your time. Pilot We are bicoastal. [00:38:15][326.8]

Speaker 1: [00:38:16] Thank you very much for your testimony. Mrs. White Hat And with that, I'm going to go to Miss Kelly to begin our member questioning of the witnesses. And I will. [00:38:26][9.2]

Speaker 3: [00:38:26] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, ranking member, for holding this hearing. And thank you to the witnesses. An emerging issue that relates to A.I. slapping anti-protest laws that are known as anti ESG bills. Increasingly, commercial investors are putting more emphasis on environmental, social and governance or ESG issues in selecting stocks while still meeting investment goals. While ESG has grown in popularity in recent years and has long been considered by financial institutions in making investment decisions. But ESG has become a new boogeyman and a and a cudgel to be used against anyone that opposes the fossil fuel and gun and gun industries. So far, anti ESG legislation has been adopted or introduced in 17 states. Texas passed a bill in 2021 that prohibits any governmental entity in the state from doing business with any financial institution that has divested from the oil and gas industry. This law forced five of the state's largest municipal bond underwriters out of Texas. So now Texas can say their anti ESG bill is another feather in their anti-woke cap. It is costing Texas taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. I would like to introduce into the record a University of Pennsylvania study from earlier this year, which explains that this new law will cost Texas entities an additional 303 to 532 million in interest during the first eight months of the law's enactment. [00:40:02][96.0]

Speaker 1: [00:40:04] Without objection. [00:40:04][0.6]

Speaker 3: [00:40:05] I'm sorry. Professor Ramos three. I'm a Sastry. What can you tell us about the impetus behind the ESG laws? Great. Thank you so much, Representative Kelly. Just to be brief. ESG, environmental, social and governance factors have been around for some time since the seventies and eighties. These are just a manner in which companies can disclose how they're addressing different issues in their business operations. I'm an S person and I deal with social right? So we think about human trafficking and forced labor in global supply chains. Companies disclose kind of what steps are taking to address those issues. So this is nothing new. As you're saying, it is now become a hot potato issue. But I think there's a sort of misunderstanding of it. It's basically and this is outside of any government requiring this. Companies have been asked and have been doing so for many for a long time. They're what they're doing to address environmental risks in their business operations. Social risks like forced labor and human trafficking and kind of what they have in terms of governance to prevent things like corruption in their business. So it's just a method of disclosure and it's a method that companies have been doing to be responsive to a whole range of different kinds of investors. You have socially responsible investors who need this data. You have pension funds that may or may not want it. I mean, again, as we've seen some pension and even state pension funds want to understand and make decisions based on this information. So I think the controversy is just about, well, why is any of this relevant? Right. Is it going to somehow hamper profits? And that's where I think the E is, where there's been a lot of debate. And the question is, is disclosing information about, for example, carbon emissions, CO2 or climate mitigation, something that's relevant to decision making? Well, let me ask you. Go ahead. Financial institutions have been accused of, and I quote, discriminating, unquote, against fossil fuel companies by not investing in them. And then how would you respond to accusations? Well, I think being discriminated against would respond in the sense that we saw the response of BlackRock to the Republican attorney general's letter where they said, this is not what we're doing. Right. We're asking for that information as part of a larger set of indicators that we want to look at when we think about whether there is going to be a risk to the company. Right. So they're just saying that it's part of a mix of information that will help make decisions about not only short term profits, but long term profits. So as BlackRock indicated, they're still investing in the fossil fuel and oil and gas sector, but they're saying that over time they're going to need that information because there is a question about material risk. So I think the question there is that it's a piece of information that will be important. Are there any First Amendment implications in creating government mandates as to which publicly traded companies, financial institutions can invest in? I think there's differences of opinion here. Now, I'm not a First Amendment expert, but just in a nutshell, there's a question about the SEC and whether it can mandate this disclosure. So some opponents are saying it's compelled speech, but I think there's a strong and plausible argument that this is this is nothing new. Right. That these closed disclosures help consumers understand how their companies are making decisions environmentally, and that these are just about factual issues, again, that really go to materiality. Thank you. My time is up, but thank you so much. [00:43:41][216.1]

Speaker 1: [00:43:42] I know that, Mr. Kelly, the documents you wanted to introduce will be introduced with and without any objection. And thank you for making this really important point about the anti ESG laws. And that's something that the subcommittee could definitely take up, because that is another threat to freedom of speech and expression in an attempt to interfere with the company's own policies trying to advocate in this field. With that, I would like to recognize Mr. Higgins for his 5 minutes of questioning. Was Regan's to you? [00:44:13][30.6]

Speaker 6: [00:44:14] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. It's it's striking that we're having this hearing today. The law's been said about Louisiana. So we're going to talk about Louisiana, generally speaking. My colleagues in the Democratic Party. It's a broad generalization, admittedly, but I mean, the sky is blue, the grass is green. The Democrat Party is the party of attorneys. And the Republican Party is a party of businessmen. Is a a general reference that when you first come to Congress, it's a pretty clear understanding. Democrats love lawsuits, love them. Every energy project in Louisiana has got to set aside a large percentage of its projected budget to defend against lawsuits. Every pipeline, every LNG plant, every petrochemical expansion, every one of them. If to set aside money. It is not all huge companies, you understand? You have us. You could put a small hole in the ground. Could be a ten, $12 million project for a small company to have to set aside, you know, a million, 2 million because of the toxic legal environment in Louisiana, because Democrats and climate activists love to sue petrochemical projects and energy projects, including. LNG plants which represent the hope of the entire world to reduce emissions. And nowhere is it done more clean than in the United States of America. Why? He got 225,000 miles of pipeline in Louisiana. Young lady, because it's Louisiana. It's where you get your energy from. It's where you get your petrochemical products from. Everything you use, everything you wear, and your clothes, your shoes, your glasses, your phone, your iPad, the vehicle you got here in the plane you flew here on. All of that requires petrochemical products and energy that's drawn out of Louisiana. So, yeah, we have pipelines. It's the safest means by which to transport energy product. It's safer than rail. It's safer than vehicle. It's safer than power, water and LNG, for God's sakes. The entire world has reduced emissions because of LNG projects out of Louisiana. But a Louisiana Antigua energy company cannot come into Louisiana without getting sued by the left. You talk about protests and First Amendment rights. I would like for anyone here that could define for me how it's okay to vandalize equipment on a legally operating project like a pipeline in Louisiana. And say that that's all right. To go and destroy equipment, vandalize equipment. That's not protest. It's against the law. And you should be arrested. But that. Young lady referred to. The lack of action out of the sheriff's department. I know that shares of all I know, those men, they are squared away. They have to deal with this stuff all the time. Climate activist causing problems to the workers of the contractors didn't go to your house or you you work. And cause issues and interfere. And threaten. And shut down and get in a way cause safety problems. You went there. Cause those problems. I'm going to ask. I'm going to ask Miss Page. We have a witness here as Mr. Bash. But I'm going to ask you, Miss Page. I'm going to give you the balance of my time at 30 seconds. Explain to America. Why it's okay for a climate activist to break the law and vandalize equipment on a job site. You have the floor. Good lady. [00:48:51][277.1]

Speaker 5: [00:48:55] Thank you. I think we've been focused on the critical infrastructure laws, chilling impact on non nonviolent protest protected by the First Amendment. I'd also note again how important his term. [00:49:08][12.8]

Speaker 6: [00:49:08] Is vandalizing equipment, what you would call nonviolent protests. Just just just tell us. [00:49:12][4.6]

Speaker 5: [00:49:13] I'd just emphasize that there are laws in all states to address that kind of conduct. [00:49:17][4.4]

Speaker 6: [00:49:18] And so is it okay to arrest a climate activist if they vandalize equipment? [00:49:22][4.7]

Speaker 5: [00:49:23] I think our concern would be, again. [00:49:26][2.3]

Speaker 3: [00:49:26] That. [00:49:26][0.0]

Speaker 6: [00:49:27] The cuts are not. [00:49:27][0.6]

Speaker 5: [00:49:28] Draconian. [00:49:28][0.0]

Speaker 6: [00:49:29] And my time has expired. I yield. [00:49:31][2.1]

Speaker 1: [00:49:33] Okay. Thank you for your questioning. We go now to Ms.. Naughton. You were recognized for your 5 minutes. [00:49:39][5.5]

Speaker 3: [00:49:41] Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I'm amazed at the kinds of. Laws we are. [00:49:47][6.5]

Speaker 5: [00:49:48] Seeing. [00:49:48][0.0]

Speaker 3: [00:49:49] Go into affects. I must tell you, I've been a First Amendment lawyer. I can't believe these laws will stand the 17 states. There have a protest laws which they disguise as critical infrastructure laws, and they are these go beyond authorizing. [00:50:13][24.2]

Speaker 6: [00:50:14] Violent. [00:50:14][0.0]

Speaker 3: [00:50:16] Activity or other destructive activity. They criminalize organizing big families. [00:50:24][7.4]

Speaker 5: [00:50:25] Of peaceful protest. I was a First Amendment lawyer before I came to Congress and this group. [00:50:32][7.0]

Speaker 1: [00:50:33] Really? [00:50:33][0.0]

Speaker 3: [00:50:34] And went before the Supreme Court. Argued cases before the Supreme Court involving First Amendment activity. I can't believe these laws will stand. In Oklahoma, for example, organizations and individuals. Can be fined up to $1 million if they support people opposing pipeline construction. As coconspirators, we've heard from Ms.. Whitehead, who was arrested. [00:51:08][33.9]

Speaker 5: [00:51:11] Where it was in Louisiana. [00:51:13][1.1]

Speaker 3: [00:51:14] Punishable up to five years. [00:51:15][1.3]

Speaker 6: [00:51:16] Of hard labor to. [00:51:18][1.3]

Speaker 3: [00:51:18] Even be on the property. That a pipeline runs through even if it's underground. That's why I think these laws cannot stand as a form of tenured professor were focusing on constitutional one. [00:51:32][13.3]

Speaker 1: [00:51:32] That law. [00:51:32][0.7]

Speaker 3: [00:51:34] That one it's particularly disturbing to. [00:51:35][1.9]

Speaker 1: [00:51:36] Me. Miss Page. [00:51:37][1.6]

Speaker 3: [00:51:38] Many of these laws are nearly identical in nature. And they focus on criminalizing opposition to pipeline construction. Can you tell us why that is and how the fossil fuel industry is connected to these laws? [00:51:54][16.4]

Speaker 5: [00:51:58] Thank you. Yes. So we know, at least from express statements in a number of cases from the sponsors of this legislation, that they are introducing these laws because of protests they've seen either in their own states or elsewhere. So the sponsor of the Oklahoma bill, for instance, that became the basis of the ALEC model law, said that protests like the one at Standing Rock was the, quote unquote main reason behind his bill. In South Dakota, the governor, Kristi Noem, explicitly said that the bills she introduced were designed to cut off funding for pipeline protesters. So we have we have that evidence, at least of of know in addition to other information, as Ms.. Whitehead provided about the links between ALEC and fossil fuel companies to into it the the design behind this legislation. Oh. [00:52:57][59.6]

Speaker 6: [00:52:58] Thank you, Professor Ramos. [00:53:01][2.3]

Speaker 3: [00:53:02] South Street. Turning to you, what are the implications of. [00:53:07][5.0]

Speaker 6: [00:53:08] Costs of fossil fuel companies. [00:53:10][2.5]

Speaker 3: [00:53:11] Championing anti First Amendment. [00:53:14][2.7]

Speaker 6: [00:53:15] Statutes like these in state legislatures across the country. [00:53:19][4.4]

Speaker 3: [00:53:23] Again. Thank you, Representative. The issue, I think, is surprisingly of consistency. What we're saying is that these companies have made very strong public commitments to this concept of respect for human rights, including engagement and consultation, actually with civil society groups and advocates as a way of addressing issues. So this is counter to the commitments they're making. So it's a surprise to see them engaging in this in the legislatures. And I hope that this discussion will help, I think bring that to light. And of course, companies have different kinds of people, the sustainability people or the government relations people. But what I would say is, again, in terms of restoring balance, I've heard that there are laws on the books to deal with criminal trespass and other issues already. And what we do need is rebalancing. That's my my plea. But using, I think, federal anti-SLAPP legislation is as an antidote to what we're seeing now. [00:54:16][53.8]

Speaker 6: [00:54:19] Miss Miss. [00:54:20][1.5]

Speaker 3: [00:54:21] Panmunjom will macabre. [00:54:23][2.0]

Speaker 6: [00:54:24] Number. [00:54:24][0.0]

Speaker 5: [00:54:24] Greenpeace has been investigating the connection. [00:54:27][3.0]

Speaker 3: [00:54:28] Between the fossil fuel industry and the American Legislative. [00:54:30][2.5]

Speaker 6: [00:54:32] Exchange. [00:54:32][0.0]

Speaker 3: [00:54:33] Exchange Council. That's called ALEC in advancing anti-protest laws in state legislatures. [00:54:39][5.6]

Speaker 6: [00:54:41] And what can you tell us about the connection? [00:54:43][2.0]

Speaker 1: [00:54:49] The General Lady's time has expired. But please, you answer the question, okay? [00:54:52][2.5]

Speaker 2: [00:54:53] Yes, there is a very deep connection that, as many know, Alec is a secretive group of corporate corporate lobbyists. Many of them have very public ties to the fossil fuel industry. And it's very clear that they've been trying to rewrite state laws to benefit corporations over people for a number of time. And so these connections are not hidden connections. They are very available to the public and very well known at this point. [00:55:17][23.9]

Speaker 1: [00:55:19] Thank you very much. Thank you, Miss Norton, for your 5 minutes of questioning. I'm going to come in just a second to Mr. Sessions for his 5 minutes. First, without objection, we are going to enter into the record from Business Insider dot com an article entitled Inside Louisiana's Horrifying Cancer Alley, An 85 Mile Stretch of Pollution and Environmental Racism. And with that, Mr. Sessions, you're recognized for your 5 minutes of questioning. Mr. Chairman, thank you very much. And I want to thank you, I think, for holding this hearing today, because I think public discussion on both sides of this. Issue and issues as necessary. I want to say to the witnesses that are here today, thank you. Thank you for taking time to be with us. I don't know that we've gotten anything other than accusations that there are two sides that are deeply. Deeply at war against each other on the high seas. On land. And all across the globe, it's governments against people who produce food. It's men and women who are in a legitimate industry trying to produce energy, trying to keep us out of the cold, trying to keep us cool in the summer. It is men and women who are engaged in trying to use, as our young ranking members said, all of the above. And I want to really thank Mrs. Ms.. Mays for her conversation, because it's hard to find a balance in this. It's hard to find a balance when two sides with hundreds of people on each side, perhaps thousands. Are actually so committed to their side that they really cannot see. The need for the other. I think it's important that we note. They just as of late, we've not recognized the real impact of what a one sided answer does, whether that be a one sided answer on what might be called fossil fuels or all of the above, or a one sided that might be on the other side, which may be environmentalism. We're looking at one of the largest literally group of people in the world called California. That is in a mature phase of over 25 years, perhaps more of following environmental activism to do. [00:57:58][158.8]

Speaker 6: [00:57:58] Away with the balance. [00:57:59][1.0]

Speaker 1: [00:58:01] And now they're asking their citizens. Do not drive to not use electricity, to not do these things. They have placed arbitrarily California and millions of people in a diminished position. Elderly people. People in hospitals, people who are disabled. People who actually need balance in their life. An Americanism at its best. And so I would say to the gentleman from Maryland, thank you for bringing this group together. I am not going to lecture you. That is not what this is about. But I would say that if we're going to fix the problem. We need both sides to back off from their position a little bit. To be able to see where the balance is. But political activism on someone else's pipeline or someone else's backyard. Is a very difficult argument, in my opinion, that several of you hold. You hold that the right of the public should have a say in these matters. I think you do. I think you do. To elected officials. I think you do through policy. I think that you do in certain states that overwhelmingly have adopted those policies. But in states that actually produce the energy, that have the pipelines that beat the stuffings out of driving trucks or trains up and down our freeways. Is a best practice. The best way for us to continue a process. The young chairman had a hearing perhaps last year. Well, we talked about pipeline safety. I attended that full hearing. I respected the words that were said by the people who came forth. And I engaged the companies in that behavior. That became apparent that hearing. That's why we have hearings. But those companies recognized they had a problem. And they did things about it. And I think that's the activism that we need that Mr. Raskin showed. I now engage those companies. On their pipeline safety. But I would say to each of you as witnesses, thank you for bringing your story to us. But I would ask that if we're going to heal this country, it's going to take people that do produce energy. It's going to take people who do have build pipelines. It is going to take consumers that cannot be put in a in desperate need. For what they're going to get. They need the balance also. And so I want to thank not only our ranking member. The gentlewoman from South Carolina. But I want to thank Mr. Raskin, because when we hear from both sides, then we get a better understanding about the real policies that need to come. And I encourage us and Mr. Raskin, you know, that I deeply believe in a balance. And that balance means that we can have energy and afford it. Lastly, I have a Down's syndrome, son. I have a son that cannot take care of himself. And he is overwhelmed by changes that take place in our country. But he is an example and millions of other disabled intellectual as well as disabled people, maybe they're veterans that actually need that. Make sure that we have the air conditioning on. Energy at a price that is affordable. And this means that we can throw down our sword that we have at each other and find that compromise. So please know just because you come from a state and hold very strong views. A state that produces the energy has an obligation to do that, to take care of all of us. Mr. Raskin, I want to thank you for the balance that's exhibited today. Ms.. Mace, thank you for your leadership on this issue, and I thank each of you today. I yield back my time. And thank you very much, Mr. Sessions, for those very thoughtful comments. And I will definitely have some some comments elaborating on some of the things you said when it's my turn. In the meantime, I'm going to recognize the very distinguished gentlelady from Massachusetts, Ms.. Pressley, whose beautiful district I got to visit during the recess. Ms.. Pressley, you're recognized for your 5 minutes. [01:03:06][304.8]

Speaker 3: [01:03:09] Thank you so much, Jim Raskin. Fossil fuel companies have abused the legal system to escape accountability for their role in exacerbating the climate crisis and endangering frontline communities, which I represent in the Massachusetts seven. And today's hearing really does underscore why we have to put an end to their attacks on environmental justice organizers and climate activists once and for all strategic lawsuits against public participation known as a slap since they've been used across the country by Big Oil. For example, when California when several California cities sued Exxon for damages related to climate change. Exxon brought a countersuit not in federal court, but in a Texas state court seeking to depose California residents for actions taken only in California. Now, this was complex and dubious lawyering to try and create a racketeering or RICO case against the residents and municipalities. Professor Ramos Street, can you tell us about how this case fits into the way big oil companies and SLAPP abuse works? Thank you, Representative Presley. I think the larger issue and what I tried to illustrate with I get without getting into each individual case is to say that there's a larger strategy here, which is not only within the United States, but global. And I appreciate what we're hearing from all members here about the issue of balance. What we're seeing is and I would say that one of the issues is that there are certain parts of the legal profession who have really taken up this this. So it's not just about the companies, but it's also about the law firms sort of pursuing these zealous tactics where there's a clear imbalance of power. We've seen the results are in these suits that that the companies typically don't prevail, but they prevail in terms of the duration of the suits, the cost of the suits and the inequality of resources that that governments and or civil society groups have. Right. So this is the larger issue that I want to highlight. And so, again, we really need to rebalance. These suits really represent that inequality of resource and power and rebalancing through things like anti-SLAPP legislation. I was part of the Uniform Law Commission, which is a 50 state bipartisan organization that is focused on cooperation and balance. So I come to you here today saying we do need balance solutions, but we have a situation now, a tremendous asymmetry. Thank you. And do you mind prestigious expounding upon exactly what was the ultimate outcome of that litigation and how long did it take? So I do not know the ultimate outcome of the Exxon case that you were talking about. I mean, I understand it now. It is it has been dismissed and that on appeal that that dismissal has been upheld. But the specific grounds I can't speak to. And I think that took about four years to litigate. Thank you. And I would just say four is actually relatively short compared to some of the other cases that that have been mentioned in today's hearing. And although that lawsuit did not work, it just it did not stop the lawyers the next time, you know, at all from continuing to abuse the legal system. In fact, in my home state of Massachusetts, our attorney general, Maura Healey, filed an action against the company seeking damages for sea level rise related to climate change. And in response, Exxon filed a special anti-SLAPP lawsuit against the state. So Exxon was able to use the very law that is designed to stop them from avoiding accountability as a mechanism to avoid accountability. Professor, are you aware of any instances where anti-SLAPP would be appropriately used against state enforcement or regulators? So I don't and again, if you look at different laws that are dealing with sort of anti-SLAPP, they have different types of application of scope. But again, I think the question of balances is that that quite quickly, if you see it as a counter tactic, a court has the ability to make that decision fairly quickly. So again, these laws can be used by companies as well as by civil society. But the question is, at a very early stage, a court has the ability to say this doesn't have merit and to dismiss it if a company, again, is using this tactically as opposed to really to deal with an underlying legal issue. But it is a consistent tactic sort of in this playbook of these powerful entities like the fossil fuel industry. It's it's a consistent tactic. I guess I would say that the larger issue is that it's part of a larger, consistent approach to using the legal system and to to create a prolonged resource intensive approach to to it issue. Very good. And in fact, in the Massachusetts Supreme Court, after more than three years of litigation, denied Exide's motion and is allowing the matter to proceed. So three years. So these delay tactics and judicial harassment by Exxon, by Chevron and others really only serves their greedy interests and harm our planet. I represent one of the district's front line communities, a disproportionate impact that some of the highest rates in the country. So justice delayed is justice denied. We cannot allow big oil to continue to use the legal system to escape accountability. That's really all it comes down to. So thank you and I yield. [01:08:41][332.0]

Speaker 1: [01:08:41] Thank you very much. Ms.. Pressley, I now recognize Mr. Donalds for his 5 minutes of questioning. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Actually, two in some respects, to piggyback off the last comments by the gentle lady from Massachusetts. I think if we take a look at the legal system, what we have seen in America is that it is abused to a large degree. And I think some of the first abuse has actually come from certain attorney generals that want to take energy companies into court, citing climate change and sea level rise as the reason for suit with, you know, respectfully speaking. To the members who will probably disagree with my comments. The fact that climate change is not settled science, but we're not settled. We're not talking about the theories of gravity or evolution here. We're talking about the the amount to which man is contributing to a change in global temperature. Temperatures anywhere from 1 to 2 degrees Celsius, and that science with respecting everybody in the room is not clear. What is clear is that the constant move of lawsuits against energy companies does derail projects. It does raise the costs of projects. And those costs are borne by the citizens that we all serve. Look no further than the people of California right now through a myriad of regulatory policy and I'm quite sure lawsuits in the past in that state. Now, the governor is telling the citizens of California they can't cool their home below 78 degrees in the middle of some of the warmest time in California. You know, the month of August and September, it's pretty hot out there. So the costs are borne by the citizenry, regardless of the politics, regardless of where people fall on the science of anthropology, global warming, manmade climate change, wherever you want to call it that science is not clear. I think there were earlier commentary today talking about ESG. As somebody who did work in a financial industry, I will tell you firsthand that ESG policy, those those those portfolios were ESG has run have actually underperformed normal investment portfolios. And the fees associated with ESG funds are actually higher than a typical non ESG fund. That's the data. Those are the facts. And so there are serious questions where pension pension plans in the various states should actually be investing in ESG portfolios if they're earning a lower return over time for the pensioners who typically are hard working people in every every state in the country. Mr. Bass, quick question for you in your interpretation. What have you seen with these SLAPP lawsuits? Do you believe that it's really that we have legal games on both sides of the argument with respect to climate change? [01:11:24][163.1]

Speaker 4: [01:11:27] Thank you for the question. There's certainly going to be legal games for everybody. But it's interesting that in my testimony I was talking about one of the chilling effects are states bringing lawsuits against people for their speech and what their actions are in these companies. Yet the examples being used are those very lawsuits. And I'm complaining about the fact that what we're talking about is slap lawsuit seem to be focused on what municipalities are doing the government is doing against these fossil fuel companies. And I also see that Massachusetts is doing so. I'm not really sure how that's impacting climate activists unless you want to explain that this equates municipalities in the states as a climate activists. So I don't really understand that argument. One thing I think is really important to understand is that. There are tradeoffs when it comes to if you want to go all electricity and you want to get rid of cars and you basically don't want and you want to import your energy like California does, it's going to have costs. It's going to have cost to Californians and it's going to have a disproportionate impact on low income Americans. And low income Californians get hurt the most because they spend a greater share of their after tax income. I mean, basic needs like running the air conditioning. So there are tradeoffs. And I think, unfortunately, we're ignoring the tradeoffs and also showing necessary speech to be able to address these types of critical points to ensure that we protect all Americans. [01:12:54][87.5]

Speaker 1: [01:12:55] Well, I would I would I would argue. Thank you for your comment. I think that there is a broader concern when it comes to officials in government who and let's be very clear, I mean, it's it's pretty apparent now with everything that's been coming out in news and in podcasts. Shout out to Joe Rogan that, you know, we have officials of government who have gone to social media companies about tamping down on information, about silencing dissent. We know firsthand and it's not the topic of this hearing, Mr. Chairman, but we know firsthand that the White House was working with social media companies and media companies to basically silence dissent with respect to the handling of COVID 19. So if we know that the White House was clearly engaged in silencing Americans through the back door, why would we think that there are other officials in government, not not just here federally, but around the country, who would silence dissent on climate change with that? I yield back, Mr. Chairman. Thank you very much, Mr. Donaldson. I'm now going to recognize myself for my questioning. I didn't want to have to spend any time relitigating the question of whether or not climate change is real. Let me just say the scientific evidence for climate change is unequivocal, and it demonstrates that greenhouse gas emissions have been dramatically warming the Earth's surface. And this is based on now many decades of scientific evidence. Also, California hardly needs me to defend their excellent record in rising to the occasion of dealing with climate change. But I'm submitting an article for the record headlined California Breaks Record by achieving 100% renewable energy for the first time, 100% of the energy in their state portfolios now comes from renewable energy sources. Now, so my friend Mr. Sessions said Leave. I want to thank him for noting that we had hearings about pipeline safety, but also about the failure of a number of pipeline companies to honor their contracts and their legal obligations to make restitution to landowners or to restore land that had been damaged, that was taken from private landowners by the eminent domain process. So we were looking at abuse of eminent domain to have the government in service of pipeline companies declare private land, the government's land, then turning it over to the pipeline companies. And it was supposed to be restored to the status quo ante and it wasn't. And that's throughout the Southwest, in the West, in the Midwest, where we've seen that. That's a separate problem. But I thank him for, you know, gesturing to those hearings. Now, as to today's matter, I'm glad that my friend Mr. Higgins pointed out that there is violence at demonstrations. There has been violence at some of those demonstrations at the pipeline. And that's not what I'm here to talk about anyway. I don't defend violence in any way at all, just as I'm sure Mr. Higgins would not defend the violence that overran the Capitol of the United States on January six, 2021. While we defend the right of people to gather in the seat of government in the nation's capital, to peaceable, peaceably assemble under the First Amendment, and to nonviolently protest and petition for redress of grievances, we do not support the right of people to come and beat our police officers over the head with Confederate battle flags or Trump flags or American flags. And I'm sure he would not defend that. But I just don't want to confuse the issue, because what we're talking about here is First Amendment protected, nonviolent expression. And obviously, every state has laws in their federal laws against violence, which should be enforced against anyone of any ideological stripe who thinks that the Constitution or his or her own political mission gives them the right to commit violence against other people. Now. Since we're talking about defending First Amendment rights, I want to start first with you, Ms.. Rama Sastry, because we're talking about some different things. SLAPP suits are one, and if you could answer as cogently as possible, what are the most effective forms of SLAPP anti-SLAPP statutes adopted by the States and what are the least effective? And so what should we be looking at in Congress? [01:17:21][266.0]

Speaker 3: [01:17:23] I think the key issue here is really about a review that allows for courts to dismiss cases based on this idea. Can a company or whoever it is that's bringing this suit make a prima facie case that there really is some underlying substantive harm? This is what's key. And so, again, if the case if the underlying action that's been complained about by the environmental group or whoever is a matter of public concern, and you can define that. And I think in certain ways relating to public protest or engaging the government, that's one key thing. So scope and then the issue of how a court can can sort of quickly determine what we really need to do is say whoever is bringing the act, the SLAPP suit has to be able to demonstrate that the case really factually has merit. I mean, that's that's the crux of it. That's in. [01:18:19][56.6]

Speaker 1: [01:18:19] Other words, you force them to essentially prove or at least prefigured the case right up front rather than. [01:18:25][6.1]

Speaker 3: [01:18:26] Allowing. Yes, that's right. That they have to do that right away. And that allows for that balance. [01:18:30][4.7]

Speaker 1: [01:18:31] Thank you very much, Mrs. Whitehouse. Let me come to you. Thank you for your very vivid description of the critical infrastructure legislation and what that means. How is critical infrastructure defined in these laws? Do they define, for example, a state capital or a school board or the U.S. Congress or voting as critical infrastructure? [01:18:52][21.0]

Speaker 5: [01:18:55] I understand critical infrastructure includes things like railroad lines, not waterways, not our water systems. I think it's like electrical lines, those kind of things. [01:19:14][19.0]

Speaker 1: [01:19:15] Gotcha. Thank you for that. And finally, I wanted to come to both Mr.. Mr.. Baxter, if I've got time. And also to Ms.. Padmanabhan. Both of you, I think, mentioned the abuse of the RICO statute and and perhaps Mrs. Paige about about abuse of the RICO statute to go after people who are just engaged in civil civic organizing. I know a lot of small businesses, even some big businesses have also complained about the way that RICO is being used as a way to go after them. Do you all think as briefly as possible that that RICO reform is also indicated as a way to protect free expression and perhaps we can start with human spam? Another. [01:20:03][47.9]

Speaker 2: [01:20:06] Thank you, Chairman Raskin, for your question. Absolutely. I think that there needs to be some sort of. Overhaul of how RICO can be used. I will say that in the case of Greenpeace, while we thought a lot of groups came together because they felt that Rico was going to be used as the new tool against organizing, and we fought these suits head on. We were able to get Rico thrown out of both of our federal cases, and we haven't seen any new federal RICO cases filed because we actually have good law that doesn't say that this tactic won't reappear. But I think that both in the courts and in the legislature, in the legislator, RICO does need to be addressed. [01:20:45][38.6]

Speaker 1: [01:20:45] Okay. Mr. Backes, what did you think about it briefly? [01:20:47][1.7]

Speaker 4: [01:20:48] I don't want to claim to be a RICO expert, but to the extent that the Department of Justice is using RICO to try to censor speech, protected speech, then yes, there need to be reforms of speech, not necessarily actions. [01:21:02][13.6]

Speaker 1: [01:21:02] Thank you. And Ms.. Page. [01:21:03][0.7]

Speaker 5: [01:21:04] I'm not well placed to discuss federal RICO. We've been focused on the state law use of state RICO charges and conspiracy charges against protest related activities. [01:21:12][8.1]

Speaker 1: [01:21:12] Okay. My time is overdue. Thank you very much, Mr. Biggs. You recognize for your 5 minutes. [01:21:16][4.1]

Speaker 6: [01:21:17] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Bakst. You wrote. When it comes to energy and environmental issues, the chilling speech is too often the reality. Expand on that, please. [01:21:28][10.8]

Speaker 4: [01:21:32] I mean, even in civil discourse, people are. Called climate deniers with a clear kind of connection to the Holocaust. I think that's an appropriate it's inappropriate to call for people to be put into jail because they hold views that are different than your own. That seems to, quite honestly, to cross the line. That's inappropriate for the federal government to try to go after companies for their views or individuals for their views. It's just gotten way out of hand. And it's hard to have any type of really any discourse on issues when you're scared to death. And quite honestly, the other thing I include in the testimony is that there are scientists and people want to do research on some of these important issues. They just won't do it because they don't want to make a career suicide. And to me, that hurts everybody, not just those people in those careers and academics, but policymakers who are trying to have good information and make informed decisions. [01:22:33][61.1]

Speaker 6: [01:22:34] You said federal legislators have urged the Department of Justice to prosecute climate skeptics, including under RICO, and that certain states are getting created to try and prosecute conventional fuel companies. Please expand on that. And if you can identify any of these federal legislators who have urged climate skeptics to be prosecuted under RICO. [01:22:59][25.0]

Speaker 4: [01:23:00] Yeah, I cited that in the testimony, I believe it was Senator Whitehouse was involved in that. And there might be some other representatives in the House as well. On the lawsuits that have been actually been talked about in the SLAPP context are the the lawsuits that I'm some of the lawsuits I'm talking about as it relates to the states. So like Massachusetts going after fossil fuel companies or New York or whatever, the states or municipalities for that matter. So it's kind of ironic that the things I'm complaining about are actually examples of the strategic losses against public participation that they're using. To me, when the government is going after you and you're a private citizen using the existing law that's on the books to protect your right for speech. It just doesn't seem like that's an abuse on the part of these companies. [01:23:50][50.7]

Speaker 6: [01:23:51] So one of the founders of Greenpeace, Dr. Patrick Moore, in an article where he describes why he left, Greenpeace noted that his former colleagues ignored science and supported specifically speaking of a chlorine ban. Forcing his departure because despite science concluding that there were no known health risks and ample benefits from chlorinated drinking water, Greenpeace and other environmental groups have continued to oppose the use of chlorine for more than 20 years. So when we see the chill that comes, the almost anti-scientific and censorship that you're referring to, what does that do for the overall health of human beings and the advancement of science to protect the environment and our communities? [01:24:47][55.7]

Speaker 4: [01:24:49] Well hurts it. And what what really is concerning is that the administrative state and regulators who are actually making policies that impact all Americans are not actually using or using junk science. And there's no transparency as it relates to the science is being used. So the American people and other and outside experts are not able to evaluate the studies that are being used by federal officials to make decisions. And instead, what happens is their efforts to basically reach a policy outcome and the cherry picked studies ultimately to kind of get to the policy outcome. That doesn't do anybody a good service regardless of what view you have on the issue. [01:25:31][41.8]

Speaker 6: [01:25:32] So, you know, I can't help as I read this and I read your remarks and some of the other remarks. And having watched this for some time, I can't help but think of Thomas KUHN and his discussion of paradigm shifts. With science. The the new theory that which will become orthodox is always at some points heterodox to to the rest of the scientific system. And when you basically attack any scientist who may be looking at something or questioning, that's that's really what science is all about, whether it's social science or any of the hard sciences. And the reality is, how does this censorship, this attack on those who may be heterodox today, which actually may become orthodox tomorrow, how does it prevent advancement in science? [01:26:31][58.8]

Speaker 4: [01:26:32] Well, the scientists are never going to challenge the alleged conventional wisdom. They're scared to death from doing so. The academic researchers are has all kinds of problems with peer review processes. Academics not being able to replicate studies. People not wanting to kind of research to do certain research that will in any way jeopardize their career. So you kind of wind up the government relies on junk science and then it just kind of continues becomes the conventional wisdom over and over. And there's never going to be a challenge of it and policy that is informed by that science ultimately continues. And what we need to have is kind of an ongoing, regular system in place so that we can challenge the major studies in science that's informing the policy decisions made by agencies. So we're always able to challenge that conventional wisdom. [01:27:24][51.7]

Speaker 6: [01:27:25] Mr.. I just have one last quick question. I apologize, but but it gets to actually even the notion of where federal grants go to study, what items are going to be studied. Because now I'll just summarize and you can agree or disagree because it seems to me that we churn we keep sending new grant, which keeps in new grant money to basically reinvent the wheel or not reinvent the wheel, to actually buttress whatever the foundational science that that's there instead of actually advancing the science and moving forward. Because if you'd never move to a heterodox position and allow heterodoxy to actually go forward and actually challenge the orthodoxy. No matter how outlandish it may seem, you will never, never change another adventurer. Just comment on it. [01:28:11][46.2]

Speaker 4: [01:28:12] Yeah, I agree with that point and I think one of the things that needs to be evaluated is just take a look at probably how little science or any research dollars are going to challenge this kind of conventional wisdom. Very little, if any. [01:28:24][11.5]

Speaker 1: [01:28:24] Thank you very much. The gentleman's time has expired. Thank you. And, Ms.. Wasserman-Schultz, you recognize for your 5 minutes of questioning. [01:28:30][5.7]

Speaker 3: [01:28:32] Thank you so much, Mr. Chairman, and I. [01:28:33][1.3]

Speaker 4: [01:28:33] Appreciate the opportunity to. [01:28:34][1.2]

Speaker 3: [01:28:35] To have this important discussion, because the fossil fuel industry has a long history of spreading disinformation both about climate change and the industry's overwhelming culpability related to climate change. In 2019, this subcommittee held a hearing which addressed the oil industry's climate change denial campaign that dates back to the 1970s. While fossil fuel companies have now largely acknowledged the existence of climate change, their disinformation tactics have evolved to include greenwashing and new ways of silencing dissenters. Mr. Padmanabhan, can you tell us briefly about some of the greenwashing tactics. [01:29:10][35.4]

Speaker 4: [01:29:11] That the fossil fuel industry. [01:29:12][1.1]

Speaker 3: [01:29:12] Uses? [01:29:12][0.0]

Speaker 2: [01:29:16] Sure. So the fossil fuel industry, as we've discussed, has been attempting to control the narrative not only through the silencing of dissent, but also trying to flip the switch on whose speech is being attacked. And so when it comes to misleading consumers about the impacts of climate change in everything that is coming out now, about how long fossil fuel companies have been aware of their business practices on climate change, there is all of a sudden this attempt to flip the switch and try to regain control of the narrative to, for example, in Massachusetts, filed this anti-SLAPP motion saying We're the victims here. All of this, our free speech is under attack. We see this in in different lawsuits that are being brought about greenwashing, about the misleading of consumers to ultimately capitalize on profit. And so what's very different about the fossil fuel industry and movements in terms of the discussion on free speech? Is that at issue for the fossil fuel companies? Is there's an actual profit, there's an actual commercial interest. The attacks on movements are about building a movement, educating the public organizing. And so these are very, very different issues that I think the fossil fuel company is trying to combine. [01:30:31][74.9]

Speaker 4: [01:30:32] Thank you. [01:30:33][0.4]

Speaker 3: [01:30:34] Really slaps and anti-protest laws are new forms, as you are mentioning of. [01:30:38][4.2]

Speaker 4: [01:30:38] This, and misinformation that is spun by the fossil fuel industry. [01:30:41][3.4]

Speaker 3: [01:30:42] By preventing opposing views from being heard. [01:30:44][1.9]

Speaker 4: [01:30:45] The fossil fuel. [01:30:45][0.4]

Speaker 3: [01:30:45] Industry is making sure that their narrative dominates above all others. Again, we stop it now. But how does slaps affect. [01:30:52][6.5]

Speaker 4: [01:30:52] Environmental activists. [01:30:53][0.6]

Speaker 3: [01:30:54] Willingness to speak out against the fossil fuel industry? [01:30:56][2.3]

Speaker 2: [01:30:57] Oh, they have a tremendous impact. I mean, you know, any of us can imagine one day waking up and having a $300 million lawsuit served on us. I mean, what would that do? And the thing that is so problematic about slaps, it's the mere filing of the suit that creates the chilling effect. And I think that that's what we really need to keep in mind, because in our case, for example, our first SLAPP was filed in in 2016. We're still fighting this. I mean, these the courts, even though ultimately, whether truth is proven to get to the point of actually proving the truth, that your free speech is being attacked, if there is no anti-SLAPP statute, you have to undergo years and potentially millions of dollars of litigation. So to an individual and and I think an important point is that most slaps are not filed against big organizations. They're filed against individuals who are trying to protect their water, protect their land from developers. That is the history of the SLAPP suit. And so those stories don't get the attention because the mere filing of the suit, when they think about having to put food on the table, it silences them. They need to think about the ability to survive. [01:32:03][65.3]

Speaker 4: [01:32:04] Thank you. [01:32:04][0.3]

Speaker 3: [01:32:05] Another predatory. [01:32:06][0.5]

Speaker 4: [01:32:06] Tactic is to deploy so-called critical. [01:32:08][1.6]

Speaker 3: [01:32:08] Infrastructure laws to ratchet up criminal penalties and fines against protesters. So these are post-9-11 statutes that purport to protect all of our vital resources, like food. [01:32:18][9.6]

Speaker 4: [01:32:18] And water. [01:32:18][0.1]

Speaker 3: [01:32:19] And communications. But these are often vaguely drafted laws, basically that shield fossil fuel companies from environmental protests. For example, in Texas, prosecutors tried to charge green Greenpeace protesters with felonies for disrupting a bridge over an oil shipping channel. But without this. [01:32:35][16.5]

Speaker 4: [01:32:35] Critical infrastructure law, these would. [01:32:37][1.3]

Speaker 3: [01:32:37] Just have been misdemeanors. So, Ms.. Page, I'm going to ask both these questions. Mr. Chairman, if I could have the indulgence of them both answering this page, how do anti-protest laws disguised as critical infrastructure laws affect the same willingness to speak out and miss? White House is white hat. How have these laws in Louisiana changed your approach to activism? [01:32:56][19.4]

Speaker 5: [01:32:58] Thank you, Representative. Absolutely. These laws have had a dramatic can have a dramatic, chilling effect on people's willingness to speak out, their combination of extreme penalties. As you said, felony penalties in many cases often was many years of prison as a potential punishment. And then these vaguely drafted criminal offenses that can cover constitutionally protected speech. I mean, I think about the woman and I believe she was a member of the White Earth Nation who was demonstrating against construction of a new pipeline. She was near the construction site, but not purposefully on pipeline property. And then she saw a rare plant that she just read about and walked over to get a closer look. And it turns out just those few steps took her over the property line, and now she faces thousands of dollars in fines and potential jail time. So you think about what it what it says to the average citizen who sees these laws, these draconian penalties, how sweeping the laws are. And imagine the impact that has when you're thinking about whether or not to exercise your First Amendment rights, knowing that you can be caught up in those kinds of penalties, even if you're trying to stay within the bounds of the law. [01:34:08][69.8]

Speaker 3: [01:34:10] Thank you, sweetheart. Mr. Chairman, if you wouldn't mind, please. [01:34:13][3.4]

Speaker 4: [01:34:13] Sign this white hat. Thank you. [01:34:15][1.3]

Speaker 5: [01:34:15] Thank you. In terms of how it affected my activism, it was very stressful to have those charges hanging over my head for three years and and constant, like, every day, wondering if they're going to come knocking on the door to take me to jail and having to make plans for my children, etc.. But in terms of just being out there and going out, it really is a chilling effect on us as frontline organizers, not just for us to be able to have to go and do the work that we do. It also impacts other First Amendment rights like freedom of religion. One of our one of the one of the gentlemen involved in our lawsuit was denied the right to travel to go to practice his religious activities. So it's not just that it calls our activism, but it also hurts other parts of our First Amendment rights as well. [01:35:17][61.3]

Speaker 1: [01:35:18] Thank you so. [01:35:19][0.4]

Speaker 4: [01:35:19] Much for your. [01:35:20][0.9]

Speaker 1: [01:35:20] Indulgence. And thank you, Ms.. Wasserman Schultz, for your questioning. I now get to recognize the ranking member, Ms.. Mays, for her questioning. [01:35:26][6.2]

Speaker 2: [01:35:27] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And I think our witnesses again today for being here and for your time and effort to talk about censorship and the First Amendment. I love the Constitution just as much as our chairman. And one of the questions I had of all the panelists this morning, the first and second question, yes or no. As you can see behind me, there's a group of demonstrators gathered together in support of climate initiatives during the People's Climate March rally in D.C., starting with the professor who's here this morning. Is this considered protected free speech, yes or no? [01:35:58][30.7]

Speaker 3: [01:36:00] Oh. First of all, I can't really see the first. [01:36:02][1.9]

Speaker 2: [01:36:02] Peaceful protesters out there. I'm like, yeah. Here in. [01:36:05][3.3]

Speaker 3: [01:36:05] D.C.. So, again, lots of caveats and assumptions. I would say, again, if people are demonstrating in a way that is peaceful, peaceful assembly and. [01:36:14][8.2]

Speaker 2: [01:36:14] Is Padmanabhan yes or no, is this is this protected free speech behind me? And Mr. Basques. [01:36:20][5.7]

Speaker 4: [01:36:21] Yes. Looks peaceful. [01:36:21][0.6]

Speaker 2: [01:36:22] This page? [01:36:22][0.2]

Speaker 5: [01:36:23] Yes. It appears to be. [01:36:24][0.9]

Speaker 2: [01:36:25] His white hat. [01:36:25][0.3]

Speaker 5: [01:36:26] It appears peaceful. [01:36:26][0.6]

Speaker 2: [01:36:27] And then the second one, the example I wanted to share, is an image from the Dakota Access Pipeline construction site of a person who's pouring gasoline on a pile of tires to block a roadway and prevent law enforcement from protecting pipeline employees from doing their job on privately owned property. I'd like to start with the professor. Yes or no. Is this an image of protected free speech? [01:36:51][23.9]

Speaker 3: [01:36:53] Again, caveats. I'm not seeing the full picture. So I would say based on your description, likely not. [01:37:00][7.1]

Speaker 2: [01:37:01] And Miss Padding number. I'm not here to comment on the actions of individuals you don't know. Okay. Mr. Basques. [01:37:07][5.9]

Speaker 4: [01:37:07] No, that's not protected speech. [01:37:08][1.0]

Speaker 2: [01:37:09] And Ms.. Page. [01:37:09][0.5]

Speaker 5: [01:37:10] I don't know. Without more information. I would say that if it is violent, unlawful conduct that is not protected by the First Amendment is white. I decline to answer on the basis of the First Amendment right of association for myself and others. Thank you. [01:37:25][15.0]

Speaker 2: [01:37:26] So this picture of the Dakota Access protesters, they set fires, they lobbed Molotov cocktails. They fired shots to face off with police and they were trespassing in this particular example. And, Mr. Chairman, I would like to ask unanimous consent to enter into the record this article by The Washington Times about this particular what some would call protest, but clearly a violation of constitutional. [01:37:46][20.9]

Speaker 1: [01:37:47] Rights without any objection. [01:37:48][0.9]

Speaker 2: [01:37:49] And then my question and my third question for the panelists, everybody, I'll start with the professor again today here this morning. Is it just the right trying to silence the speech of the left or does the left also try to silence the speech of the right? Is it just one sided or is this something is this an issue that can be seen as two sided? Both sides to represent me. [01:38:13][23.7]

Speaker 3: [01:38:13] Yes, my remarks were about that. Right. I kept speaking about balance and the fact that the new anti-SLAPP laws we have at the state level, which I helped lead, were about balance and had tremendous bipartisan support. [01:38:24][10.7]

Speaker 2: [01:38:24] And do you see it on both sides? L am is Patty now, but where both sides are trying to silence or censor the speech of others on a theoretical or academic point of view, I do. But in reality, it's really the deep pockets who are doing the silencing. And those deep pockets tend to fall on the side of the fossil fuel industry and their allies. [01:38:42][17.4]

Speaker 4: [01:38:42] Mr. BASS Look, I think an environmental climate area, it does tend to be on the left silencing conservatives more, but there's no question that there might be abuse of existing state statutes. So I don't want to make it sound like it's one sided, but the examples I've heard today especially has released the actions being taken that they don't deserve to be protected. Speech are not examples of conservative silencing speech. [01:39:06][23.7]

Speaker 2: [01:39:06] Ms.. Page. [01:39:07][0.2]

Speaker 5: [01:39:09] So at least for the critical infrastructure and other anti-protest laws that I was invited to speak about, I can say that we've seen them introduced and approved with very few, if any exceptions by conservative lawmakers. [01:39:22][13.7]

Speaker 2: [01:39:24] In his white hat. [01:39:24][0.4]

Speaker 5: [01:39:26] Thank you. In our experience, the critical infrastructure law amendments that were passed in Louisiana were directly aimed at silencing our movement. [01:39:34][7.8]

Speaker 2: [01:39:35] Thank you. And then, Mr. Bass, I had a just if I have time, one more minute. A couple of questions. So how does the left silence opposing views on climate and energy policies that they disagree with? My first I think. [01:39:48][13.0]

Speaker 4: [01:39:48] Yeah, I think we've. Being able to capture a lot of that, just making it try to literally make it a crime. Throw people in jail, have the force, the government actually doing that. And that's pretty chilling on not allowing research to flow to different perspectives. Career scientists or academics being scared to death, to actually even engage in research or even in certain speech. And I think those are some. And also, certainly the Biden administration and these reports of trying to use social media companies or any third party to try to act as the agent of the government to censor speech. That, to me is a violation. The First Amendment is at least as has been reported. [01:40:33][45.5]

Speaker 2: [01:40:34] We agree. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I yield back. [01:40:36][1.8]

Speaker 1: [01:40:36] All right. Well, thank you very much, Ms.. Mace. I want to thank all of the witnesses for your excellent testimony today on this really important subject. I want to thank all the members for their participation. I also want to request the following documents be introduced into the record that were offered by Ms.. White Hat, the Third Circuit ruling and by you bridge pipeline versus 30 acres. Excerpts from Deputy Depositions. Transcript of Louisiana Senate hearings, ALEC Attacks Report, Louisiana Pipeline Map and six photos of arrests including violence into demonstrators sign all of these without objection will be entered into the record and let's see we will have members will have five legislative days within which to submit any additional written questions for our five distinguished witnesses today to the chair and I will afford them to the witnesses for their response. And please witnesses respond as quickly as you're able so we can complete the record to this hearing. Again, thank you for your excellent and instructive testimony that will help us develop some legislative ideas going forward. [01:40:36]


Speaker 1: [00:00:00] And science based system. I don't say this to undermine or belittle, but to demonstrate the vast amount of knowledge our education system holds when it comes to the management of lands which we should, which we would characterize of not as management of lands, but relationship with lands. Our ceremonies are directly tied to the lands and waters. And without this connection, to place this vast knowledge structure would be a great loss, not just for our tribe, but for all humans. As these teachings help human help humans rebalance in and in balance, how these teachings can help humans rebalance an imbalance Earth is currently experiencing and gives segway towards real climate solutions. The forests as forest dwelling indigenous people. We understand the vital importance of traditional knowledge of our people have practiced for thousands of years. We acknowledge that when our rivers and forests are sick, so are the people. I believe the current pandemic of COVID 19 is a perfect example, an example of just that our planet is sick and humanity is reflecting that. We are currently witnessing an extinction of numerous lives on earth from our winged four legged infant relations. Salmon are under great threat. Salmon is a staple part of our diet and plays a vital role in our ecosystems and ceremonies. Earlier this summer, a mudslide caused by ongoing drought and wildfires. This mudslide caused a huge amount of debris and dirt to flow into the Klamath River, which choked out the oxygen in the river, causing a mass salmon kill. The drought and high temperatures in California have caused for us to become extremely vulnerable to raging wildfires. Wildfire weather. You can read about in my written submission. Our forests are becoming so dry that our old growth trees can't even handle a significant amount of snowfall. This last winter, our old growth trees were snapping during snowfall, which puts our forest even at further risk of dangerous wildfires. These wildfires threaten wildlife, waterways, even human life. Our tribal community has spent numerous dollars on fighting these fires, on evacuations, humanitarian aid, safety zones, air quality locations, sending the elders to the coasts. This list can go on and on. This list also includes the spinning of governments as well as its citizens, the tribal governments as well as its citizens. The threat of our tribal nation being burnt out by a wildfire is extremely high. This loss, this break of reciprocal relationship with our Mother Earth is something our people have never faced, just to name a few things. Surviving settler invasions, surviving the 49 hour gold rush. Surviving forced assimilation including boarding schools. The poop of people are still here, still carrying on the traditional indigenous mycological knowledge of our ancestors through ceremony, through our ways of being, through our reciprocal relationship with our Mother Earth and relationship. To place this threat is a threat of genocide and climate change is the blame as well as the corporates of climate change. We know as man has caused climate change. Our people have never been at war with you, with this government. We are not an opposition of you. We are with you as we are. People have laid our lives down to defend and protect this country at greater percentage than any other. It is our duty to protect these lands and we side with you in this endeavor. But we must be clear in our task at hand. There is no time to waver. A great genocide is upon our tribe and your people and families are next. I'm not here to ask what the man that we do all we can to protect and defend our lands, our people, our ways of being for our very existence depends upon it. We must hold fossil fuel companies accountable for the atrocities they have caused. We must move forward by ending fossil fuel industry and keeping fossil fuel in the ground. We must reject the loopholes that pay off. Continue business as usual for the fossil fuel industry like carbon markets, carbon capture and storage and net zero pledges. These schemes will not work and will only continue to give fossil fuel corporations permission to harm and destroy our Mother Earth, all sensible beings and non-Indigenous human race. Thank you, Chairwoman Maloney. [00:03:53][233.1]

Speaker 2: [00:03:54] Thank you. Ms.. Olsen, you are now recognized for your testimony. [00:03:58][3.9]

Speaker 3: [00:04:00] Morning. [00:04:00][0.0]

Speaker 4: [00:04:02] Madam Chairwoman. Maloney and committee also. Thank you for being here, Mr. Higgins. We were here last week meeting with your office, so it is a pleasure to see you here this morning. I'm Rosetta Olsen. I am the founder, director and CEO of the Vessel Project of Louisiana, which is a mutual aid organization that I founded after Hurricane Laura. Hurricane Delta, once a storm Uri, the Great Flood in May of 2021 and the tornadoes that hit in 2021 in Lake Charles. In August of 2021. As a single mom of six working as a paraprofessional for the local school board, I was devastated to hear the local weather channel saying that we were going to have to evacuate for hurricane. We've heard evacuation, you know, before. So it wasn't anything new to us. But when we hear that we have to evacuate, a lot of times we don't take it serious because we've heard it so much. When our local weatherman said that he was going to evacuate. We know with the areas. We all packed up and we headed away from home. That night, we watched as our home was destroyed by Hurricane Laura. When we were finally given the okay to come back home. Me and my six children. As we drove west, heading back into Louisiana. As soon as we hit southwest Louisiana, we could see the devastation. Everything was destroyed. Everything had been touched by Hurricane Laura. As I made it into Lake Charles. The tallest building in Lake Charles, which used to be called the Capital One Tower. All the glass was gone. It was very visible. The destruction of Hurricane Laura. We continue to travel waste. And as we looked on both sides of the ITN bridge, it was more destruction. Once we got in to the peak of the breach. All we saw were the lights from industry. No other lights working in the city. The industry was up and running. When I got to my home in Westlake, a tree was on the roof, debris everywhere. And we had to quickly leave because it was getting dark. There were no lights. There was no gas for cars. No water. So we had to continue to travel ways to go to Texas because we couldn't stay at home. So we briefly saw our destroyed home. We finally were given the okay to go home and clean up and try to get back to normal. And a few weeks later, there was another evacuation order for Hurricane Delta. What was destroyed in Hurricane Laura was destroyed in Hurricane Delta. Again, we had to pick up and leave our home. Folks who had a small opportunity to stay in their homes for a few weeks in between, the hurricane could no longer come back to their homes after Delta because now their homes were gone. Me and my six children stayed in a hotel. From the time. Laura, he. Until November of 2021, and I decided that I could no longer commute back and forth. And so we came it came back we finally were approved to live in a FEMA trailer. Imagine living in a FEMA trailer with six children, a three bedroom FEMA trailer. So even if we don't agree. On the causes of the hurricane. Even if we don't agree on climate change, we have to agree that something caused so many detrimental storms in one area in such a small amount of time. And the only factor, the only thing that's changed is the amount of oil and gas industry that we have in southwest Louisiana. And right now, we have more than 24 proposed projects along the Gulf Coast. We can't take any more. We simply cannot take any more extractive industry. It strikes our fossil fuels. It strikes our homes. It strikes lives. Is a common factor. And what is going on in communities across the United States in the world is the fossil fuel industry. And that's why each of these front line folks are here today, because they have all been affected by climate change. And that one common thing is the fossil fuel industry in our communities. Thank you. [00:09:37][334.9]

Speaker 2: [00:09:38] Thank you. Thank you for your very moving testimony. And next, Ms.. Ms.. Cromer, you are now recognized for your testimony. [00:09:48][9.3]

Speaker 5: [00:09:51] Thank you, Chairpersons Aaron Maloney and Cunha, ranking members Comer and Harrell and all of the members for the opportunity to testify today about the impacts of the recent flooding in eastern Kentucky. My name is Mary Barson Cromer. I am deputy director of Appalachian Citizens Law Center, a small nonprofit law and policy organization in Whitesburg, Kentucky. I've led ACL's environmental justice program for 15 years. I've been invited to testify about the floods that devastated Kentucky at the end of July. For five days in late July, rain fell hard and fast. The heaviest rain occurred in the early morning hours of July 27th. But despite flash flood warnings, many people say that they that the first indication they had of any danger was that they woke up to the sound of rushing water. It's important to understand that in our part of Appalachia, there are no broad valleys. The land is a plateau that is deeply furrowed by creeks and rivers. The only flat land for development is along those creeks and rivers. Our communities, our towns are built in those flood plains. That is why this flood was so devastating and so deadly. 40 people have died so far. Two are still missing. Some areas like Troublesome Creek were particularly hit hard. Their miles of houses along the creek were simply washed away. Search and rescue efforts continued for more than a week. Half of the people who died in the Kentucky floods lived a long, troublesome creek. Whitesburg, where offices is a small river town that was badly impacted by the flood. According to recent FEMA data, 588 houses in our town of only about 2000 people have been inspected and determined to need habitability repairs. I've been in some of those houses. Habitability repairs require days of hard work mucking, tearing out walls drying and spraying for mold. We've had a lot of really good charitable disaster relief organizations helping with this work, but there is still so much need. There are many in our area, especially those who are elderly and disabled, who have not been able to do that work so far. And because it is a race against the clock to do the work before the mold is out of control. We know that many of our houses will have to be torn down. Nearly 44% of the households applying for FEMA aid in Whitesburg have incomes below $30,000. Nearly 72% of the applicants are homeowners. Less than 5% had flood insurance. From that data, we can discern that if you're poor in Whitesburg, you may have been lucky enough to be a homeowner, but your house was was much more likely to have been damaged or destroyed by this flood. And you are not likely to be insured against that catastrophe. For those who have who already have so little. Losing a house is not just about losing what little wealth one has accumulated. That loss will cause further instabilities that will ripple out through their lives, through future generations, and throughout our community. Even those in our communities who don't associate this flood with climate change know that floods like this will happen again. Everyone knows the dangers of living near our creeks and rivers. We just have to get these people out of the flood plains. That's the refrain we hear again and again. But no one seems to know how to do that. The resources needed to make that move, the money, the land, those are beyond the reach of the majority of the people who have been impacted. We know that this event was made much more likely because of climate change. All projections show a warmer and wetter climate in Kentucky, with more frequent and severe rain events and increased state stream flows, as Bill Hannah Berg, the state geologist of Kentucky, said on August 2nd. It may be impossible to say that last week's events occurred solely because of climate change, but they are consistent with our expectations. It's likely that in the coming weeks and months it will be possible to confidently say how much climate change increased their likelihood. We also know that a century of coal mining practices in our area makes the impacts of these rain events in some areas so much worse. Mountaintop removal impacts are particularly pronounced with this form of radical strip mining. After the mountaintop is removed and the overburden is placed in valley fields, the cheapest and fastest way to stabilize and reclaim the land is to compact the soil and plant grass where you once had diverse forested hillsides with the capacity to soak up rainfall. You now have heavily compacted land. It's like pouring water on a table top, and not all of our mountaintop removal sites have been reclaimed. As the coal market fluctuates, coal companies skirt regulatory reclamation requirements in breath accounting county. 59 residents have sued a coal company, alleging that the company's failures to follow regulations severely exacerbated the flooding there. They allege that the company failed to reclaim its mountaintop removal site as it was mining, leaving large areas of eroding, blasting and disturbed land that went into the creeks below. Our area of Central Appalachia has been at the frontlines of environmental devastation caused by coal mining for decades. We now find ourselves at the front line of flooding disasters caused by climate change. We have so much rebuilding to do. Somehow we must find a way to build back with resilience against future floods because we know flooding like this will happen again. Thank you for this opportunity. [00:15:50][359.5]

Speaker 2: [00:15:52] Thank you for for your heartfelt testimony. I now recognize Miss Sanchez, you're now recognized for your testimony. Mr. Sanchez. [00:16:00][8.5]

Speaker 6: [00:16:02] Distinguished members of Congress and staff, I would like to thank jurors, Representative Maloney and Representative Khanna for the invitation and acknowledge ranking members Representative Harrell and Representative Colmer. Thank you for the opportunity to speak my truth. My name is Jasmine Sanchez, and I'm a lifelong resident of Baruch Houses, the New York City housing authorities, largest public housing development in Manhattan with over 10,000 residents. I start by saying this because this was one of the developments that was affected by Superstorm Sandy. On October 29th, 2012, the day Sandy hit my community, I was sent home early from work. I worked as a baby sitter in Park Slope in Brooklyn. Unlike the families I worked for, I did not have the luxury of leaving my apartment to seek refuge in a safe place. There was nowhere else I can go but back to my apartment. At 8:26 p.m., I saw a green spark in the sky and everything went dark. It was then that I saw that East River rising and flooding my community. When we lost power, I had no idea it was because the Con Edison plant exploded. The Con Edison plant is a six minute walk from my development. This was the light that I saw at 8:26 p.m. within the next few minutes. I saw cars, jeeps and wagons floating down what would normally be busy streets. I also saw some cars remain in place but submerged. I waded through the freezing water to find that I was unable to open the lobby door because of the force of the water. When I was finally able to get into the building, the water was above my knees. Climate justice is a racial justice issue. Sandy showed the inequities in our city. If you didn't have a car, you couldn't leave. If you didn't have financial means, you couldn't relocate. If you weren't financially stable, you still had to work. And if you didn't have cash on hand, you couldn't buy the basic necessities. I, along with many of my neighbors, were in survival mode. My community and communities that look like mine feel the ramification of climate change more harshly. After Sandy, I felt compelled to learn about why this happened. This was when I started to learn about the fossil fuels. New York City operates on fossil fuels. Front line communities in New York City that have historically borne the brunt of pollution are usually black and brown and other low income communities. We see heat waves, poor air quality and extreme weather and climate events ravished poor communities without a second look. I live on the FDR Drive. I live by the Con Edison plant. I live by the Williamsburg Bridge. And I live by the holding station for busses. All of this within a four block radius. The fossil fuel sector is literally choking us to death with no regard to how they contribute to the exacerbation of other conditions in my community. There is a racist placement of power plants in New York City. I have lived by the Con Edison plant my entire life. My mother, father and sister have lived across from the Ravenswood power plant in a story for 25 years. The fact that these facilities are located in black and brown communities is not an accident. It is by design. It stems from decades of racist policies and severely affects the quality of life for individuals in these communities. New York City is facing warming temperatures and more intense and frequent heat waves as the climate changes. Higher temperatures lead to more deaths and illness. I am asthmatic and diabetic. Heat stress can exacerbate heart disease and diabetes and warming. Temperatures result in more pollen and smog, which can worsen asthma and COPD. I barely go outside in the summer months because of the heat, not only because of my asthma and diabetes, but because I get heat rashes that spread throughout my body and last for days. In my community, residents who don't have access to cooling centers and don't have the money to purchase an air conditioner for their apartment are particularly susceptible to the effects of increased heat. In addition, low income areas in cities have been found to be 5 to 12 degrees hotter than higher income neighborhoods because they have fewer trees and parks and more asphalt that retains heat. When Sandy hit my development. We saw 250 trees being removed from my complex. Seven years later, the FEMA funds came in and we are seeing all our lawns being converted to asphalt. As we approach the ten year anniversary of Sandy, I feel scared about where we are. I feel that the fossil fuel industry is willingly sacrificing my community and communities like mine for the sake of profit. While we associate fossil fuel costs with our utility bills, people that look like me pay for fossil fuels with our health, our safety, our democracy, and our children's right to a clean and healthy future. Syria Negligent This in all means to Inara el Huracan Maria La Camara combustible as possible as no solar linea and with US community, not as Somos Estados Unidos. So you know what? I'm being honest about it. It's easier as El Mundo American wizard Carlos Quinto Aniversario is the huracan line to them is east our north article bearable as he kept enjoying como nosotros como woman or squadron odyssey. The not complete con was that it wants to be that boulevard that we got on Westeros, M.A.S.H. Minus in continued aliment. Dando La Cruz Schematic. Adam Logan Unsere. And as companions, the combustibles for seals. And I'll translate that for those who did not understand. I will be remiss if I did not mention Hurricane Maria. Burning fossil fuels not only harms our communities stateside, but also our islands as well as the world. As we approached the five year anniversary of this devastating hurricane, the people on my island have yet to recover. So I think about how we as humans could decide not to fulfill our global responsibilities, to care for our brothers and sisters, and continue to fuel the climate crisis by giving profits to the fossil fuel companies. Thank you for the opportunity. [00:21:24][321.8]

Speaker 2: [00:21:26] I want to thank all of the all of the witnesses today for your very moving and personal stories. They all come from different areas of our country. They all have compelling stories of what they personally suffered. I do want to mention that Miss Sanchez lives on the island of Manhattan where where I live. She's not in my district. But she very accurately described the horror of seeing Lower Manhattan underwater. Underwater. And we're trying to figure out how we can help people when the next storm comes and the suffering that she had. They all talked about the wildfires, the heat waves, the floods and other extreme weather show that climate change is already having a terrible impact across the United States. I want to thank all of you for sharing your story. There will be no questions. You are now excused. And we have a second panel coming and we will have a brief recess while the second panel comes. Again, I can't thank you enough for sharing your story and being with us today, and we will work to help you. Thank you. Without objection, the chair is authorized to declare a recess of the committee at any time. I now recognize myself for an opening statement. Today we are holding our third hearing. In the committee's investigation into the fossil fuel industry's decades long climate, disinformation and greenwashing campaigns. At our first hearing last October, big oil executives admitted for the very first time to Congress that climate change is real and that burning fossil fuels is a primary cause, and that this is an existential threat to our planet. But these executives refused. To commit to real changes. To keep warming within acceptable levels. Instead, they repeated their company's misleading climate pledges and described their, quote, aspiration, unquote, to reduce emissions decades in the future. In February, we held a second hearing where we brought in climate experts and investors to evaluate these pledges. Their testimony was clear Not only are Big Oil's climate pledges misleading and insufficient to curb warming, but none of the companies is even on track to meet these pledges. Not a single one is going to meet. The pledges are on track to do so. Since that hearing and following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Without objection, the documents don't lie. While BP touted carbon capture as key to its transition to cleaner fuels, the company privately hope this approach would, quote, enable the full use of fossil fuels across the energy transition and beyond, end quote. We also found that Exxon spent nearly $70 million to advertise its research in algae based biofuels. But company documents reveal that technology is, quote, still decades away from the scale we need. We won't probably won't see it, end quote. We probably won't see it in our lifetime. And yet they were promoting it. And the documents show that both Exxon and Chevron fought hard to avoid making any real commitments to advocate for the policies they claimed to support. That's why I love documents. Documents don't lie. Put simply, these documents show that big oil is still not taking its responsibility to curb emissions seriously. And while the fossil fuel industry fiddles, our planet is burning. This summer. We have seen extreme weather that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago. Heat waves and drought are drying up entire rivers in the American West. Record floods are devastating communities in Kentucky, Missouri and Texas as climate change intensify intensifies. These disasters will become more frequent, more expensive and more deadly. Today we will hear from survivors of extreme weather from across the country. These men and women have suffered heartbreak and devastating loss. And they are joining us today to urge the fossil fuel industry to finally take real action to address its central role in the climate crisis. We will also hear today from experts who will speak to the harm that burning fossil fuels has inflicted on our economy and our communities, even as it fattens the pockets of big oil executives. Finally, we invited board members from Exxon, Chevron, Shell and BP to testify today. We wanted them to answer for the record profits their companies are raking in while fleecing consumers at the pump and refusing to take meaningful action on climate change. Unfortunately, none of these fossil fuel directors bothered to show up. These four companies have also taken other steps to obstruct this committee's investigation. After I issued subpoenas last November, the companies withheld documents at the heart of our investigation. Including from their boards of directors, while flooding the committee with thousands of press clippings and other materials. Today, I am renewing my call for these companies to comply with these subpoenas. I want to be clear that our investigation goes on and that we will not stop. Until the American people get the truth about the fossil fuel industry's role in our climate crisis. Before I close, I want to briefly address claims that we should not be pressing Big Oil to clean up its act because this will raise energy costs on consumers. The truth is that Americans are suffering from high energy costs in large part because of big oil. Which is making record profits the highest they've ever made while charging high prices at the pump. Fossil fuel companies could lower prices. They could lower them dramatically and still have billions left over to invest in transition to a cleaner and ultimately cheaper. Fuels. Unlike the oil companies, Democrats in Congress are taking action. President Biden's Inflation Reduction Act, which we passed last month, provides nearly $370 billion. To cut emissions, promote clean energy, advance environmental justice. And this law is estimated to cut in energy costs for the average American family by $500 a year. So Democrats are showing it can be done. We can bring down inflation, reduce energy costs for Americans and solve the climate crisis. Big oil needs to do its part. They must end their greenwashing and finally take climate change seriously before more Americans and communities are harmed. I now invite my distinguished colleague, Ranking Member Kummer, to give an opening statement and again publicly thank him for attending the ceremony for our late distinguished chair of this committee, Elijah Cummings. Your presence really meant a great deal, and many Democrats expressed to me how much they appreciate you're taking part in it, including the family. Well, thank you. [00:31:07][581.0]

Speaker 3: [00:31:08] Thank you, Madam Chair. I was honored to be a part of the ceremony, and I know Jason Chaffetz was as well. So we both enjoyed seeing everyone and we both shared a high level of respect for former Chairman Cummings. So, again, thank you for the invitation to be there. And I want to thank our witnesses for being here today and your willingness to testify before the committee repeatedly this Congress. Republicans on this committee have been forced to question the motivation and legitimacy of the Democrats investigation of oil and gas companies. This investigation is part of the Democrats War on America's energy producers, an industry that creates good paying jobs and provides access to reliable, affordable energy for Americans. Instead of conducting oversight of government waste, fraud and abuse, Democrats continue to encourage and enable the Biden administration's radical climate policies that have led to our nation's energy crisis. This hearing is apparently the grand finale after issuing unnecessary subpoenas, demanding information protected by the First Amendment, requesting that board members, spouses, phone numbers and names be unredacted in document production and continuing to claim companies are not cooperating, despite providing over a million pages of documents. Over a million pages. After issuing a press release on February 3rd demanding board members appear at a hearing on March eight, Democrats decided to cancel the meeting. According to media reports, a committee staffer said the hearing was postponed to focus on oversight of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and that it would be rescheduled as soon as possible. But it's been five months and we're still waiting for a full committee hearing on Russia invading Ukraine. Instead, we've had a full committee hearing on the work environment at the Washington commanders. And Democrats also found time to release a staff report after conducting a hard hitting investigation into pet, flea and tick colors. And we still haven't heard from a Biden administration cabinet official. Not a single Cabinet official from the Biden administration has been before this committee. It's clear the Democrats pause this partizan show hearing for five months because publicly attacking America's energy producers would have been embarrassing when the Biden administration's war on domestic energy production resulted in record high gas prices for Americans. During a hearing with oil and gas executives in October. Democrats on this committee advocated for the companies to decrease production. It's a good thing they didn't listen. The world is on notice of the importance of domestic energy production. Russia's leverage over Europe's energy supply makes the point yet again that energy security is critical to national security. Despite global upheaval, record high gas prices and skyrocketing inflation, Democrats continue pushing Green New Deal initiatives that make Americans dependent on hostile nations for all. President Biden went around the world begging and fist bumping directors for all instead of unleashing American energy production. Meanwhile, Democrats refused to hold a hearing about energy policy with any Biden administration official. Why haven't we had a hearing on gas going over $5 a gallon in every state for the first time in American history? Why? We had a hearing on depleting the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. We had a hearing on inflation. That's at a 40 year high. During the past 12 months alone, the price of gas is up over 25%. The cost of natural gas is up 33%, and the cost of electricity is up over 15%. Yet here we are again to talk about climate pledges made by private companies and profits made by private companies. Congress must instead conduct oversight of President Biden's disastrous policies that are causing Americans energy and grocery bills to skyrocket and jeopardize our national security. In March, President Biden made the decision to release 1 million barrels of oil per day over six months from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, a decision Republicans quickly pointed out is national security concern. SPR inventories have recently set at their lowest level since 1984, and the United States domestic energy production is threatened. President Biden single handedly shut down the critically important Keystone pipeline, placed a moratorium on oil and gas production on federal lands, and caused gas prices to reach historic highs. Under the Biden administration, the household price of electricity is increasing the expected increase again next year. So many households will struggle under these high energy prices, particularly this winter. In another example of a failing Biden administration policy, U.S. household goods could see a 30 to 40% hike in energy prices this year. On multiple occasions, we have written Chairwoman Maloney to request a hearing with the Department of Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm to discuss these issues. But these requests have been ignored. As I've stated in the past, no matter what these companies do, it will never be enough to please the Democrats. The sole focus of this investigation is to put these companies out of business. That would be disastrous for the American people. Just look at California. I look forward to speaking with the minority witness, Michael Shellenberger, about the consequences of the Biden administration's failed energy policies. And I look forward to setting the table for real oversight of our government. I want to thank the witnesses again for being here, and I yield back. [00:36:25][317.6]

Speaker 2: [00:36:27] The gentleman yields back. I now yield to Representative Khanna, the chair of the Environmental Subcommittee, for an opening statement. [00:36:33][5.9]

Speaker 3: [00:36:34] Thank you, Madam Chair. MALONEY And thank you for your leadership in these hearings. Congress is holding a series of hearings this week on Big Oil's role in denying climate change and and profiteering. It's important to hold this industry accountable. We had the CEOs here in our committee about a year ago, and they all said that they were committed to tackling climate change, that they were committed to meeting the Paris Accord. And yet this committee just today released explosive documents that have been detailed in The New York Times, where we have oil executives taking shots at the kids who are out there fighting for climate change. I mean, they're wishing that. Kids in the Sunrise Movement have bedbugs. I was appalled. I mean, who wishes that on people? The Wall Street banks never wished on the protesters, that they had bedbugs in their beds as they're just exercising their First Amendment right. And then to have emails making fun of climate change, I was offended as someone who is in California with 110, 120 degrees, and you have these oil executives saying, let's drink hot toddies, and why don't the American people toughen up and denying in 2022 climate? The problem is not the policies. The problem is the culture. I urge every American to read these documents. I've never seen companies attack kids. I've never seen it disagree with them. But wishing them bedbugs was just shocking. And then you have the greenwashing where these companies com. They put almost as much money into television saying that they're. Committed to climate as they do in the climate investments. We released documents saying that Exxon, which the green algae program, I said, great, they're doing green algae. Guess how much they're putting in at $300 million. Guess how much their investment is in coal and fuel and in oil and gas? About 200 billion. So they're putting less than point 1% in green algae, and yet they're putting almost 68 million in advertising that they're clean. Who do they think they're fooling? Who do they think they're fooling with this stuff? I mean, be honest. I mean, go up with an ad saying we're putting less than 0.1% into clean technology. Don't tell the American public that you're somehow are going to be a clean technology company and you're committed to the Paris Accord when you're putting in less than 0.1%, when you're spending a similar amount on just advertising, what money you should be spending in clean technology. And then the the lobbying, the dark money behind the scenes. I mean, they are lobbying these documents show they're lobbying the industries to say don't commit to the Paris Accords, don't commit to anything, don't put it in our business plans while they're parading up for the American public that they're committed to clean policy. Let me tell these companies something. The American people are not dumb. We're much smarter than they think they are. And they are walking a very fine line by continuing to mislead this public. And that's what this hearing is about. It's to hold them accountable and to get them to start telling the truth. Thank you, Madam Chair. [00:40:20][225.5]

Speaker 2: [00:40:22] I now yield to Representative Harrell, the ranking member of the Environment Subcommittee, for an opening statement. [00:40:27][5.5]

Speaker 6: [00:40:29] Thank you, Madam Chair, and thank you to the witnesses for being here today. And I'm the only Republican that represents the congressional district from New Mexico. And when I won, I pledged to fight for my constituents and protect the industries and jobs that are vital to their livelihoods. Over 100,000 people in my district and around the state are employed by the oil and gas industry, the largest single industry in our state. New Mexico is the third largest oil producer in the country and a world leader in natural gas production. I represent a district that is home to the prolific Permian Basin. And my constituents know firsthand the value of American produced oil, oil and gas. We live in a nation that produces oil and glass cleaner than any other country in the world, driven by innovation and new technologies. In my role as ranking member of the Subcommittee on Environment, I have called on the Chairman to issue subpoenas to the Biden administration officials to compel their testimony. The American people deserve to hear from senior level Biden administration witnesses on their solutions to the energy crisis we face today. Their refusal to come and testify indicates one thing. They don't have solutions. That's why I will spend the remainder of my time doing the Biden administration's work for them and offering real solutions to address the current energy crisis. First off, President Biden should reform the permitting process and remove obstacles from constructing modern energy infrastructure so that working families in New Mexico and around the nation don't have to live in fear of blackouts and brownouts. President Biden should reinstitute reinstitute important reforms to the. [00:42:14][105.0]

Speaker 2: [00:42:14] National. [00:42:14][0.0]

Speaker 6: [00:42:14] Environmental policy. So that Americans feel that Americans can actually build things again. I mean, we can't go on with these policies that are detrimental to the one industry that poses so much opportunity for the American people. We need to re clarify the definitions of waters of the United States. The rule that was working. But now it's not because of this administration. And we need to modernize the Endangered Species Act so the federal government stops threatening the livelihoods of my constituents in rural New Mexico. We need to increase oil and gas production on federal lands so that New Mexico schoolchildren have the funding they need for excellent educational opportunities for decades to come. Encourage new offshore and onshore drilling so that our nation can once again be energy secure. We need to reduce the regulatory uncertainty that prevents construction of new oil and gas infrastructure, including pipelines and LNG export terminals, and stop robbing the Strategic Petroleum Reserve of vital resources for pre-election gimmicks and putting our national security at risk and our own resilient and the our own resilience on Chinese rare Earth and critical mineral production by encouraging investment in a strong domestic alternative. By reversing the decision to stop Twin Metals and the resolution copper mine in the practice of suing, settle and hiding settlements from the American people. The time has come to provide American people with a comprehensive strategy to solve our energy and cost of living crisis. You see, in a couple of months, America will get to make a decision on what path we go down. Are we going to go down the path of American energy, innovation, independence and excellence? Or will we see a pathway of summer blackouts and winter price hikes? Democrats have doubled down on failed policies, while Republicans have brought real solutions to the table. It's time we start taking a look at these real solutions and put our energy sector first and foremost and regain our energy independence in this nation. And with that, Madame Chairman, I yield back. [00:44:28][133.8]

Speaker 2: [00:44:30] The gentlelady yields back. Madam Chair. Recognize, Mr. Cummings. Recognize. [00:44:33][3.4]

Speaker 3: [00:44:34] Madam Chair, I would like to ask for unanimous consent for representing Garret Graves of Louisiana. The waiver on the committee today. [00:44:39][5.5]

Speaker 2: [00:44:41] So ordered. And I also ask unanimous consent the representative cast and be allowed to participate in today's hearing and without objection is so ordered. I did want to respond to the chairman's statements on documents. We are still waiting for documents that we've requested, and it is true we've gotten millions of documents, but a lot of it is just press clippings are things that really are not relevant to what we're looking at and what we want to know. And we've had specific documents that we've subpoenaed, and we're going to continue working hard to get those documents. Now I will introduce our first panel, which will not be taking questions. First, we will hear from Kara Boyd of Bakersville, Virginia. Then we will hear from Thomas Joseph of Hoopa Valley Tribe in California. Then we will hear from Rashida Zane of Sulfur, Louisiana. Then we will hear from Mary Kramer, Energy, Justice, Law and Policy Center and a member of the New York State Climate Action Council. Then we will hear from Dr. Jay Minchin, Cha, Esquire, Associate Professor of Urban and Environmental Policy at Occidental College and a fellow at the Cornell University Worker Institute. Finally, we will hear from Michael Shellenberger, founder and president of Environmental Progress. The witnesses will be unmuted so we can swear them in. Please raise your right hand. Do you swear or affirm that the testimony you're about to give is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God? Let the record show that the witnesses answered in the affirmative. Thank you. And without objection, your written statements will be part of the record. And with that, Dr. Ferber, will you now recognize for your testimony and thank you all for being here today. [00:46:45][123.3]

Speaker 4: [00:46:47] Chairman Maloney, Chairman Ranking Member Kummer, Ranking Member Harrow, members of the committee and Subcommittee. Thank you for the invitation to testify. My name is Isabella Webber. I'm assistant professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. My research focuses on the economic management of rapid structural shift. I lead a research project on inflation funded by the Groundwork Collaborative and Emma Becker and fellow. We have witnessed a profit and price explosion in the fossil fuel industry. This has led to a redistribution of incomes from the bottom to the top of the wealth brackets. Energy price hikes present a major risk for economic stability and can undermine efforts to mitigate climate change. To set an end to the price and profit hikes, I recommend policies for direct price stabilization. These points are developed in my written statement. Oil corporations have reaped record profits by the war in Ukraine, created global turmoil on commodity markets. Our research shows that U.S. companies have made an estimated 84.5 billion in fossil fuel profits in the second quarter of 2022 alone. This is a net increase of 155%. The two largest oil firms, ExxonMobil and Chevron, have reported the highest profits in their long history. Profits are high not only because prices are up, but also because costs are down. Higher cost oil rates were shut down during the pandemic and have not been fully reopened without technical challenges. There are no strong incentives for oil corporations to fully reopen if they can generate unprecedented profits with lower output volumes. This is a low production, high profit model, according to a private equity expert. Asset management companies in Wall Street have gained by intimidating the profit flow. The most important estimate beneficiaries of the profit explosion are the richest households. 53.7% of the total domestic fossil fuel profits go to the top 1%. This reduces the inflation burden by about half. But most Americans cannot compensate rising prices for energy, with income from profit flows and squeezed fossil fuel profits. Impact consumer inflation both directly as well as indirectly as all goods that rely on fossil fuel inputs become more expensive. The same communities that are hit hardest by climate change suffer most under fossil fuel inflation. Household energy burdens are disproportionately higher for low income black, Hispanic, Native American and other adult households. Many Americans are at a tipping point into energy security, insecurity and poverty. The budgets of state and local governments to a burdened by rising energy prices. The decline in purchasing power helps explain why ten out of 12 recessions in postwar America we are preceded by large oil price increases. Large employers, like the retail giant Walmart, are faced with high fuel costs by their customers, have less money to absorb further price increases. This can threaten jobs. Firms whose customers are less squeezed continue to pass on costs or even increase prices beyond costs. This renders profits across the economy arbitrary. Oil price explosion. Explosions also make climate change mitigation more expensive as they drive up the costs for green infrastructure and renewable energy facilities. The value of fossil fuel assets that will need to be taken offline for green transition increases as profits are heightening financial risks. Fossil fuel dependance is a systemic inflation risk. The foremost task is to increase the supply in renewable energies as quickly as possible. In the interim, the toolbox of price civilization has to expand beyond interest rate hikes as the Emergency Price Civilization Act emphasizes. Taxing windfall profits can play a positive role in correcting the redistribution. Energy insecure households can be supported with a price cap on basic energy needs a policy I have designed for Germany that could be adapted to the US. This testimony has illustrated the wide ranging implications of the present fossil fuel price and profit shock. Policies are needed that prevent such shocks from shaking the foundations of the economy. Thank you. [00:51:30][282.5]

Speaker 2: [00:51:31] You. Thank you for your testimony. And, Mrs. Salter, you are now recognized for your testimony. [00:51:36][5.5]

Speaker 5: [00:51:40] Thank you so much. Dear distinguished members. My name is Rya Salter. I'm an energy attorney and the founder and executive director of the Energy, Justice, Law and Policy Center, based in New Rochelle, New York, with offices in Birmingham, Alabama. The Energy, Justice, Law and Policy Center is an energy justice think tank and the nation's first grassroots public interest law firm dedicated to energy justice. I'm also a member of the New York State Climate Action Council, the body tasked with developing the scoping plan for New York to achieve its statewide greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals. I'm an adjunct professor of law at Cardozo Law School, and my book, Energy Justice, was published in 2018. This may well be the most important inquiry of our lifetimes. Last year's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Reports was a code red for humanity. Human induced climate change is widespread, rapid and intensifying, and some trends are now irreversible. Greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels are choking our planet. The scientists of the world have told us we have ten years to act. Yet progress is stalled at all levels. How can this be? I will tell you why. The climate crisis is an unprecedented global crime, and the smoking gun lies in the hands of big oil and gas. They have known with precision for over 40 years that they were doing no less than creating a mass extinction event as over 20 pending lawsuits by U.S. states and cities. Now a test. The response from the oil and gas industry was to hide the truth in a coordinated and well-financed big tobacco style misinformation campaign. All the while, the emissions during the last decade have been higher than at any time in human history. The only way to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement and limit global warming to 1.5 degrees C is to rein in big oil and gas. On this, we are falling short. According to the United Nations, the combined 2020 nationally determined contributions or the country's plans for climate action are not sufficient to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. Last year at COP26 in Glasgow, the oil and gas industry had the largest delegation to cop than any single country. Put plainly, the world has failed to act on climate because it has failed to take on the fossil fuel industry and lobby. Big Oil uses its vast marketing muscle to increase production while promising emissions reductions. In truth, their promises are nowhere near close to meeting Paris targets. Take, for example, the 2022 ExxonMobil announcement of its ambition to reach net zero by 2050. The commitment covers operational emissions known as Scope one and two. They leave out Scope three the massive amount of emissions that actually result from the fossil fuels they sell. This ambition is false on its face. While big oil reaps profit and avoids accountability, it spreads environmental injustice in the United States and throughout the world. The extraction, processing, transportation, refining and combustion of fossil fuels places disproportionate environmental burdens on black, brown, indigenous and poor communities, as you heard this morning. Those impacts include exposure to significant health hazards, eviction from and desecration of ancestral lands, including my own including my own family. In Alabama, fires, explosions, industrial accidents and loss of substance fishing and human rights. This is systemic fossil fuel racism. Its causes include segregation in equal housing and redlining. Climate, environmental and energy. Justice are interlinked. And inequality and injustice lies at the heart of the climate crisis. There is only one way out. We must phase out fossil fuels. This is the most decisive decade in human history. Absolutely. Everything depends on curtailing greenhouse gas emissions from big oil. Thank you. [00:56:15][274.9]

Speaker 2: [00:56:17] Thank you for your very clear and passionate testimony. Dr. Cha, you are now recognized. [00:56:23][5.8]

Speaker 6: [00:56:25] Thank you. Chairman Maloney, Chairman Khanna, ranking members, members of the House Committee on Oversight and members of the Subcommittee on Environment. Thank you for inviting me to testify here today. My name is Megan Shaw. I'm an associate professor of urban environmental policy at Central College and a fellow at the Worker Institute at Cornell University. My research focuses on the intersection of climate change and inequality, and my most recent research is on how to advance a just energy transition. I join you today from Sacramento, California, where we have just endured over a week of unrelenting heat that shattered daily heat records and the record for most days over 100 degrees in a year. The heat was not limited to the daytime. We also shattered record nighttime temperatures. Higher nighttime temperatures are another consequence of the climate crisis and do not allow any reprieve from the unrelenting heat. At the same time, we are on the border of the mosquito fire, one of several massive wildfires that are currently burning. There is no doubt that the climate crisis exacerbated both the heat wave and the intensity of the wildfire. Climate change is no longer a concern for the future. We are in a climate crisis now. Yet, despite the urgency of the moment, action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions has been limited at the federal level until the recently signed Inflation Reduction Act. No doubt the IRA is the most significant investment in climate action to date. But we must see the IRA as only a down payment on what is needed, not the end all be all of meaningful climate action. But we also cannot overlook the role that big oil and other fossil fuel companies have played in obstructing climate action through their lobbying and extensive misinformation campaigns. Recently, their new form of climate denialism is to shift the responsibility for emissions reductions onto the consumer to deflect away from their own culpability, while also spending millions on public relations campaigns to tout their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while doing little to nothing to meet these pledges this year, a comprehensive, peer reviewed study of 12 years of data on the four largest oil companies British Petroleum, Chevron, ExxonMobil and Shell found that while there was a noticeable increase in discourse related to climate change and clean energy, there was little to no effort to actually shift away from producing oil and gas. The authors state. We conclude that accusations of greenwashing by oil majors are well-founded. Other research analyzing the Paris Agreement targets found that not one major oil company was reducing emissions in line for what is called for in the agreement. The major oil companies are not even meeting their own stated emissions reductions goals. Researchers specifically noted that ExxonMobil and Chevron were grossly insufficient in reducing emissions. But greenwashing is not the only deception that fossil fuel companies engage in. Fossil fuel companies are also equity washing by messaging concern for communities of color and workers, while engaging activities that actively harm these same interests. The Chevron refinery in Richmond, California, illustrates just how fossil fuel activity harms these communities. The refinery is located in a majority people of color community with a poverty rate higher than the national average. The refinery releases substantial amounts of greenhouse gases and air pollution in the normal course of business. It also regularly has flaring events where additional toxic gases are burned and then released into the air. While the negative health impacts of the refinery are well-established, the economic benefits are limited. Workers at the refinery also face difficult conditions. Earlier this year, the refinery workers went on strike for two months over unfair labor practices. In the two months of the strike. Chevron experienced nine flare events, an average of more than one a week. A just transition is possible, but not by relying on big oil to lead the way. We must enact transition policies now so that when fossil fuel production meaningfully declines, plans are already in place to support workers and communities. In recent peer reviewed research, colleagues and I analyzed transition cases across the country and across the world to see what a just transition requires. We determined that four pillars are crucial strong governmental support, dedicated funding streams, economic diversification, and strong and diverse coalitions. A more complete discussion of these pillars is presented in my written testimony. I conclude by noting that, as you've heard today, the fossil oil and gas industry is extremely profitable, yet continues to receive billions in government aid and support while posting record profits. A portion of these profits should go towards advancing a just energy transition for workers and communities. Moreover, in line with the polluter pays principle, the oil and gas industry should be required to finance efforts to address the climate crisis. It is primarily responsible for creating. Real time is running out. We can still act to curb emissions and protect our planet. We must show the fossil fuel industry that people matter over profits and enact a truly just transition. Thank you and I look forward to your questions. [01:01:17][291.6]

Speaker 2: [01:01:18] Thank you for your your research and very factual presentation. We really appreciate it. And, Mr. Shellenberger, you are now recognized for your for your testimony. Can. Can you turn on your mike? I can't hear you. [01:01:35][17.2]

Speaker 1: [01:01:36] Good morning, Chairwoman Maloney, Environment Subcommittee Chairman Khanna and Ranking Member Comber and members of the committee. I am grateful to you for inviting my testimony. I share this committee's concern with climate change and misinformation. It is for that reason that I have, for more than 20 years conducted energy analysis, worked as a journalist, and advocated for renewables, coal to natural gas switching, and nuclear power to reduce carbon emissions. At the same time, I am deeply troubled by the way the concern over climate change is being used to repress domestic energy production. The US is failing to produce sufficient quantities of natural gas and oil for ourselves and our allies. The result is the worst energy crisis in 50 years, continuing inflation and harm to workers and consumers in the US and the Western world. Energy shortages are already resulting in rising social disorder and the toppling of governments and they are about to get much worse. We should do more to address climate change, but in a framework that prioritizes energy, abundance, reliability and security. Climate change is real, and we should seek to reduce carbon emissions. But it is also the case that US carbon emissions declined 22% between 25 and 2020, exceeding our Paris climate agreements, by the way, by nearly 5%. Global emissions were flat over the last decade, and weather related disasters have declined since the beginning of the century. There is no scientific scenario for mass death from climate change. A far more immediate and dangerous threat is insufficient energy supplies to the US government policies and actions aimed at reducing oil and gas production. The Biden administration claims to be doing all it can to increase oil and gas production. But it is not. It has issued fewer leases for oil and gas production on federal lands than any other administration since World War Two. It blocked the expansion of oil refining. It is using environmental regulations to reduce liquefied natural gas or LNG production and exports. It has encouraged greater production by Venezuela, Saudi Arabia and other OPEC nations rather than by the United States. And its representatives continue to emphasize that their goal is to end the use of fossil fuels, including the cleanest one natural gas, thereby undermining private sector investment. If this committee is truly concerned about corporate profits and misinformation, then it must approach this issue fairly. The big tech companies make much larger profits than big oil, but have for some reason not been called to account for this. Nor has there been any acknowledgment that the U.S. oil and gas industry effectively subsidized American consumers to the tune of $100 billion per year for most of the last 12 years, resulting in many bankruptcies and financial losses. As for misinformation about climate change and energy, it is rife on all sides, and I question whether the demands for censorship by big tech firms are being made in good faith or are consistent with the rights protected by the First Amendment. Efforts by the Biden administration and Congress to increase reliance on weather dependent renewable energies and electric vehicles, risk undermining American industries and helping China our greatest geopolitical rival. China has more global market share of the production of renewables, EVs and their material components than opaque has over global oil production. It would be a grave error for the US to sacrifice its hard won energy security for for dependance on China for energy. While I support the repatriation of those industries to the US. Doing so will take decades, not years. Increased costs tied to higher labor, higher U.S. labor and environmental standards could further impede their development. There are also significant underlying physical problems with renewables stemming from their energy, dilute material intensive nature that may not be surmountable. Already we have seen that weather dependance large land use requirements and large material throughput result in making in renewables, making electricity significantly more expensive everywhere they are deployed at scale. The right path forward would increase oil and natural gas production in the short and medium terms in the United States and increase nuclear energy production in the medium to long terms. The US government is by extending and expanding heavy subsidies for renewables through the Inflation Reduction Act, expanding control significantly over domestic energy markets. Without a clear vision for the role of oil, gas and nuclear. We we should see a significant expansion of natural gas and oil production pipelines and refineries to provide greater energy security for ourselves and to produce in sufficient quantities for our increasingly desperate allies in Europe in particular. We should seek a significant expansion of nuclear power to increase energy, abundance and security, produce hydrogen and one day phase out all the use of fossil fuels. While the latter shouldn't be our main focus, particularly now. Radical decarbonization can and should be a medium to long term objective within the context of creating abundant, secure and low cost energy supplies to power our remarkable nation and civilization. Thank you very much. [01:06:39][302.6]

Speaker 2: [01:06:41] Thank you so much for your testimony. I want to thank all the panelists for for your commitment and your hard work and for being with us today on this extremely important issue. I now recognize myself for questions on our on our first panel. We heard from Americans across our country, different areas who are suffering from the terrible consequences of a climate crisis caused by our dependance on fossil fuels. And while these Americans and millions more are suffering. The big oil companies are making record profits. Look at these numbers. 17 billion, the largest profit they've ever had. 11 billion. 8.5 billion. 11.5 billion. And they're not investing in renewable energy. They're just. Taking the profits. They're not investing in helping people or helping our country. And. And they are getting rich. Selling the fossil fuels that are causing the problem. So I'd like to first begin with Dr. Bieber. Do you agree that big oil is benefiting from our continued dependance on oil and gas? And how so? Could you elaborate? [01:08:04][83.5]

Speaker 4: [01:08:07] I do agree with that sentiment. We have conducted research where we have analyzed using input output methods, which sectors present the greatest inflation risk for the American economy. And we have found that petroleum and coal products are by far the sector that presents the greatest inflation risk. This inflation risk is immediately linked to the profit exposures that we have seen where low production has been used to hike up prices. [01:08:32][24.7]

Speaker 2: [01:08:34] So these companies that are hiking up the prices claim that they support the Paris Agreement. Quote, aspirations, unquote, to reduce emissions in the future. But internal documents that the committee obtained in response to my subpoena tell a very different story. We obtained. An internal memo prepared for the CEO of Exxon. Darren Woods in 2019. And this memo shows how Exxon and Chevron worked behind the scenes to drastically to drastically reduce and weaken climate pledges made by an industry called the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative. The memo shows the two companies wanted to remove any commitment for oil companies to, quote, align their advocacy with their climate related positions. End quote. So. Ms.. Salter, in layman's terms, why wouldn't these fossil fuel companies want to advocate for climate positions that they claim to support? [01:09:54][79.8]

Speaker 5: [01:09:58] Unfortunately there the fossil fuel company commitments are just frankly disingenuous. As you mention, the fossil fuel lobby combats climate action on every single level global, national, state and regional, and that includes New York state, where AP is putting the fossil fuel playbook into practice to undermine our ability to reach our transition away from fossil fuel. [01:10:27][29.2]

Speaker 2: [01:10:28] Now this same internal memo to Exxon CEO calls for removing. Any language that commits big oil to, quote, enhance climate related governance strategy, risk management and performance metrics and targets, unquote. So Dr. Bieber, is it fair to say that these elements, including governance, strategy, risk management and performance metrics, are key parts of a business plan? [01:10:59][30.9]

Speaker 4: [01:11:03] That seems right to me. I think we have seen in the present crisis that profits are the ultimate and only goal of big corporations. [01:11:09][6.6]

Speaker 2: [01:11:11] And does it concern you that Exxon and Chevron did not want to commit to incorporating climate change into key parts of their business plan? Miss Salter. Does that upset you? [01:11:22][11.3]

Speaker 5: [01:11:23] It's disturbing on many levels. It's disturbing on just a human level. But also, as many jurisdictions have said in court, it is a fraud to the investors in these very companies. They are hiding the truth at what climate change is going to mean for their business. The information that they get, the truth that they know about, the threat of the climate crisis internally, they use that to protect their infrastructure and understand where they're going to find opportunities. And externally, they play it down and play down the the impacts of the climate crisis on the business in a way that many jurisdictions believe is fraud. [01:12:02][38.8]

Speaker 2: [01:12:04] So Exxon and Chevron claim they support the Paris Agreement, but they won't commit to advocating for it or working for it. They claim they'll reduce emissions but won't commit to coming up with a business plan to do so. In other words, they are all talk and absolutely no action. While big oil stalls, Democrats have taken real, meaningful steps to address climate change and cut Americans energy costs by passing the inflation reduction plan. And it's long past due for big oil to end. It's deception, deception and commit to real action to reduce its emissions. And with that, I now recognize the gentleman from Georgia, Mr. Heise, for 5 minutes. [01:12:49][45.0]

Speaker 3: [01:12:50] Thank you, Madam Chair. [01:12:50][0.6]

Speaker 1: [01:12:50] And I hope you'll be gracious with the time on on our end as well. [01:12:55][4.6]

Speaker 3: [01:12:57] It's a shame that, once again. [01:12:58][1.3]

Speaker 1: [01:13:00] Both the chairwoman and committee Democrats are wasting our valuable time here, deviating from the jurisdiction that this committee has in order to attack American private enterprise and score some cheap political points with the radical left. This hearing is just about Democrats searching for a scapegoat for their. [01:13:23][23.5]

Speaker 3: [01:13:23] Own failed energy policies. [01:13:25][2.1]

Speaker 1: [01:13:26] Quite frankly, the President, Biden and the Democrats think that making oil and gas energy producing companies their scapegoat will somehow solve rising energy cost. But quite frankly, Americans are not buying it. [01:13:43][16.4]

Speaker 3: [01:13:44] Americans know who. [01:13:45][1.8]

Speaker 1: [01:13:46] To blame every time they go to the pump to put gas in their cars. [01:13:50][3.6]

Speaker 3: [01:13:51] In fact, right now, the stock market is lower than it. [01:13:54][3.6]

Speaker 1: [01:13:54] Was when President Biden took office. And you add to that inflation that is crippling Americans and businesses. Americans know exactly where the blame lies. Democrats energy policies were such a failure. [01:14:10][16.0]

Speaker 3: [01:14:11] That they can't even power. [01:14:13][1.8]

Speaker 1: [01:14:14] Core pillar of their green energy initiative, that being electric cars. It's absolutely embarrassing. [01:14:20][6.2]

Speaker 3: [01:14:21] That we live in one of the most. [01:14:23][1.8]

Speaker 1: [01:14:24] Prosperous countries in the world. And yet we have a state, California, that is now telling their residents to ration energy power and telling them not to charge. [01:14:34][10.3]

Speaker 3: [01:14:35] Their expensive electric. [01:14:36][1.5]

Speaker 1: [01:14:37] Cars that they were told. [01:14:38][0.9]

Speaker 3: [01:14:38] To buy all in. [01:14:40][1.9]

Speaker 1: [01:14:40] Order to save our environment. [01:14:41][1.3]

Speaker 3: [01:14:44] Democrats Green New Deal policies. [01:14:45][1.5]

Speaker 1: [01:14:46] Quite frankly, are destroying our country's energy production and making us more reliant upon foreign sourced energy. And these actions are, quite frankly, a threat not only to our economy, but our national security. [01:15:02][15.6]

Speaker 3: [01:15:03] This committee's jurisdiction. [01:15:03][0.7]

Speaker 1: [01:15:04] Is oversight of federal government, not the profits and practices of private sector. [01:15:09][4.5]

Speaker 3: [01:15:10] Businesses and companies. [01:15:10][0.9]

Speaker 1: [01:15:12] So I respectfully ask the chairwoman to stop using this committee to search for a scapegoat, to blame for Biden's and Democrats failed policies, for the security of our nation and the stability of our economy. We must seek for energy independence, and that is the only logical conclusion. Mr. Shellenberger, let me ask you this. Frankly, this question, there's a yes or no. Do you believe that our nation's domestic energy policy is a national security issue? Absolutely, yes. [01:15:43][31.5]

Speaker 3: [01:15:45] Or can you explain the. [01:15:46][1.7]

Speaker 1: [01:15:47] Importance of domestic energy independence in America and really how Europe's reliance on energy, particularly Russia, is, has failed? Absolutely. What we've seen in Europe and Russia is that Europe became grossly dependent on Russia for its domestic energy production. Russia Europe is actually producing more natural gas than Russia was exporting just 15 years ago. And many people warned Europe, including myself, that it was becoming overly depend on Russia. By doing so, Europe was unable to deter a Russian invasion of Ukraine. Putin calculated, and he may have miscalculated, but nonetheless calculated that he would not suffer the consequences of of energy embargoes or any energy restrictions as retaliation for an invasion of Ukraine. And that gave him the sense that he would be able to invade. And so whatever happens in that country, we can see the destruction as a result of of basically enabling his aggression through European overdependence on Russia. It would be insane, in my view, for the United States to trade this remarkable security we've achieved thanks to abundant natural gas and nuclear for a dependance on the Chinese, for solar panels that are just unboxed by American workers, not manufactured here. As I mentioned in my testimony, China dominates the production of not just renewables, but electric vehicles. There is a desire to repatriate those industries. We should do that, but we should not be shifting our energy production to China. That would be absolutely insane, particularly given this harsh lesson that Europe has just learned in the last 30 seconds or so that I have. Can you explain how Biden and Democrat policies, energy policies have. [01:17:34][107.8]

Speaker 3: [01:17:35] Contributed to. [01:17:36][0.9]

Speaker 1: [01:17:38] Our own energy crisis? Absolutely. The Biden administration has made fewer, far fewer acres of federal lands and offshore water available for oil and gas production. The result is that we do not have enough oil and gas production for ourselves and to provide for our allies in Europe. Biden has repeatedly misstated, by the way, his own policies on this. We, the Biden administration, obviously cancel the Keystone pipeline right away. When he came into office. We also saw them shutting down an important refinery in the U.S. Virgin Islands that could have been retrofitted to be much cleaner than it was. And we've seen incredible hostility in general, including Treasury Secretary Yellen just last week saying that she was going to phase out the use of fossil fuels. That's had a chilling effect on private sector investment in oil and gas and significantly undermined U.S. national security, as well as the security of Western Europe. Thank you very much. [01:18:33][55.7]

Speaker 3: [01:18:34] I yield back. [01:18:34][0.3]

Speaker 2: [01:18:36] The gentleman yields back. Let me briefly address some of the concerns raised by my good friend and colleague, Mr. Heise. First, the high gas prices are a global problem caused by many factors, including the behavior of Russia. And while I agree that gas prices are still too high for many Americans, the fact is that gas prices have declined every day for the past 93 days. Now, my Republican colleagues say they're concerned about energy prices, but Democrats in Congress are actually doing something about it. The Inflation Reduction Act is estimated to save an average family $500 per year on energy costs. And every single Republican voted against it. Instead, they are defending the oil companies that are making record profits on the backs of American consumers. They could lower their cost at the gas pump. They could invest in renewable energy. And with that, I recognized the distinguished and great gentlewoman from the District of Columbia. Miss Norton. You are now recognized for 5 minutes. Mrs. Norton. [01:19:54][77.8]

Speaker 4: [01:19:56] Thank you. [01:19:56][0.3]

Speaker 3: [01:19:56] Madam Chair, for this. [01:19:58][1.0]

Speaker 4: [01:19:58] Important. [01:19:58][0.0]

Speaker 3: [01:19:59] Hearing. [01:19:59][0.0]

Speaker 4: [01:20:00] Fossil fuel complaints. [01:20:02][1.2]

Speaker 2: [01:20:03] Can you speak up and pull your mic to you? It's a little hard to hear you. [01:20:07][3.7]

Speaker 3: [01:20:08] Oh. [01:20:08][0.0]

Speaker 4: [01:20:10] And you hear me better now. [01:20:11][1.0]

Speaker 3: [01:20:14] And you hear me better? [01:20:15][0.6]

Speaker 2: [01:20:15] Yes, absolutely. [01:20:15][0.4]

Speaker 3: [01:20:17] Okay. Fossil fuel companies. Are are. [01:20:22][4.9]

Speaker 4: [01:20:23] Constantly putting. [01:20:24][0.7]

Speaker 3: [01:20:24] Gas. [01:20:24][0.0]

Speaker 4: [01:20:26] As the lesser evil to code a central course to modern life. Without it, we understand, coal is the most. [01:20:36][9.8]

Speaker 3: [01:20:37] Carbon intensive method of energy production. [01:20:41][3.8]

Speaker 4: [01:20:43] Currently, coal fired. [01:20:44][1.2]

Speaker 3: [01:20:45] Power plants account for a majority. Electricity production. [01:20:50][5.3]

Speaker 4: [01:20:51] In several Asian countries, including China. [01:20:54][2.9]

Speaker 3: [01:20:56] And India. But according to the International Energy Agency, renewable energy sources are actually the most cost effective. For electricity production in most of these markets. Professor Weber. [01:21:12][16.7]

Speaker 4: [01:21:13] Are economies that are relying on coal like China. [01:21:17][4.3]

Speaker 3: [01:21:19] Locked. [01:21:19][0.0]

Speaker 4: [01:21:19] Into oil. [01:21:20][0.8]

Speaker 2: [01:21:21] And. [01:21:21][0.0]

Speaker 4: [01:21:21] Gas to satisfy their energy. [01:21:22][1.5]

Speaker 3: [01:21:23] Needs. [01:21:23][0.0]

Speaker 4: [01:21:27] Coal is certainly the more dirty fossil fuel. So locking into coal is is an even more devastating choice than being locked into gas and oil. But we should really overcome fossil fuel dependance altogether. [01:21:40][13.2]

Speaker 3: [01:21:43] Uh huh. Well, big oil would like us to believe. That they must choose between the comforts. But that of of modern life in reducing greenhouse gases. Ms.. Salter. Would eliminating American reliance on oil and. [01:22:06][22.4]

Speaker 4: [01:22:06] Gas decrease our standard. [01:22:08][2.5]

Speaker 3: [01:22:09] Of living? [01:22:09][0.1]

Speaker 5: [01:22:13] So the answer is no. And for example, in New York, we have for example, in New York, we have come up with a plan to reach net zero by 2050. And our state analysis shows that the technology is there. Our cost benefit analysis shows that the cost of climate action, the benefits of climate action far outweigh the costs that we need to invest in. So the answer is the answer is no. [01:22:46][32.9]

Speaker 3: [01:22:48] Thank you for that response. Finally, my colleagues across the aisle. [01:22:53][4.9]

Speaker 4: [01:22:54] Love to tout the fact that. [01:22:55][1.3]

Speaker 3: [01:22:55] Fossil fuel that the fossil fuel industry. Creates jobs for U.S.. [01:23:03][7.1]

Speaker 4: [01:23:03] Workers in. [01:23:04][0.5]

Speaker 3: [01:23:04] Oil and gas. And that, of course, is true. [01:23:05][1.6]

Speaker 4: [01:23:08] They say, particularly in low income communities and communities of color. [01:23:11][3.6]

Speaker 3: [01:23:13] But in reality, the industry took billions of dollars in tax. [01:23:18][5.2]

Speaker 4: [01:23:20] Refunds and COVID relief funds. [01:23:23][3.1]

Speaker 3: [01:23:24] Even as it laid off thousands of workers. [01:23:27][3.1]

Speaker 4: [01:23:29] Then, as profits were refunded in 2021, companies continued to prioritize CEO. [01:23:37][7.6]

Speaker 3: [01:23:38] Compensation. [01:23:38][0.0]

Speaker 4: [01:23:39] And shareholder. [01:23:40][0.3]

Speaker 3: [01:23:41] Profits over investments in their workforce. [01:23:44][3.3]

Speaker 4: [01:23:45] Professor Chao. How does our. [01:23:48][2.6]

Speaker 3: [01:23:48] Reliance on. [01:23:49][0.7]

Speaker 4: [01:23:50] Reliance on fossil. [01:23:51][0.9]

Speaker 3: [01:23:51] Fuels. [01:23:51][0.0]

Speaker 4: [01:23:52] For jobs and economic advancement threaten the long term. [01:23:57][4.9]

Speaker 3: [01:23:58] Economic stability and health care of these workers? [01:24:02][3.9]

Speaker 6: [01:24:04] You are absolutely right that the fossil fuel industry has not recovered their workforce. Even they are not at the level of pre-pandemic levels, nor are the wages at pre-pandemic levels. And most of the profits that they have made have not gone to the workforce, which is why the workers at Chevron went on strike. The truth is that the one of the benefits of the renewable energy economy is that it largely remains to be built. So there is tremendous opportunity for workforce and for workers. We have to remind ourselves that the fossil fuels are a finite resource. So at some point we can oil, we can drill all we want, and then they will run out. And we have to think about what will happen to workers and communities if we don't plan for this transition, let alone what will happen to the planet if we burn all of that oil and gas? The truth is that the fossil fuel industry is good for workers only because of workers struggle. There is nothing inherently just about the industry. And in fact the best thing for workers is for us to transition to a renewable energy future. [01:24:54][50.0]

Speaker 3: [01:24:57] My time has expired. I thank you and I yield back. [01:24:59][2.2]

Speaker 2: [01:25:00] The gentle lady yells back, The gentleman from Wisconsin. Mr. Grothman is recognized for 5 minutes. [01:25:06][5.3]

Speaker 3: [01:25:06] Thank you. I like to give Mr. Burr there a couple of questions. [01:25:09][2.6]

Speaker 1: [01:25:10] First of all. [01:25:11][0.5]

Speaker 3: [01:25:13] When we talk about natural gas in general, could you comment on how clean America is compared to other countries? [01:25:21][8.1]

Speaker 1: [01:25:23] The United States is we reduced our carbon emissions more than any other country in history between 2005 and 2020. We reduced our carbon emissions by 21 and a half percent, rounded up to 22%. Recall that under the proposed Waxman-Markey cap and trade legislation, which failed in the Senate in 2010. It was to reduce our carbon emissions by 17%. Our Paris climate agreement was to reduce our emissions by 17%. So we reduced our carbon emissions by nearly five percentage points, more than we had intended to under cap and trade or Paris. Meanwhile, of that reduction, 61% of that reduction was due to the switch from coal to natural gas. The remaining 39%, which was from wind and solar, were enabled by natural gas, since both of them being unreliable. Weather dependent energy sources required gas to ramp up and down. So gas has been a huge driver. But if you look at other air pollution metrics, the United States has led the world in reducing air pollution from lead carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and other air pollutants over the last half century. [01:26:32][69.4]

Speaker 3: [01:26:33] For whatever psychological reason. And it can't be a factual reason for whatever psychological reason. A lot of people like to run down America compared to the rest of the world. So what you're telling me is, say, compared to other large economies around the world, both the European economies and China, India, we are actually doing much better than these other countries. [01:26:56][22.9]

Speaker 1: [01:26:57] Absolutely. The United States is leading the world in terms of environmental progress. And not only that, sir, but I would also point out that the United States invented all of the major clean energy technologies upon which we rely. That includes nuclear power plants. That includes combined cycle natural gas power plants. That includes high temperature supercritical coal plants. That includes even solar panels. The main solar panel design that China has reduced the price of in recent years, thanks in part to incarcerated weaker Muslim labor. And the use of coal was invented by Bell Labs, of course. So it's not just that we are the leaders on environmental progress. We're also the leaders on technological innovation of virtually every major clean energy technology. [01:27:41][43.7]

Speaker 3: [01:27:42] Makes you proud to be an American. Okay. You know, it sounds like natural gas is even more of a step in the right direction. What are the barriers preventing us from increasing the supply of natural gas to the rest of the world? [01:27:55][13.1]

Speaker 1: [01:27:56] I mean, the main barrier to the expansion of natural gas in the United States, both for domestic production and export, is the war on natural gas. That war on natural gas is taking place at every level of our society. President Biden is waging war on natural gas by refusing to allow expanded gas production on federal lands and offshore. He's the FERC. His appointees at FERC are blocking the expansion of natural gas pipelines, as well as LNG export terminals. We've been in this energy crisis for a year now. I was writing about the impacts in Europe a year ago. We should have been acting then to be expanding gas production to save our allies in Europe who are going to have rationing and industrial collapse this winter. It's occurring through Congress, through the war on gas. And in Congress, it's occurring in the courts. It's occurring at every level of our society. And it's putting our basic civilization and Western security at grave risk. [01:28:49][53.1]

Speaker 3: [01:28:49] What real or psychological reasons do they have for disliking natural gas? [01:28:54][4.6]

Speaker 1: [01:28:56] The the war on the war on energy, the war on cheap and reliable energy has been going on since World War Two. It's been motivated by an anti-human, anti civilization, Malthusian mentality in the tradition of the British economists, Robert Thomas Mathis. It's a very dark view of human the human species. It's a view of humans as a blight on the planet. It's a view of modern western industrial civilization as bad for the environment. It does not. Okay. [01:29:29][32.9]

Speaker 3: [01:29:29] I think that finally it's more of a psychological thing than it is. [01:29:32][3.1]

Speaker 1: [01:29:33] I mean, look, it's I think when you look at what's driving this, it's acting as a kind of substitute religion, complete with a new form of guilt, a new vision of apocalypse, a kind of fall from a frankly, a state of nature that never existed. This has been well studied by scholars over 30 years, that this is acting as a substitute, apocalyptic religion. [01:29:54][21.1]

Speaker 3: [01:29:54] I'll give you another quick question. Nuclear energy and I have a nuclear power plant in my district. I had was trying to explain to my staff that maybe one of the reasons for the war on nuclear energy was a Hollywood movie around in the 1970s. But can you tell me, is there any basis, in fact, for this? Dislike of nuclear energy. [01:30:13][18.5]

Speaker 1: [01:30:14] I mean, nuclear is the cleanest form of energy by far. It has the smallest environmental impact because the energy density is so high, the power densities are so high. Tiny quantities of land and material throughput are required in order to generate significant quantities of energy. And so the war on nuclear has been a war on having abundant energy to power our society. It's a malthusian pro scarcity drive. [01:30:40][26.7]

Speaker 3: [01:30:41] Okay. I can't when it was driven by a Jane Fonda movie, but. Okay. Thank you. [01:30:45][3.4]

Speaker 2: [01:30:46] The gentleman yields back. The gentleman from Virginia, Mr. Conley, is recognized for 5 minutes. [01:30:51][4.8]

Speaker 3: [01:30:52] Thank you, Madam Chairwoman, and thank you for having this hearing, Ms.. Selter. I want to give you an opportunity to channel what we just heard. There's a war on gas. There's a dehumanizing, almost religious aspect to the environmental movement that is antithetical to human interest, dystopian and distorts, frankly, all of human history in terms of its impact on the environment. And, oh, by the way, there's this war on natural gas that is irrational and hurting our ability both to be energy independent and to help the environment. But your sense about those arguments. [01:31:25][32.8]

Speaker 5: [01:31:27] It is incredibly disturbing. This is a new level of climate denialism. You know, the scientists of the world, you know, it is irrefutable. Climate change is real and that folks are still saying that somehow climate the climate crisis is not happening. And opening of a new level kind of argument that actual legitimate warnings about the climate crisis are instead a cruel dystopia is beyond beyond ridiculous and almost doesn't dignify a response. We need to move away from fossil fuels, and that absolutely includes gas. And that's why I am very glad that New York State is doing exactly that. [01:32:12][45.7]

Speaker 3: [01:32:14] So I guess I would infer from your remarks in rejecting what we just heard about, you know, it's almost like a bad religion to be concerned. The way we are concerned is that actually, if we don't take action, what's going to hurt humanity isn't the environmental movement. It is the consequences of greenhouse gas emissions, global climate change, rising ocean levels and the like. Is that your argument? [01:32:48][33.7]

Speaker 5: [01:32:48] That is exactly right. And what we're seeing is the shifting of blame from the climate crisis to individuals, consumers, the environmental movement, instead of fixating it where it needs to be, which is squarely on the fossil fuel industry. [01:32:48]

Part 2:

Speaker 1: [00:00:01] We've been hearing a lot. Maybe I turned to Salter about the energy crisis, as if Mr. Hayes would have you believe somehow Democrats created a worldwide energy crisis. You know the Psalter who? The saved second. Largest oil and gas producer in the world as well. [00:00:25][23.7]

Speaker 2: [00:00:25] Yes, the supermajor is include Exxon, Chevron. [00:00:28][2.9]

Speaker 1: [00:00:29] No, no, not companies. Countries. [00:00:30][1.8]

Speaker 2: [00:00:32] Oh, yes. Well, yes, that includes the United States. In addition to Asian countries, the Arab countries as well. [00:00:41][9.7]

Speaker 1: [00:00:42] No, but yes, but I think the world's number two producer is Russia. [00:00:47][4.3]

Speaker 2: [00:00:48] Russia is an important producer as well. [00:00:50][1.6]

Speaker 1: [00:00:51] I think it's number two. Is there something going on with Russia that might affect their exports of energy? [00:00:57][5.8]

Speaker 2: [00:00:58] This is one of the most disingenuous arguments that you're hearing here today, is that energy security depends on it locking in our dependance on fossil fuels. We need to move away from fossil fuels so that we are not dependent on forces, geopolitical forces, completely beyond our control. Including what you were referring to is this terrible, unjust war in Ukraine that was started by this by Russia. [00:01:25][27.3]

Speaker 1: [00:01:26] But the fact of the matter is, Russia, as a result of in advance your argument, which I certainly agree with, about moving away from fossil fuels. But before we even get there. Russia being number two, given the war in Ukraine and the sanctions that were imposed, their energy exports become problematic. Markets have been cut off to them. A price cap has been discussed among allies to limit the revenue that they can they can generate there. They've lost customers. So they have to kind of go to places like China and India to try to sell their oil at a lower price. All of which means that there is an energy crisis in terms of absolute supply. Given the importance of Russia in the market, would that be a fair statement? [00:02:09][42.4]

Speaker 2: [00:02:09] Yes. [00:02:09][0.0]

Speaker 1: [00:02:11] So would it also be fair? And I know I was sucking you into a political argument that Mr. Hayes made it, so it needs to be refuted. So Democrats didn't cause that energy crisis. Russia did inundating Ukraine. [00:02:22][11.4]

Speaker 2: [00:02:24] That's absolutely right. And the refusal the refusal to act on clean energy at home is exacerbating it and has been exacerbating it for many years. [00:02:33][9.6]

Speaker 1: [00:02:34] Right. Another myth debunked. I rest my case and I yield back. Thank you. [00:02:39][4.9]

Speaker 3: [00:02:40] The gentleman yields back. The gentleman from Texas, Mr. Cloud, is recognized for 5 minutes. [00:02:45][4.3]

Speaker 4: [00:02:46] Thank you, Madam Chair. There's so much to cover and so little time. It's it's easy to draw the line between the war in Russia and Ukraine to Biden's energy policies. It was predictable. It was predicted. As a matter of fact, under the Obama administration, we saw the same thing. [00:03:02][16.4]

Speaker 1: [00:03:03] So the United States authority and. [00:03:05][2.1]

Speaker 4: [00:03:05] Power in energy. [00:03:06][0.7]

Speaker 1: [00:03:06] Is what led to. [00:03:07][0.5]

Speaker 4: [00:03:07] Stability in the world, is what led to Middle East peace agreements that were historic in and to discount that is is absolutely, absolutely ridiculous. [00:03:15][8.5]

Speaker 1: [00:03:16] What's happening right now is leftist. [00:03:18][1.2]

Speaker 4: [00:03:18] Energy policies are stupid. Energy policies are literally killing people. We have people in Europe now burning. [00:03:25][7.1]

Speaker 1: [00:03:26] Wood to stay warm. [00:03:27][1.0]

Speaker 4: [00:03:28] Which is. [00:03:28][0.3]

Speaker 1: [00:03:28] By the way. [00:03:29][0.4]

Speaker 4: [00:03:30] Not as clean as natural gas. We have a war in the Ukraine. And you want to talk about carbon footprint. I think rebuilding a country after its been destroyed is a pretty big carbon impact. I don't know how many. [00:03:40][10.8]

Speaker 1: [00:03:41] Electric vehicles we have to put in the car. [00:03:42][1.4]

Speaker 4: [00:03:43] On the road to to cover that kind of damage. But I imagine it's pretty crazy. And then China is building our, as you mentioned it, building our solar panels by their powering their industry, by. [00:03:55][12.1]

Speaker 1: [00:03:55] Building dozens of new coal plants, because we're ceding our authority and. [00:03:59][4.4]

Speaker 4: [00:04:00] Giving our strategic oil reserves to China, isn't it? It's it's absolutely ridiculous. And this is simply round three. [00:04:07][6.8]

Speaker 1: [00:04:08] Of the blame shifting. [00:04:08][0.9]

Speaker 4: [00:04:10] That needs to happen when every American. [00:04:11][1.3]

Speaker 1: [00:04:12] Knows what's really happening. Now. [00:04:14][2.2]

Speaker 4: [00:04:15] Recently, I heard a minister. [00:04:16][1.1]

Speaker 1: [00:04:16] Say that it's not the lies the devil tells, it's really the half. [00:04:19][2.9]

Speaker 4: [00:04:20] Truths that really kill you. And there's a whole lot of virtual virtue signaling when it comes to the the the Green New Deal and all the efforts that go along with that. And so much of it is not based on science. And so I thought in some of our time today we would uncover some of the other half truths. You mentioned it already, Mr. Shellenberger, who controls most of the rare earth minerals and green new energy. China. China. China, by far. And one of the greatest drivers in the reduction of carbon emissions was the transition to natural gas. Yes. So this committee has been set up to. [00:04:58][38.0]

Speaker 1: [00:04:58] Demonize the companies that produce natural gas. Here's the other. [00:05:01][3.1]

Speaker 4: [00:05:01] Side. Here's the face of the Green New Deal. This you mentioned workforce conditions in the oil and gas industry here in the United States. This is a rare earth mine. Here's an article from. [00:05:17][15.7]

Speaker 1: [00:05:18] The. [00:05:18][0.0]

Speaker 4: [00:05:18] New Yorker magazine, Children who says Children as young as three learn to pick out the purest or from rock slabs. Children who work in the mines are often drugged in order to suppress hunger. If the kids don't make enough money, they have no food for the day. Some children we interviewed did not remember. [00:05:35][16.9]

Speaker 1: [00:05:35] The last time they had a meal. Near large mines, prostitution of women in. [00:05:39][3.8]

Speaker 4: [00:05:39] Young girls is pervasive. Other women wash raw mining minerals. [00:05:42][3.5]

Speaker 1: [00:05:43] Which is full of toxic metals and in some cases. [00:05:45][2.0]

Speaker 4: [00:05:45] Mildly reactive. If a pregnant woman works with such heavy metal cobalt, it can increase your chances of having stillbirth or child with birth defects. In a recent. [00:05:54][8.7]

Speaker 1: [00:05:54] Study, women in the. [00:05:55][0.9]

Speaker 4: [00:05:55] Southern Congo had metal concentrations that are among the highest reported for women. The study also found a strong link between fathers who worked with mining chemicals. [00:06:02][6.7]

Speaker 1: [00:06:02] Fetal. [00:06:02][0.0]

Speaker 4: [00:06:03] Abnormalities in their children. The kids. If they do work, they get some pay. [00:06:08][5.1]

Speaker 1: [00:06:09] But if they sold their minerals when they had the money, they're street gangs, thugs who could stop you on the roads and. [00:06:13][4.9]

Speaker 4: [00:06:13] Snatch your money. [00:06:14][0.4]

Speaker 1: [00:06:15] To to safely pass. You had to pay so you can get safe passage or they'll beat you. [00:06:20][5.6]

Speaker 4: [00:06:20] These are the work conditions, part of the picture that doesn't. [00:06:24][3.2]

Speaker 1: [00:06:24] Ever get told about rare earth minerals. This is the Green New Deal. [00:06:29][4.9]

Speaker 4: [00:06:29] The face of it in the work conditions. Now you say that renewable energy is infinite and natural energy is somehow or our normal. [00:06:42][13.2]

Speaker 1: [00:06:43] Oil and gas is somehow. [00:06:44][1.2]

Speaker 4: [00:06:45] This finite resource. [00:06:45][0.5]

Speaker 1: [00:06:46] And there's this messaging. [00:06:47][1.2]

Speaker 4: [00:06:48] Like clean energy, green energy, renewable energy. [00:06:51][2.6]

Speaker 1: [00:06:51] Which most people. [00:06:52][0.6]

Speaker 4: [00:06:52] Now, I think could call intermittent energy is somehow like forever. But rare earth minerals are. Mr. Shellenberger, is are rare earth minerals a finite resource on earth. Well, there are no I mean, all resources are finite. Yeah. But no, I mean, it's it's the high material intensities are required for renewables because they are so energy dilute. This is just basic physics. You need more land and more material throughput when you're relying on the sunlight and the wind because they are not energy dense. That's the difference. You go up the energy ladder. This is just basic physics, wood to coal, to oil, to natural gas to uranium. You're going up the energy ladder towards higher energy densities, towards lower environmental impact, because you're literally using less of the natural environment. This is not controversial in energy. This is basic energy science, basic physics. So that's what you're doing. If you're moving down the energy ladder, back towards resources that depend on the sunlight in the wind, you're going to use much more natural resource. That's why you have those devastating impacts. And it's not just, you know, it's in Congo or I've certainly been in visited, but it's also in Myanmar. Associated Press just did a big investigation which found the devastating impact of rare earth mining in Myanmar. You mentioned the wiggers as well. That's and that's another issue is the incarcerate, the incarceration of weaker Muslims in concentration camps where they produce solar panels. I find it unconscionable. I can't believe that we're still importing the solar panels from China. I just find it shocking to me, honestly, that that's still happening. Thank you. Appreciate your being here. [00:08:29][97.0]

Speaker 3: [00:08:30] The gentleman yields back. That gentleman from Maryland, Mr. Raskin, is recognized for 5 minutes. Mr. Raskin. [00:08:35][4.7]

Speaker 1: [00:08:36] Thank you, Madam Chair, for calling this important hearing. I remember when I first got to Congress. Our colleagues across the aisle denying the existence of climate change and questioning and undermining the science. And today, with record of forest fires in the West and wildfires out of control in Europe, with entire islands being engulfed, with record droughts in the Midwest and flooding in the east, they're no longer denying climate change. But it looks like they have some fancy new theories about how this is all a hangover of Malthusian psychological dysfunction from the post-World War Two period, if I understand it correctly. But meantime, back on the planet Earth, we're dealing with a real crisis. There is no longer any valid scientific dispute about whether the climate has been destabilized. It has been. And we have to confront the reality of this civilizational crisis. The biggest fossil fuel companies, Exxon, Chevron, BP and Shell have made net zero emission pledges that they claim are in accordance with the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius. But experts tell us that all four of these pledges fall dramatically short of meeting the Paris Agreement goal. MSCI, a prominent investment firm, projected how much our planet would warm if the future world economy reflects the pledges of these companies. For example, Exxon and Chevron pledges would leave us on track for global warming of more than four degrees Celsius by 2100. If all we do is what they're proposing to do, Dr. Cha cha cha, could you describe for us what an average global warming of four degrees Celsius would mean for our environment and for the habitability of our communities, both in North America and in other parts of the world. [00:10:40][123.7]

Speaker 5: [00:10:41] I mean, the damage that we're seeing now is we are just over one degree Celsius warming. So at four degrees, we can anticipate that every system will be disrupted to the extent that it is quite possible that the conditions for humanity will not be the conditions that exist will not be consistent with humanity surviving. [00:10:57][16.3]

Speaker 1: [00:10:59] Well, could you be it? Could you draw in more detail what that means? Are we talking about more dramatic levels of ocean rise, flooding engulfing of entire islands, countries? Are we talking about much greater climate migration, millions of climate refugees? I mean, what are we looking at if we just do what the big oil companies are telling us to do? [00:11:27][27.1]

Speaker 5: [00:11:27] Yes, we will see all of that. We can think about the damage that Hurricane Sandy did in New York City. And that was just a little a few inches of water rise. You know, it's not just that the seas will rise, but that when we think about these big events, the sea level, that those big ocean currents that come will devastate coastal communities. We can imagine that most small island nations will also disappear and our agricultural systems will be completely disrupted because there are very small temperature windows in which agriculture can grow. So four degrees will mean that our entire food systems would be completely disrupted. We are already seeing climate refugees, so we can expect that that will become much more intense. And also, all of the weather patterns that we're seeing now with these really destructive tornadoes, these really destructive hurricanes, those will all intensify both in terms of their strength, but also their frequency. [00:12:13][45.1]

Speaker 1: [00:12:16] Miss Salter, we know that for decades the the carbon industry has worked to suppress the reality of climate change and to conceal from the public the dramatic changes in the climate that have been taking place. Now they are offering some rhetorical commitment to the most minimal kinds of changes in their conduct. If we continue to follow the lead of Big Oil and the carbon barons. Will we be able to make the changes we need to make in order to preserve habitable life on our planet for our people? [00:13:01][45.6]

Speaker 2: [00:13:05] Absolutely not. The only way out of the climate crisis is to rein in big oil and gas. The only way out. [00:13:13][8.3]

Speaker 1: [00:13:15] I read a book by Jared Diamond called Collapse, and it's about how civilizations have collapsed throughout human history. And the common theme seems to be that a minority of the population gets control of a disproportionate amount of the wealth and the power and then runs off on an agenda that is to the detriment of everybody else. And so I want to thank the witnesses for their testimony, because we need a democratically determined policy in order to rescue ourselves from an absolute climate collapse. I yield back. [00:13:52][37.1]

Speaker 3: [00:13:54] The gentleman yields back to the gentleman from Louisiana. Mr. Higgins is recognized for 5 minutes and I regretfully have to go to the floor to manage a bill. So the chair it will be chaired by Mr. O'Connor till 1230 and then a Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez from 1230 until I return. Thank you. [00:14:14][20.3]

Speaker 6: [00:14:16] Thank you, Madam Chair. Americans are watching this hearing today, and I'm glad we're having it, because this is some of the most outlandish testimony I've witnessed yet in six years in this oversight committee room. It is stunning. I'm not quite sure. I mean, with all due respect to our panelists today. I'm not quite sure some of you are connected to reality. Joe. I'm going to miss Altered. Ma'am. Good lady, please prepare your mind, because I'm gonna ask you three questions I'ma give you most of my time. I think it's good that America. Here's what you have to say. If you had control of the world, ma'am. If if if you did. I mean, you're presenting his grand ideas about eliminating fossil fuel and the horrors of of of the oil and gas industry and the energy that we consume to run the world and uplift the economic potential and prosperity of the world, which is the single most most significant factor that connects to the prosperity of our citizenry worldwide is is economic opportunity and energy drives it. But there you go. Let me just ask you. What would you do? I have three questions, so try and keep your answers. Within 30 or 40 seconds, please. What would you do with petrochemical products? I get everything. You have your clothes, your glasses, the car. You got her on your phone, the table you sit in at the chair, the carpet under your feet. Everything you've got is petrochemical products. What would you do with that? Tell the world. [00:16:20][123.9]

Speaker 2: [00:16:21] If I had that power in the world. What? Actually, I don't need that power. Because what I would do is ask you, sir, from Louisiana. [00:16:28][7.3]

Speaker 7: [00:16:28] I'm giving. [00:16:29][0.1]

Speaker 1: [00:16:29] You the. [00:16:29][0.1]

Speaker 7: [00:16:29] Church. [00:16:29][0.0]

Speaker 2: [00:16:30] Search your present, sir. You, sir, from Louisiana. To search your heart. And understand why. The EPA knows that toxic petrochemical facilities. [00:16:40][9.7]

Speaker 6: [00:16:40] Are good. [00:16:40][0.2]

Speaker 2: [00:16:41] Toxic polluting facilities in the world and are killing black people throughout Louisiana. So my. [00:16:48][6.3]

Speaker 5: [00:16:48] Wish to be. [00:16:49][0.3]

Speaker 6: [00:16:49] With. [00:16:49][0.0]

Speaker 1: [00:16:49] You, to start. [00:16:50][0.5]

Speaker 2: [00:16:50] Your heart and ask your God what you are doing to the black. [00:16:54][4.3]

Speaker 6: [00:16:56] People. No apologies. [00:16:56][0.7]

Speaker 2: [00:16:57] About Louisiana. That would be my first. [00:16:59][2.3]

Speaker 1: [00:17:00] Let's just have one at a time so that we can. [00:17:02][2.4]

Speaker 6: [00:17:03] That's. It's my time. Mr. Chairman, if I. If I claim reclaim my time, I shall I'm going to give this young lady an opportunity. You might not like it, but America needs to hear it. You've got no answer, do you, young lady, about what to do with petrochemical products. I'll move on. What are you going to do with oceangoing vessels? What do you do with the maritime industry? [00:17:24][21.3]

Speaker 2: [00:17:28] Well, we could again, I would ask you to search your heart for what is happening on, you. [00:17:32][4.7]

Speaker 1: [00:17:33] Know, and. [00:17:33][0.3]

Speaker 2: [00:17:34] Louisiana. Of course we do. We need to move away from petrochemicals. We need to shut down the petrochemical facilities in your state and move away from plastic. We need to move away from it. You know, there are. [00:17:50][16.7]

Speaker 1: [00:17:52] It's insane. [00:17:52][0.3]

Speaker 6: [00:17:54] What would you do with the aviation? [00:17:54][0.8]

Speaker 2: [00:17:55] Only thing that would not function is the petrochemical industry in your state, sir. [00:18:00][4.7]

Speaker 6: [00:18:03] Do you do you. Do you care about the planet? Good lady. Like, Do you have that ecological concern for real? Like, from a biblical perspective, we were we were given we were given the Lord gave us dominion over the planet and the creatures thereof. Now, the original translations of Dominion means to care for and nurture. So from a biblical perspective, I am an environmentalist. I love my planet and the people and the creatures thereof. Do you. [00:18:35][32.0]

Speaker 2: [00:18:37] Sir. We're going to talk about what we're going to talk about the Lord. I ask that you search your heart again and think. [00:18:45][8.3]

Speaker 3: [00:18:45] About. [00:18:45][0.0]

Speaker 1: [00:18:46] Searching very quickly across the. [00:18:48][1.9]

Speaker 6: [00:18:48] Planet. I'm asking you, do you. [00:18:50][2.1]

Speaker 2: [00:18:50] The fossil fuel industry that owns your state is destroying the earth and the natural world. And that is a fact, sir. [00:18:58][7.9]

Speaker 6: [00:18:59] You know what you got, young lady? You got a lot of noise, but you got no answers. Mr. Chairman, I yield. And I. [00:19:11][11.4]

Speaker 1: [00:19:12] Just as chair want to remind all the members witnesses this committee we have very difficult debates. [00:19:17][5.7]

Speaker 4: [00:19:18] And it's I understand it's a contentious. [00:19:19][1.1]

Speaker 1: [00:19:20] Issue, but all of us should try. [00:19:21][1.9]

Speaker 4: [00:19:22] To show as much respect during the hearing. And I appreciate everyone doing that. Let me. [00:19:28][6.3]

Speaker 1: [00:19:28] It's actually my turn for my five. [00:19:30][1.8]

Speaker 4: [00:19:31] 5 minutes. [00:19:32][0.4]

Speaker 1: [00:19:33] You know, I mean, we've we've heard from the other side that that there's some kind of war on energy. It's kind of hard to square with the facts of if there was a war on energy. How is Exxon, Chevron, BP and Shell making over 200% profits? I mean, you can't have a war on an industry that they're having record profits where they've ever had under the previous president. And I guess here is, you know, Mr. Shellenberger said we lead in clean technology. I agree with that. America leads in clean technology, many of it in my district. But you know what? We don't lead in. We don't lead in protecting American consumers. While Big Oil is making record profits. And this is something I want to emphasize. In Europe, they say let's have a windfall profits tax. It just came out and they're going to be taxing these big excess profits and putting the money back in European consumers. And guess what? Big Oil is saying they're shell quoted today. We think it's appropriate. We think it's necessary because of the energy crisis and we want to help support the European consumer. So guess what? They're willing to pay the tax to help the Europeans. They're not willing to pay the tax to help Americans. Americans are getting shafted. Big oil is making money on the backs of Americans and then going and paying the tax in Europe and saying, oh, we're on the side of European citizens. We want to help European citizens. We just don't want to help the Americans. That's what's going on. And for a year, we've been proposing in Congress tax the big oil profits and help the American citizens. Boris Johnson passed it in England. The conservative government, the oil companies are saying do it in Europe, but they want to fleece the American public. That's what this hearing is about. Mick Slater, can you talk about what the impact would be on a windfall profits tax and how it could help the American public? [00:21:34][121.8]

Speaker 2: [00:21:40] What my answer to that is that we absolutely need to be looking at all of the significant ways that we can address inflation and looking into where profits have been a windfall and having an honest conversation and look at that could bring could lead to policies that would lead to significant relief and more equality. [00:22:01][20.2]

Speaker 6: [00:22:03] Thank you. [00:22:03][0.3]

Speaker 1: [00:22:04] And Dr. Schott, the oil companies messaging has been on net zero plans that they want to have net zero. Is that actually consistent with what they're doing and where they're investing? [00:22:18][14.3]

Speaker 5: [00:22:20] Absolutely not. They are investing in increasing oil and gas production. There has been no shift in their business model away from fossil fuels. And I'd also point out that they have 9000 unused oil and gas drilling permits. So it is actually the fossil fuels desire to protect their profits that is limiting the production, not any kind of policy from the federal government. [00:22:41][20.6]

Speaker 1: [00:22:43] Thank you, Dr. Weber. There's a fossil fuel industry wishlist floating around. A copy of this was watermarked by a leading oil and gas industry trade group. If those that wish list were to. [00:22:58][14.7]

Speaker 4: [00:22:58] Pass with front line communities, could you and Ms.. Slater maybe just share what the impact would be? [00:23:04][6.0]

Speaker 8: [00:23:07] Sure. I would also like to speak broader about the implications of the fossil fuel dependance for American enterprise, which has been one of the important topics that has been raised. I want to reemphasize that the largest employer, Wal-Mart, sees itself being squeezed by the exploding fossil fuel prices. So fossil fuel price explosions and profit explosions are putting American jobs at risk. They are also undermining American external competitiveness, since all other firms in the American economy are facing these exploded risks. So from that perspective, then, fossil fuel dependance is actually undermining the position of the American economy in the world economy. If I may, I would also like. [00:23:49][42.2]

Speaker 1: [00:23:50] I just but I don't want to get Miss Salter in there. And I do want to before just going to miss all to recognize the extraordinary staff here, Greta Gow, Ross Anello, Ethan Van Ness, Katie Thomas. [00:24:00][10.6]

Speaker 4: [00:24:01] Kevin Fox and Aria KOVALCHIK in helping convene this hearing. And Ms.. Alter, I want to give you the the last word. [00:24:07][6.4]

Speaker 2: [00:24:09] Well, thank you so much. So the same people, the same frontline communities that are suffering the most health and other negative impacts from fossil fuels are also the same ones who are facing extraordinarily high energy burdens and, of course, struggling with the cost of basic, you know, food and utilities. So we need to phase out fossil fuels to alleviate fossil fuel, racism and. Alleviate the burden on frontline communities. [00:24:41][32.1]

Speaker 1: [00:24:43] Right. I got I now get to recognize my friend debating partner. The gentleman from Ohio, Mr. Jordan, is recognized for 5 minutes. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Shellenberger, I think. [00:24:54][11.0]

Speaker 4: [00:24:54] You said earlier the U.S. has reduce. [00:24:55][1.1]

Speaker 1: [00:24:56] Carbon emissions and greenhouse gas greenhouse gas reduction has happened in America, right? [00:25:00][4.1]

Speaker 4: [00:25:01] Yes, sir. And that's a significant, massive, the biggest in history. So the biggest in history. [00:25:05][4.5]

Speaker 1: [00:25:06] Much more than China or India. Some of our. [00:25:07][1.5]

Speaker 4: [00:25:08] Bigger competitors economically, more than the European Union. Absolute numbers, right? Yes. Is there any country in the world has done better than the United States? No. So we're the. [00:25:16][8.5]

Speaker 1: [00:25:16] Best. [00:25:16][0.0]

Speaker 4: [00:25:17] Yes, the best when it comes to dealing with the climate by far. [00:25:20][2.6]

Speaker 1: [00:25:21] Okay. So in the previous. [00:25:23][2.7]

Speaker 4: [00:25:24] Hearing about a year ago. [00:25:24][0.7]

Speaker 1: [00:25:25] The chairman asked the CEO of Chevron, are you embarrassed as an American company. [00:25:29][4.0]

Speaker 4: [00:25:29] That your production is. [00:25:30][1.0]

Speaker 1: [00:25:30] Going up? That's a strange question to. [00:25:33][2.4]

Speaker 4: [00:25:33] Ask when when we're reducing emissions. This is a critical. [00:25:36][2.6]

Speaker 1: [00:25:36] Energy source for our economy, as my friend from Louisiana said just a few minutes ago, that uplifts people all over our country and, frankly, around the world. When the American economy is strong, I think the world a safer a better place. [00:25:47][10.7]

Speaker 4: [00:25:48] That's kind of a strange question, wouldn't you agree? Yes. [00:25:49][1.8]

Speaker 1: [00:25:50] I mean, do we does the Congress so that the chairman said that he said the Republicans talk about, I. [00:25:56][5.8]

Speaker 4: [00:25:56] Think is, quote, was a war on the oil and gas industry. I don't know if it's a war, but when the. [00:26:00][3.8]

Speaker 1: [00:26:00] Chairman of a important committee in Congress tells a CEO, are you embarrassed. [00:26:03][3.2]

Speaker 4: [00:26:04] That you're actually making more of your product? We don't do that to any other industry, do we? No. I mean, not only that, but media, Facebook, Apple and Google had profits of 39 billion, 30,000,000,076 billion last year. And I didn't see this committee holding hearings on those profits, nor on the huge losses that the shale frackers had from 2010 to 2020. U.S. shale frackers lost 300 billion. That did not happen in the high tech industry in in Congressman Condit's district, those those firms did not suffer. Moreover, the Interior Department distributed just 200 leases for oil and gas development, doing President Biden's first 19 months in office. During Obama and Trump, there were ten times as many leases. No president since Nixon is leased out fewer than 4.4 million acres during his first 19 months in office. Now, if I may, Congressman, I'll just add one thing is there was a couple of pieces of information that people stated here that were incorrect. The first is that New York someone said that New York is moving away from gas. That's false. New York burned natural gas and oil went from 77% to 89% of its electricity supply between 2020 and 2021, because New York shut down a perfectly functioning nuclear power plant. So New York is not moving away from gas. It became more dependent on gas because of the war on American energy. There is another statement that was made that hurricanes will become more frequent in the United States. That is also not the prediction of the of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It supports the notion of a substantial decrease, 25% in the overall number of Atlantic hurricanes and tropical storms. So in terms of misinformation, we've seen some here today. So I think earlier you said that, you know, when you look at the latter, I think the term you use would call oil, gas, uranium. The that's how the energy intensity you get from those moves up as you go up the ladder. [00:27:57][113.6]

Speaker 1: [00:27:58] Why does the left hate so much. [00:27:59][1.7]

Speaker 4: [00:28:00] The two at the top that are clean right. The clean gas and uranium clean. Why did they hate them so much? What you call them? Because they're the most because they provide the most abundant energy. And if you think that Western civilization is bad or if you think that human beings are bad, then you want to move towards energy, dilute fuels which provide too little energy to sustain Western civilization. That's scary. If that's if that's in fact, the case. That is that is scary. Is there a serious crisis brewing in in in Europe this this year when it comes to energy and energy needs? We have not begun to come to grips with how serious this crisis is. 70% decline in fertilizer production. The United Nations Food Program estimates that hundreds of millions of people will die from hunger related diseases or from hunger and is pressuring American companies. In a congressional hearing where you would say to the CEO of a major oil and. [00:28:56][55.4]

Speaker 1: [00:28:56] Gas company, are you. [00:28:56][0.8]

Speaker 4: [00:28:57] Embarrassed about. [00:28:57][0.8]

Speaker 1: [00:28:58] Production? I remember that hearing happened last October where the chairman went down the line, says, will you pledge today to decrease production? Why won't you decrease in production? [00:29:08][10.4]

Speaker 4: [00:29:08] Would that would that help or hurt the situation in Europe? It's going to result in more deaths from cold pollution and industrial collapse. It's going to be devastating. [00:29:18][9.3]

Speaker 1: [00:29:19] Yeah, I think so, too. And it's it's it's scary to think that that politics is driving something that's going to harm families, people, communities in the European Union. And let's hope that same mentality doesn't catch hold here. [00:29:32][12.9]

Speaker 4: [00:29:32] And do that kind of harm to the American families. Sir, I would just add that the people that are suffering the most or the poorest countries, it's countries like Pakistan which are being outbid for LNG supplies by Europe that are going to suffer the most as usual will be poor, the poorest countries in the world that will suffer the most from the war on natural gas. [00:29:49][16.9]

Speaker 1: [00:29:50] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I yield back. Thank you. Thank you. The gentlewoman from Michigan, Mr. Lieb, is. [00:29:57][6.7]

Speaker 4: [00:29:57] Recognized for 5 minutes. [00:29:58][1.3]

Speaker 3: [00:30:00] So I want to talk about suffering, a human suffering. I represent the third poorest congressional district in the country where frontline communities like one in 4217 that I know Chairman Kano visited, where it's a predominantly black community that is literally housing the only petrol, the only refinery in the state of Michigan. High rates of asthma, respiratory issues, everything. What has been detrimental is, if anything, the pandemic exposed that one. Jobs don't fix cancer. They don't fix disease. And that corporate greed is killing communities like the ones that I represent. And more black folks during the pandemic in Michigan died of COVID. Than any other community because of preexisting condition. Because of environmental racism. Of having us pay the toll of big oil. Deciding to come in our backyard. Our backyard, not the ones right now. Pumping all this stuff in our backyard. Even though black holes in the total population of Michigan made up less than 13% of the total population, they still died at a 40% rate than any other community. And so it is important that we as House Oversight Committee understand our role. We are the protector. We have to protect the American people. And there are intentional policy decisions being made right now around big oil that is, you know, extracting that is killing people. And that corporate greed is also resulting in pushing people even more into poverty or having them struggle even more because of the continued price gouging and so much more. So I do want to talk to some of the panelists about this because, you know, one thing that I know is when companies got permission to expand, you know, for instance, certain plants in my communities and so forth, even the process of permission to pollute hasn't resulted in actually protecting the public health of many of our residents. Again, though, we don't have universal health care in our country. Most of my frontline communities, hard working folks, are frontline workers. They don't have access to health care coverage. They don't have access to a number of things that, again, help keep them alive and be able to thrive. And so, you know. I think, you know, Dr. Cha, one of the things that I've noticed, you know, like, for instance, you know, I see it's it's a true fact that, you know, black children are 34% more likely to develop asthma, become unhealthy, you know, have unhealthy air quality and so forth. Do you think, Dr. Cha, that our communities felt like communities like like Detroit, like my Wayne County communities, which haven't met Clean Air Act standards since 2013, are they paying the price of corporate greed among fossil fuel industry with their health? [00:33:06][186.6]

Speaker 5: [00:33:07] Absolutely. Part of the reason why we want to move away from fossil fuels is the air pollution and the damage to health that you are seeing from these very dangerous resources. And despite this very strange theory that you're hearing that environmentalists hate humanity. The reason why we want to move away from fossil fuels is because we want to protect people. We want to make their health better. Fossil fuels are polluting communities across the country like your own representative. So it's not that environmentalists hate people. It is actually the very contrary, because we want first we want to protect humanity that we are in this hearing, that we are hoping to reduce the affect and the power of the fossil fuel industry. [00:33:46][38.0]

Speaker 3: [00:33:47] And, you know, the climate related disasters that we've seen across our country, it's almost like people are trying to wash it away like it doesn't exist, that we still have to do all of these things. And not understanding the reality is that, you know, people are being directly impacted by us doing nothing. But again, extracting and creating more harm to to our environment. That, again, leads to to me, I think it continues to lead to permanent displacement and increased poverty, which we're going to have to deal with in the future, you know? Ms.. Salter, I, you know, struggle to what I tell my residents, because they understand the climate is here. They understand that pollution is harming their communities. What do you think we can do as in Congress, to proactively protect these communities? Because we're hearing this economic debate, that there's this human element of harm that is happening that keeps getting whitewashed because folks want to continue to talk about economics, which I understand we're into paying the cost of the harm in the future anyway, with death and illnesses that we continue to see rise, including cancer, respiratory asthma. [00:34:57][70.0]

Speaker 2: [00:34:59] Well, you're absolutely right that people of color in particular, black people, are found to bear a disproportionately high burden of fossil fuel pollution across the United States. Black people have a 1.54 times more the exposure to particular particulate matter compared to the overall population. And this is environmental racism and fossil fuel racism. And we need to phase out fossil fuels. And we also need to enforce air quality standards and transition away from fossil fuels. [00:35:30][31.2]

Speaker 3: [00:35:32] Thank you. Are you? [00:35:32][0.5]

Speaker 6: [00:35:34] Thank you. The gentleman from Ohio. [00:35:36][1.4]

Speaker 4: [00:35:36] Mr. Gibbs, is recognized for 5 minutes. [00:35:38][2.0]

Speaker 6: [00:35:38] Thank you. My testimony has been unbelievable. Some people, I think, live in a different world or fantasyland. All right. Go back go back to the early 1900s. You know, most of our we are an agrarian society. And we had industrial revolution and we lifted people out of poverty. We improved the people's standard of living. It was really driven by American technology, American ingenuity and innovation and our energy having an energy source. And then, you know, we progressed through the 1900s, and in 2008, we had challenges, we produced more energy, and we had challenges. We had some pollution issues. And we used technology to fix those. Sulfur dioxide and all the issues. I can remember driving my grandparents house right in my parents when I was a kid going through Gary, Indiana. I had to hold my breath. You know, it was we had all kinds of issues and we've made tremendous improvement in the United States as a leader in the world now in reducing pollution. And we were the leader in the world of producing good, clean energy. Some of it was renewable and a lot of its from fossil fuels. And and it's really sad day that nuclear is kind of gone by the wayside because that's that and fuel cell technology and some of that technology, hydrogen fiber makes a lot more sense in a lot of things. But we had a lot of discussion here. I heard some discussion about a windfall profits tax. You know, if you want to make inflation worse, do a windfall profits tax and make government bigger and send that money back to the people. So you increase the demand to to buy goods and services that are where this administration has been limiting demand. You know, that's a number that Econ one on one is what's inflation? Inflation. You are too many dollars chasing too few goods. And so it this administration has done it's tried to increase demand by throwing all this currency out in the economy and it's limited demand, especially in the energy sector. And then we talk about national security, talk about food security. You know, our we feed the world American agriculture. And I'll think about that. How do we do that? We do that because we have a technology, we have fertilizer, we have agronomic. You know, in 1950, the national cornfield was 50 bushel acre. When I started farming in 1975, I my goal was to have 100 bushel conacher. Now, if you have 150 bushel corn acre, it's a disaster. We're having yields exceed 280, exceed 200 bushel acre. If we weren't doing that, we would have more starvation around the world. And what's caused that? You know, it's our technology, but it's also our energy sector that supplies the fertilizers as a as a feedstock to the fertilizers. And it's just, you know, it just amazes me how some people live in this fantasy that we can just say. Wave a magic wand and everything's going to be okay. We can transition to a different energy source. You know, I think we ought to do what we can to limit our carbon footprint. But let's do it without putting people in poverty and ruin standard of living and actually, you know, probably raising the death rates. One thing this administration could do, you know, it was send the wrong message. You know, our message to the oil companies, you know, we're not going to give you pipeline permits. They're not going to drill if they can't hook the wells up to a pipeline because you can't move that natural gas. So we're sending the wrong message. You know, if you want to lower the price of oil and lawyer, lower inflation, the president come out and say, we're going to unleash American energy producers. We can do that. We can do it. We did it. You know, remember before the war in Ukraine. Gas was down around the $2 area and it went up before the war in Ukraine. And because of the policies of canceling pipelines and incentivizing energy companies to not do anything, because they then demonized them. And, you know, we're just going the wrong about this. We can we can transition to a cleaner energy, but we just can't do it overnight. And we let American innovation and technology and I. Mr. SHELLENBERGER, it's a breath of fresh air to hear your testimony today. You made some very good points, I think, when you talk about energy density. That's I learned something there. It makes it makes a lot of sense. I hope some of the other panelists listen to that. We just drove through northern Maine and northern New Hampshire a couple of weeks ago, and even my wife noticed this and she didn't notice a whole lot of things more driving because she's a sleeper, but she knows everybody in the rural areas. They got woodpile up to around their houses that they're going to burn wood. You know why? Because New England has to have heating oil because the state, New York won't let a pipeline to take that Marcellus and Utica Shale from Ohio and Pennsylvania. And so which is cleaner and burn wood. And you're going to see that in Europe, right, Michele? The wood consumption is probably going through the roof. [00:40:27][288.7]

Speaker 4: [00:40:28] Yeah. And they're devastating the native forests because of it. There was this New York Times piece about it. So absolutely, energy density is the driver of environmental. [00:40:35][7.5]

Speaker 6: [00:40:36] Control where we're lowering our standard of living. And we're also, at the same time, not improving the environment. And and it's like I say, America has been a leader in that. And and one comment has made. The question we could do is shut down fossil fuels, shut down the energy economy. Joel, companies default. How about China and India? Why don't you mention that? China and India worst polluters and around all types of pollution. I'm a hard time to go back, but thank you for your testimony. Younger. [00:41:00][24.3]

Speaker 1: [00:41:02] Thank you. The chair recognizes the gentlewoman from New. [00:41:06][3.4]

Speaker 4: [00:41:06] York, Ms.. Ocasio-Cortez, for 5 minutes. [00:41:08][2.4]

Speaker 3: [00:41:09] Thank you so much, Mr. Chair and I. I, unfortunately. I wish I could use all my time on questioning, but I wanted to address Miss Salter directly. I just want you to know that in the four years that I've sat on this committee. I have never seen members of Congress, Republican or Democrat, disrespect a witness in the way that I have seen them disrespect you today. I do not care what party they are in. I've never seen anything like that. And for the gentlemen of Louisiana. And the comfort that he felt. In yelling at you like that. There's more than one way to get a point across. And frankly. Men who treat women like that in public. I fear how they treat them in private. We can be better than this. We don't have to resort to yelling. Moving on. I want to tell a story about last year, back in October of 2021. And frankly and you know what? I'm going to stop as well. I would hope that someone would issue you an apology, but because I don't believe he will. I want to apologize to you. About the conduct of this committee. And what we just witnessed. The people do not deserve to see that and we deserve to put forward a better front. So I just want to let you know that Miss Salter. [00:42:58][109.3]

Speaker 2: [00:43:01] Thank you, ma'am. I just want to thank you. And you've provided so much leadership and courage. They can come for me all day long. [00:43:07][6.6]

Speaker 3: [00:43:08] Well, let's. Let's get them today, then. Let's tell a little story about last year. Back in October of 2021, we held a hearing with fossil fuel executives, including the CEO of ExxonMobil. And what we found in that investigation is that big oil and gas had spent nearly $55.6 million on political lobbying here in Congress and throughout the entire year. And last year, infamously, what was also going on was the development of the Build Back Better Act, which was supposed to be the largest climate action in American history. Now, provisions were saved during the Inflation Reduction Act, but the lobbying, the influence of fossil fuel lobbying during that time was undeniable. Additionally, the American Petroleum Institute had spent more than 2 million and a seven figure ad by spreading misinformation to kill the Build Back Better Act. Dr. Cha, you mentioned fossil fuel companies, not just their lobbying activity, but their public relations campaigns. Now, very quickly, what are some of the platforms and and kind of places that you see some of the PR campaigns placing their their misinformation? [00:44:24][75.8]

Speaker 5: [00:44:25] I see it everywhere on Facebook. I just saw one on TV the other day, you know, things like they always say carbon dioxide, it's life. Those kind of things are the face of the misinformation that they do. [00:44:35][9.6]

Speaker 3: [00:44:35] And so you see them on television, correct? [00:44:37][1.8]

Speaker 5: [00:44:37] All the time. [00:44:38][0.2]

Speaker 3: [00:44:38] YouTube, pre-roll. [00:44:38][0.5]

Speaker 5: [00:44:39] Ads, print ads. [00:44:40][0.8]

Speaker 3: [00:44:40] Print ads, all bullshit, all media. I want to talk a little bit about political newsletters, because those are very targeted towards members of Congress, chiefs of staff and other policymakers here on the Hill. A joint investigation from Gizmodo and the heated newsletter found. And I'd like to submit this to the Congressional Record. I found that oil company advertising exploded in Washington, DC last year in DC based newsletters in the lead up to the October 21 hearing here in this committee, calling fossil fuel executives to testify. For example, between October 1st and October 22nd of 2021, 100% of Politico's Morning Energy Newsletters were sponsored and funded by the fossil fuel industry. This also happened to be when we were in the thick of negotiating the Build Back Better Act and three weeks leading up to a hearing on Big Oil's role in promoting climate misinformation. From October 1st to October 22nd. 63% of Punchbowl newsletters were sponsored by fossil fuel companies or interest groups, and every single one of the morning energy newsletters were sponsored by Big Oil. 62% of Axios generate generate newsletters were sponsored by fossil fuel interests. The Gizmodo investigation points out that these rates are highly unusual. I was wondering, Dr. Drew, if you could speak to how that influences how those types of ads influence the negotiating environment and political and legislative outcomes of what's happening in Congress? [00:46:15][95.0]

Speaker 5: [00:46:16] I think they have a direct influence, of course, because one thing that they do is they mainstream their talking points. So they become very normal, even though what they're saying is quite extreme. They do data, they regularly do full page ads in New York Times to make it seem like they're doing what they need to be doing to make their climate targets, when in fact, we know that is the exact opposite. They've also done things like pretended that they were in favor of carbon taxes, even though they lobby against them and behind the scenes. So what they're trying to do is mainstream and normalize their behavior so that people don't think that what they're doing is so destructive, even though that we know what it is. So destructive. [00:46:48][32.2]

Speaker 3: [00:46:49] Thank you. Thank you. Expired. [00:46:51][1.4]

Speaker 1: [00:46:52] Thank you. Representative Ocasio-Cortez and Representative Cosio. [00:46:56][4.2]

Speaker 4: [00:46:57] Cortez will be chairing the hearing for the remainder of the time until Chairwoman Maloney returns. But before she. [00:47:07][10.2]

Speaker 1: [00:47:07] Assumes the chair, I will recognize the. [00:47:09][2.0]

Speaker 4: [00:47:09] Gentlewoman from New. [00:47:10][0.9]

Speaker 1: [00:47:11] Mexico, Ms.. Harrell, for 5 minutes. [00:47:13][2.2]

Speaker 3: [00:47:13] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Before I get started, I do think that Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez needs to be careful, because Representative Krishnamoorthi often routinely disrespects Republican witnesses like Dr. Scott, Mary, Katherine Hamm and Carrie Lucas. So I think before we start pointing fingers, we need to be very careful about both sides of the aisle. And with that, Mr. Shellenberger, I do have a question because through this committee hearing, I've heard a number of comments. Racial, climate, racism, health of populations that are being impacted. But I just want to ask a question. Looking at research, I've done, you know, face masks, gloves. I've. Tubes, trays, monitors, ventilators, heart valves, replacement arms and limbs. Legs are all made of petroleum products. So what's the backup plan if we go and move so far away from petroleum product development of petroleum products? How are we going to even help these people that need the medical attention that we're talking about or hearing about in this committee today? [00:48:24][70.1]

Speaker 4: [00:48:26] Thank you for the question. I think it's important to put plastics in context. We the first plastics were made out of elephant tusks, sea turtle shells when we called tortoiseshell glasses. Happily, these are not made from sea turtles anymore. They're made out of petrochemical byproducts, a waste byproduct. We have a very good solution, which with what to do with them after you use them, which is to put them in landfills or incinerate them. The dioxins have now been removed from that process. When we attempt to recycle plastics, what's occurred is that they are sent to poor and developing countries that do not have waste management systems and then they make their way into the ocean. So much of the ocean plastic waste problem is a consequence of our efforts in the rich world to recycle products that should be disposed of properly in landfills and incinerators. Now, an attempt to move from petrochemical plastics back to so-called natural plastics bioplastics would have a devastating impact on the natural environment. We've seen with biofuels the devastation of orangutan habitat through palm oil plantations in Southeast Asia. We've seen I'm a big critic and I know it's a big bipartisan issue here, but I do not think that biofuels are the way to go, because what they're doing is they're using landscapes that should be used for critical habitat for endangered species and conservation. You're basically moving from you're moving down the energy ladder from energy dense fuels towards energy, dilutes fuels. So we need we need a proper conversation about what is our strategy here. Most people think that if we move away from fossil fuels, for example, to nuclear, you're still going to use petrochemical byproducts to make plastics, because the environmental benefits are so superior to using bioplastics, which again, are just as devastating environmentally as biofuels. [00:50:16][110.3]

Speaker 3: [00:50:17] Right. And thank you for that, because what is missing in Congress is a transparent and honest conversation about putting the cart before the horse or trying to do away with an industry that is so vital to so many other areas of our lives. And just to switch gears a little bit, I wanted to talk about the and we heard this earlier. The American oil refineries are operating at max capacity and they are producing more, but prices remain high. Can you explain in a nutshell, why is this so? People can really understand both sides because we're vilifying the producers. And I don't think that's a fair thing to do. And maybe you can shed some light on this for sure. Anybody that's bored today and watching this. [00:50:59][42.1]

Speaker 4: [00:50:59] Well, and thank you for the question. And I think speaking to the issue of misinformation, the Biden administration repeatedly claimed that the refiners were not producing all they could when they were at max capacity. In fact, at such maximum capacity, that creates risks of outages from accidents. Right. There was an opportunity for the Biden administration to retrofit a major refinery in the U.S. Virgin Islands. It was an older refinery. It was not as clean as it should have been. There were problems with it, problems that would have been solved through a $3 billion retrofit that the Biden administration killed in the midst of the worst energy crisis in 50 years is completely inexplicable. So in my view, this is you know, this is a completely avoidable crisis and tragedy that we're in. You know, in terms of why do you have those profits like that? Because you're stifling production. There is such a thing as supply and demand. So if you want, in my view, you expand production. You bring down the prices and you reduce the profits. That's what this country did from 2010 to 2020. That's why so many shell frackers lost their businesses or went bankrupt. Huge benefit to the American consumers, even if it actually had negative consequences on some investors. [00:52:06][67.2]

Speaker 3: [00:52:07] Right. And it's sad because this administration could have reversed many of these policies, like the executive orders that have now forced the American people into poverty or into making those tough decisions. Thank you very much for being here. And to all the witnesses. Thank you for coming back. The gentlewoman from Missouri, Ms.. Bush, is recognized for 5 minutes. Thank you, Madam Chair. And thank you to Chairwoman Maloney for convening this important hearing and continuing this critical series. And also, thank you to both panels for your courageous and insightful testimony. This summer, heat waves, wildfires, historic floods have all devastated our communities. In Saint Louis, though, we saw back to back flooding in the same week that was supposed to be it was supposed to only happen once every 1000 years. It was the highest rainfall in one day since records began in 1873. In Kentucky, 39 people died and more than 600 helicopter rescues were carried out. Toxic sites were inundated, and many of our neighbors lost their homes. Many in our community are still recovering from the devastation. The flooding in Saint Louis and elsewhere was driven by the climate crisis, which we know, and it's happening as a result of burning fossil fuels. Tragically, the climate crisis is making these events increasingly common and severe, so we know that they will be even worse next year and the year after that and the year after that. The fossil fuel industry is devastating Saint Louis and communities around the country by continuing to burn fossil fuels further. They are taking home extraordinary profits, causing us to pay more for gas, leaving us less prepared for extra costs associated with disasters at the gas pump and through dangerous emissions. The fossil fuel industry is threatening us directly, especially our black communities. In Saint Louis, we have seen devastation. The flooding was worse in places that already suffer the most at the hands of the climate crisis. And we were hit the hardest by the pandemic. The hardships keep piling on to the same people. People lost their cars. They lost homes. Entire apartment complexes were condemned, putting hundreds of families on the street. Two months later, the consequences are still playing out right now. Ms.. Salter, can you say more about the direct impacts of burning fossil fuels and overcharging gas on black communities specifically? [00:54:34][147.6]

Speaker 2: [00:54:37] No, absolutely. One one thing that I can mention is that, yes, we know the COVID pandemic has exacerbated the disproportionate impact of fossil fuel pollution, particularly on black people who've been more likely to die from the disease. Preliminary science indicates that long standing and inequalities in exposure to air pollution are an especially deadly risk factor for COVID 19. Studies also are showing that there is a relationship between the racist policies of the past that continue to this day like redlining, like housing discrimination and pollution that lead to the extreme heat, the asthma and the flooding that, yes, disproportionately impacts black people and other people of color, black people, most significantly in this country. [00:55:22][45.4]

Speaker 3: [00:55:24] And it's inhumane. The fossil fuel industry is profiting off of the death and destruction in our communities, and they've known it for decades. Furthermore, they're making it unsafe for workers to get to work, creating hazardous workplaces and disproportionately putting low income people at risk in their neighborhoods by continuing to burn fossil fuels. Dr. Cha, can you tell us more about how the burning of fossil fuels is harming workers specifically? [00:55:51][26.7]

Speaker 5: [00:55:53] Well, the fossil fuel industry in general is very dangerous work. We can think about coal mining, oil and gas drilling. It's all those toxics that are released that are needed to release oil and gas from the ground are then directly inhaled by workers. Part of the reason why the fossil fuel industry has higher wages is because it is very dangerous work. So, you know, even when we burn fossil fuels, it's not just carbon dioxide that's released, but there are other pollutants that are released that are dangerous to communities and to workers and to increase profits. Fossil fuel companies often cut safety and safety measures so that they can increase their profits, but all at the expense of workers. [00:56:29][35.9]

Speaker 3: [00:56:34] That, again, is humor. Inhumane. Thank you. And I yield back. The gentleman from Pennsylvania, Mr. Keller, is recognized for 5 minutes. [00:56:43][8.9]

Speaker 1: [00:56:45] Thank you, Chair. [00:56:45][0.5]

Speaker 4: [00:56:45] Ranking Member Kummer and the witnesses. [00:56:47][1.2]

Speaker 1: [00:56:47] For being here today. This Tuesday. [00:56:49][2.2]

Speaker 4: [00:56:50] The President and congressional Democrats met on the South Lawn of the White House to listen to music and celebrate the passage of their massive $740 billion so-called Inflation Reduction Act. I actually referred to it as the Income Reduction Act because it's reducing the income of many hardworking Americans. While President Biden called the IRA the single most important legislation passed in the Congress to combat inflation. [00:57:15][25.1]

Speaker 1: [00:57:17] And Speaker Pelosi said it was beautifully named for all it does. [00:57:20][3.0]

Speaker 4: [00:57:21] The stock market was freefalling to its worst. [00:57:23][2.3]

Speaker 1: [00:57:24] Day in. [00:57:25][1.3]

Speaker 4: [00:57:25] Over two years. That morning, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported an August inflation rate of 8.3%. Put differently. [00:57:33][8.0]

Speaker 1: [00:57:34] Since last August. [00:57:35][1.0]

Speaker 4: [00:57:35] Unchecked Democrat spending, including the IRA, has taken one month's income from every American. 8.3%. So every American just lost one month of their income. [00:57:49][13.4]

Speaker 1: [00:57:50] But rather. [00:57:51][0.2]

Speaker 4: [00:57:55] Then ironically adding to the very. [00:57:57][1.9]

Speaker 1: [00:57:57] Problem was in. [00:57:58][0.6]

Speaker 4: [00:57:58] Name to combat the Inflation Reduction Act ensures energy prices will continue to rise. Mr.. Shellenberger. Just a couple of questions. It's my understanding that by 2050, the need for energy around the globe will increase by about 50%. Is that correct? Yes, sir. And currently, is it correct that we get roughly 60% or maybe a little bit more of our energy from natural gas, oil, coal? Yes. Okay. So while we need to increase 50%, there's people that want to eliminate 60% or a little bit more of how we currently get our energy. Yes, that's correct. I guess it's going to get a lot more hotter in this building over the upcoming years. We should probably turn off the air conditioning here first. Quite frankly, in lead by example. Maybe the president should lead by example. In practice, mail, in balloting, rather than flying Air Force One and his motorcade to go vote or plan to do it when he was on one of his vacation days already in Delaware. Instead of making a special trip. But anyway, I'm sorry. [00:59:09][71.0]

Speaker 1: [00:59:10] I don't mean to digress, but in light of the hundreds of billions of dollars. [00:59:14][3.8]

Speaker 4: [00:59:14] Invested in the IRA, how viable is an energy agenda that. [00:59:18][4.6]

Speaker 1: [00:59:19] Excludes fossil fuels? [00:59:20][0.9]

Speaker 4: [00:59:21] Well, we're seeing it play out in my home state of California, where we've done the biggest investments in renewables by far. And we announced on August 25th that we were going to phase out internal combustion engines. And on August 30th, we asked people not to charge their electric cars between four and 9 p.m.. So we are absolutely not prepared. We came so close to blackouts that they've been burning kerosene and diesel. And by the way, I share the concern with environmental justice expressed here. The kerosene and diesel that they're burning in California is because we weren't burning enough natural gas and because we shut down our nuclear plants, which has more emissions than the kerosene and diesel or natural gas. Significantly more emissions from the kerosene and diesel, sir, I would have thought that. But in in terms of renewables, it's the problem with the energy density. You know, we know that solar and wind projects require 300% more copper, 700% more rare earths. Wind, solar and batteries require 1,000% more steel, concrete and glass, 300% more copper. I mentioned 4,200% more lithium. We're talking significant increase of the material intensity of energy that is by definition going to cause inflation that is going to make energy more expensive. The reason renewables make electricity expensive is for fundamental physical reasons that cannot be overcome by technological innovation. To give you a sense of it, sir, solar panel efficiencies, the conversion of sunlight, electricity improved by 2% over the last decade. The reason the Chinese were able to make them so cheap is because they were using basically slave labor of weaker Muslims coal and they made huge subsidies so that they could bankrupt other solar energy firms around the world. So this is we're headed down an extremely dangerous path. We see in Europe and around the world, we're going to have hundreds of millions of unnecessary additional deaths from cold, from hunger and from air pollution because of the war on gas. [01:01:15][114.8]

Speaker 1: [01:01:17] Well. [01:01:17][0.0]

Speaker 4: [01:01:18] To charge the batteries on the electric cars, we have to burn something or we have to generate the electricity somehow. And I guess that's why we're having the problems in California. My concern would be that if if I'm in California and I've gotten home from work and I can't charge my car when I get home and I. [01:01:36][17.5]

Speaker 1: [01:01:36] Have a child. [01:01:36][0.2]

Speaker 4: [01:01:36] That maybe has an emergency and has to go to the hospital. What I do when I don't have enough electricity to get them there. No, I can tell you a story about that. My son, when he was three, had a head injury and we took him to the doctor and they drove him to the hospital. If I were to run out of gas, he would have died. I think we really need to think about the policies that we're forcing on the Americans. And if Americans want electric vehicles or they want green energy, they want to do this stuff. It should be up to them. I see the chart here behind Ms.. Cortez about the profits. You know who owns those companies? Pension systems. Americans who have for one case, thrift savings plan. A lot of government employees are invested in those. [01:02:19][42.3]

Speaker 1: [01:02:19] Companies, too. [01:02:19][0.5]

Speaker 4: [01:02:20] And again. [01:02:21][1.1]

Speaker 1: [01:02:22] I don't think anybody should be price gouging, but. [01:02:24][2.2]

Speaker 4: [01:02:24] We call it price gouging. They were they tried to attempt to call it that. How come we don't call it price gouging when they raise taxes to send 87,000 IRS agents out. [01:02:32][8.0]

Speaker 1: [01:02:33] To comb through the. [01:02:34][1.7]

Speaker 4: [01:02:35] Finances of hardworking Americans? There was an amendment that said they couldn't use it for that. They want me to expire because they don't want to hear the truth. [01:02:42][6.5]

Speaker 3: [01:02:42] But the truth of the matter is. 50 seconds over your limit, sir. Thank you. I apologize. Well, actually, I don't. That's the rules. And for the record, my last name is Ocasio-Cortez. The gentleman from Vermont, Mr. Welch, is recognized for 5 minutes. [01:02:58][15.8]

Speaker 1: [01:02:59] Oh, thank you very much. You know, the question is no longer whether climate change is real. The question. [01:03:08][9.5]

Speaker 4: [01:03:09] Is whether. [01:03:09][0.3]

Speaker 1: [01:03:10] The fossil. [01:03:10][0.2]

Speaker 4: [01:03:11] Fuel companies are going to help us make that transition to clean energy. And many of my colleagues in pointing. [01:03:18][7.3]

Speaker 1: [01:03:18] Out some of the challenges. Those are real. But what the. [01:03:22][3.5]

Speaker 4: [01:03:22] Inflation Reduction Act did was for the first time. [01:03:25][3.1]

Speaker 1: [01:03:27] Establish governmental policies that then can be used by the private sector, including energy companies, if they take on the challenge to start. [01:03:38][11.3]

Speaker 4: [01:03:38] Moving us to clean energy. [01:03:40][1.8]

Speaker 1: [01:03:41] And make the adjustments we have to in order to make it work. My concern about the energy companies is that two things. One, when we had this. [01:03:54][13.1]

Speaker 4: [01:03:55] Spike in prices. [01:03:56][1.2]

Speaker 1: [01:03:58] They had an option. They could take. [01:04:00][2.7]

Speaker 4: [01:04:01] Advantage of it with their market power. [01:04:02][1.4]

Speaker 1: [01:04:02] Because we are dependent on getting our kids to school. We are dependent on keeping the lights on. We are in an inflationary environment and what they did was stick it to the consumers. They have the record profits. They'd survive quite well if they were in quarter two in 2021 instead of quarter. [01:04:25][22.7]

Speaker 4: [01:04:26] 2022 and use that for stock buybacks. Use that for dividend increases. [01:04:31][5.6]

Speaker 1: [01:04:32] They had another. [01:04:33][0.3]

Speaker 3: [01:04:33] Option. [01:04:33][0.0]

Speaker 1: [01:04:34] Lighten up on the stock options. [01:04:35][1.1]

Speaker 4: [01:04:36] Lighten up on the dividends and try to help the consumers get through this. Now the second. [01:04:43][6.7]

Speaker 1: [01:04:43] Thing. [01:04:43][0.0]

Speaker 4: [01:04:45] Is greenwashing, which you've talked about. They know these companies. [01:04:49][4.3]

Speaker 3: [01:04:51] They're talking clean. [01:04:51][0.8]

Speaker 4: [01:04:52] Energy is appealing to consumers. [01:04:55][2.8]

Speaker 1: [01:04:56] But clean energy does not happen because of advertising. [01:05:00][4.3]

Speaker 4: [01:05:01] It happens because of investment. [01:05:03][1.3]

Speaker 1: [01:05:05] And we are going to need these companies to make investments to help us. And if they make those investments and we have a grid that can transmit that power that's being produced. [01:05:16][10.6]

Speaker 4: [01:05:16] By wind in Iowa to a place in a metropolitan area in Illinois, that is what we're going to need. [01:05:23][6.2]

Speaker 1: [01:05:24] Dr. Webber. Is there a threat. [01:05:28][3.6]

Speaker 4: [01:05:29] To our well-being if we don't invest in clean energy. [01:05:34][4.4]

Speaker 1: [01:05:34] And solving the challenges of getting the clean energy, air and wind and solar to where it's needed? [01:05:40][5.9]

Speaker 8: [01:05:42] I think there's an immediate threat and there is a threat that also goes through a number of important economic channels. So, first of all, these exploding fossil fuel prices unsettle the whole of the American economy, landing us in the kind of inflation crises that we find ourselves in, which hits the victims of climate change, black and brown communities first and foremost. Secondly, it undermines other industries that would actually make productive investments, because if profits explode in one sector, it becomes an incomparably more attractive to put all the money into the fossil fuels sector rather than into sectors that we need to build up, to build up a cleaner economy, to build an economy that actually is sustainable for the American people. [01:06:29][46.3]

Speaker 1: [01:06:30] All right. So we have some energy companies in Vermont that are actually investing in clean energy. They see their role as. [01:06:36][5.9]

Speaker 4: [01:06:36] Making that transition because the the the impact of carbon fuels, which is how they power their electricity, are having an adverse effect. They don't deny. [01:06:46][10.1]

Speaker 1: [01:06:46] It. They acknowledge it. [01:06:47][0.7]

Speaker 4: [01:06:47] And they're helping homeowners retrofit their homes. They're helping them install. [01:06:51][3.3]

Speaker 1: [01:06:52] Heat. [01:06:52][0.0]

Speaker 4: [01:06:52] Pumps. They're helping them do practical things that can bring their bills down and give them reliable energy. Is that a viable approach or a decision for some of these major energy companies to take as opposed to doing the greenwashing, as opposed to spending so much time in the propaganda that climate change doesn't exist? Dr.. [01:07:11][18.9]

Speaker 5: [01:07:13] Yes, absolutely. I think what you detail is a very good example of what the fossil industry can do to help us transition to a cleaner sources. [01:07:19][6.2]

Speaker 1: [01:07:20] All right. Mr.. [01:07:21][0.9]

Speaker 2: [01:07:25] Unfortunately, the fossil fuel industry has shown that they have absolutely no intention of investing in clean energy because fossil fuels are their most valuable asset. This has been at the heart of the deception and the so. [01:07:39][14.0]

Speaker 4: [01:07:39] They got assets in the ground. They want to defend them and keep selling gas for five bucks. Or now I guess it's four bucks a gallon. [01:07:45][5.6]

Speaker 2: [01:07:46] That's correct. They have they have shown limited willingness to invest and they want to protect product, protect their core asset, which is fossil fuels. [01:07:58][11.5]

Speaker 1: [01:07:58] All right. [01:07:59][0.1]

Speaker 4: [01:07:59] I yield back. Thank you. [01:08:00][0.9]

Speaker 3: [01:08:02] The gentleman from Georgia, Mr. Clyde, is recognized for 5 minutes. [01:08:05][3.0]

Speaker 4: [01:08:06] Thank you, Madam Chairwoman. We are here today because of Democrats desire to continue a sham investigation, which has been ongoing now for over a year. Last year, Democrats threatened the oil and gas industry with subpoenas months before even inviting them to a hearing. Despite the appearance of oil and gas CEOs at a six hour committee hearing on October the 28th. Last year, Chairwoman Maloney still subpoenaed all the hearing witnesses for documents. Right now, we should be talking about skyrocketing gas and oil prices and what can be done to help Americans. However, that is not the purpose of this hearing today, because Democrats are out of touch with the reality that millions of Americans are experiencing inflation. But this is not surprising because during a hearing last October, Democrats asked Mike Wirth, Are you embarrassed as an American company that your production is going up? Really? Why would he be embarrassed that production is increasing? Fossil fuel is an imperative for our country to properly function. And it is stunning that people in this hearing room actually think that we can eliminate fossil fuel. Do you know that everything made from plastics comes from fossil fuels in the petro chemical industry? Do you drink water from a plastic bottle? You get hand sanitizer from a plastic bottle. Do you have a laptop computer? A television? How about the glasses that you wear? Or even. The easel back there. That's holding that sign has plastic on it. How about the installation of electrical wire? Electrical wire of which you could not. [01:09:53][107.3]

Speaker 1: [01:09:54] Build an electric vehicle. [01:09:55][0.9]

Speaker 4: [01:09:56] Without installation on electric wire? And that comes from hydrocarbons. All of it comes from hydrocarbons. So moving away from plastics made from hydrocarbons is clearly, clearly a recipe for disaster. But if we're going to move away from it, what are we moving toward? What is the substitute? There is not one. Not only are Democrats out of touch, but they are clearly deflecting our attention from the fact that neither the Democrats in Congress or the Biden administration have a plan to address the energy crisis. One day, President Biden commits to commit to cutting gas pollution in half by 2030 and the next. President Biden attacks the domestic companies for not producing enough energy over the 4th of July weekend this past summer. President Biden's stoop so low as to demand that gas stations abide by his will, asking small businesses to cut prices across the country as the solution to his failed anti-oil and gas policies. I would like to ask unanimous consent to submit for the record this article that was published by the National Review on July six, 2020 to. [01:10:59][62.9]

Speaker 3: [01:11:00] Without objection. So ordered. [01:11:01][0.8]

Speaker 1: [01:11:01] Thank you. [01:11:02][0.3]

Speaker 4: [01:11:02] Biden's shameful gas station attack. Mr. Shellenberger, as you know, Plante Vogel reactors three and four in Georgia are the only two nuclear power reactors to be built in decades in America. And my Georgia constituents will benefit from it every day with inexpensive and clean energy. And by the way, thank you for your testimony concerning energy density, as it was very enlightening to see where actually the energy. [01:11:28][26.0]

Speaker 1: [01:11:29] You know. [01:11:29][0.2]

Speaker 4: [01:11:30] Of each particular product rests on the ladder of energy density. That was that was I hope every person in this hearing room really takes that to heart. So what role do you think nuclear energy should play in meeting America's current and more importantly, future energy or energy needs? Thank you for the question, sir. I mean, nuclear is the queen of power of all sources of electricity. It's the most environmentally sound. It's the most secure. And, of course, it's always been a huge priority for every presidential administration in the United States because it is a dual use technology. It always has been. It's a serious issue. We need to significantly expand. We need a green nuclear deal, not a renewables expansion that would increase our dependance on China. We need to reduce our dependance. Nuclear is the key to that. My concern, sir, is that we've we're losing the valuable intellectual property and skills that were developed among welders and pipefitters and other workers to build the Vogel plants. We need we need industrial security in the United States. That's what Russia invasion of Ukraine shows. And that means that we need a plan to build out nuclear. Take it from it's today, 19% to 50% of electricity between now and 2050. We've always had a national champions model. The right model is two major nuclear plant building firms. We might have one partnership with the Japanese, French or Koreans, but we need to expand nuclear power. It's a national security imperative at this point, sir. Well, thank you. I certainly agree with you on that. And it's it's a shame that we have only seen two nuclear plants in the last 40 to 50 years come online. I think we need more to thank you for that. And with that, I yield back. [01:13:16][106.4]

Speaker 3: [01:13:17] Thank you. The gentleman from Florida, Miss Wasserman Schultz, is recognized for 5 minutes. [01:13:21][4.1]

Speaker 1: [01:13:25] Thank you, Madam Chair. The future costs and effects of climate change are something that weighs heavily on both my mind and the minds of the future. Costs and effects of climate change is something that weighs heavily on both my mind and the minds of so many Americans. But climate change is already costing taxpayers billions of dollars from extreme weather events. If fossil fuel companies are left unchecked. [01:13:46][21.0]

Speaker 3: [01:13:46] The price tag will be astronomical. [01:13:48][1.2]

Speaker 1: [01:13:49] This problem. [01:13:49][0.2]

Speaker 3: [01:13:50] Is so apparent that even the Trump. [01:13:52][1.9]

Speaker 1: [01:13:52] Administration admitted that failing to combat climate change could cost the United States more than 10%. [01:13:57][4.9]

Speaker 3: [01:13:58] Of its GDP each year. [01:13:59][1.1]

Speaker 1: [01:14:00] Now, we've just heard the stories of some of the victims and survivors of climate related disasters earlier today. Last year. The United. [01:14:08][8.1]

Speaker 3: [01:14:08] States faced 20 separate. [01:14:10][1.6]

Speaker 1: [01:14:11] Billion dollar weather and climate disasters in 2020. [01:14:13][2.8]

Speaker 3: [01:14:15] We faced $22 billion climate fueled disasters in my home state of Florida, sunny day flooding. [01:14:20][5.8]

Speaker 1: [01:14:21] Storm surge, king tides, saltwater. [01:14:23][2.2]

Speaker 3: [01:14:24] Intrusions. They all push our infrastructure to the limit. [01:14:26][2.4]

Speaker 1: [01:14:27] This water intrusion, exacerbated by climate change, is a daily reality for Floridians. According to Noah, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, climate and weather. [01:14:36][9.6]

Speaker 3: [01:14:37] Disasters have. [01:14:38][0.9]

Speaker 1: [01:14:38] Cost us $1,000,000,000,000 over the last six years. We've been fortunate so far this hurricane season, but the 2020 and 2021 seasons with some of the worst in recorded history, dangerous storms like we've seen. [01:14:49][11.3]

Speaker 3: [01:14:49] Decimate. [01:14:49][0.0]

Speaker 1: [01:14:50] Communities in Florida and Texas and Louisiana, and they're becoming more frequent and more intense. Mark Salter, are the costs of climate disasters expected to grow this year? And if so, what do you think is causing the increase? [01:15:02][12.0]

Speaker 2: [01:15:05] The costs of climate inaction are growing and they will continue to grow as we let the fossil fuel industry go unchecked. And really, the devastating irony is that while the fossil fuel industry stands to lose profits from climate action, the rest of us have so much to gain. A recent study from Deloitte found that inaction on climate change could cost the world's economy $178 trillion by 2070. But if global leaders were to act, we could look at gains of $43 trillion by 20 2070. [01:15:41][36.3]

Speaker 1: [01:15:44] Thank you. [01:15:44][0.3]

Speaker 3: [01:15:44] In fact, as of July 11th of this year, Noah estimated that we've. [01:15:48][3.7]

Speaker 1: [01:15:48] Experienced over $200 billion in disaster costs this year alone. Since then, flooding knocked out Jackson, Mississippi's water supply. Record to heat has scorched Utah. The Colorado River has dried up, and California is fighting multiple unprecedented climate crises. [01:16:03][14.1]

Speaker 3: [01:16:03] Simply put, it's an economic imperative that we move off of fossil fuels in addition. [01:16:08][4.6]

Speaker 1: [01:16:08] To cost to individuals and. [01:16:10][1.2]

Speaker 3: [01:16:10] Taxpayers. Our continued dependance. [01:16:11][1.6]

Speaker 1: [01:16:12] On. [01:16:12][0.0]

Speaker 3: [01:16:12] Fossil fuels hurts workers. [01:16:13][1.2]

Speaker 1: [01:16:14] And I'd like to address the myth perpetuated by Big Oil. And my Republican colleagues at the fossil fuel industry provides, quote, good, stable jobs. [01:16:21][7.1]

Speaker 3: [01:16:22] In reality, the fossil. [01:16:23][1.1]

Speaker 1: [01:16:23] Fuel industry. [01:16:24][0.3]

Speaker 3: [01:16:24] Has abandoned workers after fossil fuel. [01:16:26][2.3]

Speaker 1: [01:16:26] Companies received billions of dollars in tax breaks and COVID relief. [01:16:30][3.1]

Speaker 3: [01:16:30] Bills. They laid off tens of thousands of workers. So, Dr.. [01:16:33][3.6]

Speaker 1: [01:16:34] Char, have fossil fuel companies made a concerted effort to rehire those workers? [01:16:38][4.3]

Speaker 5: [01:16:39] They have not. They have not. The fossil fuel workforce has not rebounded to the size that it was before the pandemic. And wages are not matched to what they were before the pandemic. [01:16:47][7.6]

Speaker 3: [01:16:49] And Dr. Charlie, you testified. [01:16:49][0.8]

Speaker 1: [01:16:50] On, quote, equity washing, where companies are messaging concern for communities of color and workers and energy transition while engaging in activities that actively harm these same interests. How else has Big Oil's equity washing concealed? How it harms workers? [01:17:04][13.6]

Speaker 5: [01:17:05] I mean, the first issue is that they claim to be concerned about climate change, but they have no intention of moving away from fossil fuels. So the fundamental to a just transition is a transition. And yet we see these fossil fuel worker companies continue to expand their operations. And part of the reason why they have such high profits is that they are not paying their workers what they deserve to be paid. [01:17:24][19.3]

Speaker 3: [01:17:27] And how can we. [01:17:27][0.5]

Speaker 1: [01:17:27] Make sure that the historic investments in the Inflation Reduction Act usher in a true and just transition for workers? You know, I'm really tired of the, you know, flapping of lips on environmental justice from some of these companies and, you know, companies that supposedly want to help neighborhoods actually get through a transition. But then they turn around and and economically devastate these communities, either through not paying them what they should be or continuing to expand, not contract their fossil fuel investment. So how can we make sure that those historic investments are actually going to result in a just transition for workers? [01:18:08][40.2]

Speaker 5: [01:18:09] You know, I think that there is much more that can be done. But I think that the fundamental point is that we are investing in a clean energy transition. And I think it's important also to point out that, you know, there's a lot of talk about fossil fuel companies, but the reason why they were able to expand their productions in the first place was because of government investments and subsidies and research. So the fact that we are investing in the clean energy transition is the same as what we did to grow the fossil fuel industry. And in that way, as we can transition away from fossil fuels, it is the best way to protect workers. [01:18:37][27.6]

Speaker 1: [01:18:39] Thank you so much. I yield back the balance of time I don't have. [01:18:41][2.6]

Speaker 3: [01:18:42] Thank you. The gentleman from Kansas, Mr. La Turner, is recognized for 5 minutes. Oh. [01:18:47][5.1]

Speaker 1: [01:18:48] Thank you, Madam Chair. Mr. Shellenberger, how are you today? [01:18:50][2.6]

Speaker 4: [01:18:51] Good, sir. Thank you very much. Good. [01:18:53][2.3]

Speaker 1: [01:18:54] Can you speak at all to the market influences that contribute. [01:18:56][2.3]

Speaker 4: [01:18:56] To oil companies profits? Well, yes. I mean, essentially it's supply and demand. So when you when there's when there's insufficient supply and demand rebounds as it has, that's why you have these big profits. [01:19:11][14.7]

Speaker 1: [01:19:13] Thank you. In your opinion, where did the negative misconceptions about fossil fuels originate and what has caused people to give credence to them over time? [01:19:20][7.1]

Speaker 4: [01:19:22] Well, the originally concern with fossil fuels was that they provide for abundance, prosperity, and they are the power of civilization. I mean, I've traced that back in my book Apocalypse Never. This is well before any concerns about climate change, there was an effort to repress fossil fuel development, particularly in developing nations like Bangladesh, because of the concerns of so-called overpopulation. These were often racist concerns, expressed Malthusian concerns. That's how it began. Climate change is just the latest justification for the war on natural gas, for example. [01:19:54][32.9]

Speaker 1: [01:19:57] Can you talk briefly about the economic impact of the shale revolution in America? [01:20:01][4.6]

Speaker 4: [01:20:03] I mean, it was a huge as I mentioned, the studies are very clear on this. It was a net benefit to the consumers at a level of about $100 billion a year in the form of lower energy prices. That's about $1,000,000,000,000 between 2010 and 2020. That was a period that that came at the cost of many oil and gas companies, which went bankrupt or lost significant amounts of money. Lots of Wall Street money was lost in subsidizing cheap energy for American consumers. So it's one of the maybe it's one of the greatest technological innovation, success stories in American history. [01:20:33][30.4]

Speaker 1: [01:20:36] Can you explain the environmental trade off those made when the United States shuts down natural gas production in a rush to transition to renewable forms of energy? In other words, will the actions that the administration has taken to shut down domestic natural gas production reduce emissions proportionately? Or does that decision come with offsets from other types of types of energy production? [01:20:56][20.8]

Speaker 4: [01:20:57] No. In fact, it's increasing air pollution. I mentioned the kerosene and diesel that's been burned disproportionately in neighborhoods of color in California. But also, we've seen this is going to be the biggest year of coal burning on record. Even though we had been reducing our dependance on coal both in the United States and globally because of cheap and abundant natural gas, coal use is also increasing in the United States, even though it had been declining over the last decade. So yeah, I mean, the impact, the environmental impacts of the war on natural gas are extremely serious and severe. [01:21:28][31.3]

Speaker 1: [01:21:30] You spoke to this earlier, but could you expand on the global humanitarian impacts, particularly for poor countries without efficient means of energy production, cutting domestic LNG production and rushing our transition to renewable energy? [01:21:43][12.5]

Speaker 4: [01:21:44] It's devastating. I mentioned before that Europe has seen its fertilizer production decline by 70%. This is bonkers. Of course, there's three forms of fertilizer, one of which is made from natural gas. Fertilizer is essential to feeding a world of 8 billion people. We could only feed half of that number without synthetic fertilizers. We've also I also mentioned we're seeing we saw the government of Sri Lanka fall because of a food and energy crisis. We're seeing other governments are going to fall or be destabilized by high energy prices. People will starve. People will die because of expensive, scarce energy. So the impacts, we're just not awake to it enough in the United States, in my view, I think we're being too provincial about this problem. We benefit from abundant energy more than our European allies do, but they are in absolute crisis mode right now. They're going to ration energy this winter. [01:22:37][52.2]

Speaker 1: [01:22:38] I've said in the past that compromising our energy independence, a net exporter status is a national security threat, and I firmly believe that. Would you agree with that statement? And what steps do you think can be taken to avoid compromising ourselves to Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Russia or other nations for energy? [01:22:56][17.8]

Speaker 4: [01:22:57] Yeah. I mean, look, it's it's just as insane as it looks for biting to go and beg the Saudis and beg the Venezuelans to produce more oil when we could be producing it here. It's also worse for the environment because you have to transport it. So that's a huge problem. The other issue is trying to is we need to repatriate solar panel production to the United States before expanding it. We should not be importing any solar panels from China. This is a fundamental, categorical moral imperative to stop importing solar panels from people that are making them from effectively slave labor. We say we're concerned around Muslim rights, not showing it by importing solar panels and much of the inflation reduction acts. So expansion of renewables depends on Chinese solar. So this is a dangerous game that we're playing. These industries need to be repatriated. But I think longer term we need a vision of gas and nuclear and hydrogen. These are domestic fuels that we can produce in abundance and helping to achieve both energy security, prosperity and radical decarbonization. [01:23:59][61.8]

Speaker 1: [01:24:01] I wish I had more time. You've been an excellent witness. I yield back, Madam Chair. [01:24:04][3.3]

Speaker 4: [01:24:05] Thank you. [01:24:05][0.2]

Speaker 3: [01:24:05] Congressman. The gentleman from Georgia, Mr. Johnson, is recognized for 5 minutes. [01:24:09][4.1]

Speaker 1: [01:24:12] Thank you. Like listening to the MAGA Republicans. The witnesses speak about things that need to be done that Democrats just did in the Inflation Reduction Act. In mid-June, the national average gas price was about $5, nearly double the price for the same time last year. And as a result, big oil made record profits while Americans got squeezed and sold. You know, Americans are getting tired of the situation where no matter what happens, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer and the middle class get squeezed. And with their billions dollars, with their billions of dollars in profits, do you think big oil executives will be the ones battered by the hurricanes? No. They'll just pay more for sand on their private beaches or they'll sell their beach homes and go to someplace less battered. Does anyone think these executives face the same asthma and cancer rates as the black and brown communities which breathe the toxic air caused by the products that they sell? No big oil companies will enjoy record profits, and big oil executives will enjoy record profits as black and brown and low income communities disproportionately experience disproportionate sickness and death due to their greed. But if you check any big oil companies website, you'll get a different narrative. These companies tout major pledges to reduce emissions, and these pledges are false misinformation because the truth is that big oil companies are doing virtually nothing to help with this crisis that they greatly contribute to because they are perfectly happy with the status quo. Recently, Congress acted and passed the Inflation Reduction Act without a single extremist MAGA Republican vote that would move the nation towards decreasing our reliance on fossil fuels. Big oil can do what other responsible companies are doing, and that is leverage the tax credits and other investments in the I.R.A. along with their gratuitous profits to build clean energy infrastructure in this country. Failure to act means that they will be left behind while other companies reap the benefits. Big oil companies are well positioned to live up to their climate pledges, and we can no longer allow their baseless promises to suffice for inaction on climate change, which is real and on which we must act with or without MAGA extremist Republicans. Dr. Weber, This year, Exxon Mobil, the country's largest oil company, reported its net profit more than doubled to $5.5 billion from a year earlier. The high price of gas this summer put more money into the pockets of executives at Shell Hole, shareholders at Shell, Exxon Mobil, Chevron and BP, but left some Americans straining to make ends meet. As a professor of economics, can you make the case that oil companies have engaged in profiteering and price gouging to achieve record profits during a period of global uncertainty? [01:27:41][209.7]

Speaker 8: [01:27:45] Thank you, sir. Reading through the earnings calls of fossil fuel companies, we can see that they very explicitly have pursued a strategy that they call being disciplined on investment. In other words, they have very consciously not increased production in the ways in which they could have. Now, that might be good for that should be good for climate change, but it's first and foremost good for their own profit. So their motivation. [01:28:09][24.1]

Speaker 1: [01:28:10] Is, oh, they created they they created the supply and demand situation just so that they could reap the handsome profits. [01:28:19][9.1]

Speaker 8: [01:28:20] It's a situation where they have higher profits on lower volumes. Now, if you can produce less and make more money from it, would you start producing more? That's the rationale behind what they're doing. [01:28:33][13.0]

Speaker 1: [01:28:34] So there's nothing sacrosanct about this law of supply and demand that that previous witness talked about. Let me move on, Mr. Salter. Greenwashing is when an industry works hard to make their image is clean and allied with those concerned about climate change as possible. Big Oil spends millions on their greenwashing campaigns to mislead the public on their actual carbon emissions and impact on climate change. BP, for example, vowed to reduce investments in fossil fuel extractions, but actually increased them. And Exxon Mobil has a goal to reach net zero emissions by 2050, but increased its production by 4% in the first quarter of 2022. Ms.. Salter, do you believe that Big Oil's pledges are sincere? [01:29:30][55.9]

Speaker 2: [01:29:31] They are absolutely insincere. They have no intention of wavering from selling their core product, which is fossil fuels. They are, be it for carbon capture and sequestration, which they know will not work to pushing so-called solutions like renewable natural gas. Their their modus is to continue to produce throughout whatever transition may happen and continue to push states like New York that are trying to move away from fossil fuels to include these false solutions in our energy plans. [01:30:03][32.1]

Speaker 3: [01:30:05] Thank you. [01:30:05][0.3]

Speaker 1: [01:30:06] Thank you. My time has expired. No, you bet. [01:30:08][2.1]

Speaker 3: [01:30:09] Thank you. The gentleman from Nebraska, Mr. Flood, is recognized for 5 minutes. [01:30:12][3.9]

Speaker 4: [01:30:13] Thank you, Madam Chair. The past several months have put the debate over energy into perspective. Russia's invasion of Ukraine was a global energy supply shock. That shock has underscored the importance of reliable and affordable energy. Europe has long been too dependent on Russian oil and gas, while countries like Germany have aggressively pursued renewables. They still depended on fossil fuels from Russia to keep their economy running. Now that their fossil fuel source is restricted, those countries are now struggling to power their economies. Germany has mandated a ban on illuminated advertisements and new nationwide temperature requirements in public buildings to save fuel. The French president is calling on his countrymen to reduce energy consumption by 10% over the coming weeks. If people can't hit that energy reduction goal on their own, the government will start enforcing mandatory energy cuts. Lest we forget, winter is coming. Our friends in Europe are sadly going to see a bigger energy crunch when temperatures drop. I think we need to take this news from Europe as a cautionary tale. Every economy is dependent on energy. We are fortunate in the United States because we have plenty of reliable sources of energy within our boundaries. And I do support. A mix of these energy sources. But I have a question for Mr. Shellenberger. Can you talk about the massive renewable energy incentives, including with included in President Biden's latest IRA bill? Do you think these incentives will meaningfully increase U.S. energy production overall? Thank you for the question, sir. And before I answer, let me just add one thing to that, which is that the Biden administration and the IRA are basically pursuing the same strategy that Europe pursued, which is shutting down domestic natural gas production and increasing reliance on weather dependent renewables. That's why Europe got itself into the trouble it got into. And what's happening here, repeating that that error, despite the fact that we can all see the disastrous consequences of it. I think there's issues of we need to with renewables. What you get are two problems. One is that you don't have the power you need, which is why California, despite having been having deployed so much solar panels, ran out of energy when we needed it over the last couple of weeks when we were near blackouts, but also produces too much electricity when you don't need it. Which is why California has to pay Arizona to take our excess power from us during periods of low energy demand and high solar output. So I'm not sure if I'm answering your question or not, sir, but I think what you need is for electricity to work well. You need to match supply and demand at any given moment. Anytime you take energy out of the electrical grid and bring it back on, you're paying an energy penalty of somewhere between 20 and 40%, which increases costs. So any additional unreliability added into electricity increases the number of people and machinery required to deliver electricity and therefore increase costs. Real briefly and I don't have a lot of time, but I know that you are a proponent of nuclear energy. And I want to ask you, what role do you think nuclear energy plays in this? And also, could you briefly touch on nuclear micro reactors? I'm interested to know what you think. Sure. And let me say two on nuclear. What's important to remember is that if we aren't helping our allies and other nations around the world to build nuclear power plants, Russia and China will. And because it is a dual use technology, we've always recognized what it is. We've always had a policy in the United States government to be involved in nuclear power plant construction abroad. Well, we're not getting those those contracts with nations abroad to build nuclear power plants, because we're not building nuclear power plants at home. We need a strategy to build nuclear at home. So we have the workforce that's capable then of building plants abroad. That's what Korea, Japan and France have all been involved with. We've got to get back in the nuclear game. We've seen that Saudi Arabia has been working with China, China, the Chinese, to both do uranium extraction from seawater, uranium enrichment and build nuclear power plants. I think most people on both sides of the aisle in the Congress recognize the threat that is to national security. Micro reactors talk about that. There's all we have micro reactors today. They're in submarines and aircraft carriers. They have a near flawless record of operation. The Russians are now using them for icebreakers. I think they're important, but I think we have to just keep in mind that the basic physics of energy continue to apply. Larger reactors require fewer workers and cost per unit of energy, and so they produce the cheapest form of power. So in general, if you're going to significantly expand nuclear, the main event remains large, large light water reactors. Thank you, Mr. Shellenberger. But I'd like to say is we need a well balanced approach to energy. Renewables can and should be a part of that approach. But this administration, in my opinion, seems intent to pursue a path forward with only renewables. And I do not think that sustainable. And I think if if we want to see what the future is for America, watch Europe, watch what happens this winter. It's dangerous. And it's dangerous for Europe. And it will be dangerous and is dangerous for America. Thank you, Madam Chair. I yield back. [01:35:15][301.8]

Speaker 3: [01:35:16] Thank you. The gentlewoman from Illinois, Ms.. Kelly, is recognized for 5 minutes. Thank you, Madam Chair, and thank you to the witnesses. Most scientists agree that renewable energy is the only path to quickly addressing climate change and energy independence. At the same time, we must face the facts. If we go to big oil every time there's an energy crisis, it will keep giving us self-serving and costly solutions. Big Oil is ill equipped to address energy crisis, but well-equipped to exploit them as long as Russia supplies a substantial amount of oil and gas on the global market. Putin will have control over us. Big oil is only too happy for this outcome. So I agree with the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, when he says we need, quote, urgent action to grab the low hanging fruit of transforming energy systems away from the dead end of fossil fuels to renewable energy, unquote. Renewable energy technologies providing enormous opportunity. That's why the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act, or IRA, invest hundreds of billions of dollars in domestic clean energy. Professor Cha, with the IRA, help the United States become energy independent. [01:36:26][70.5]

Speaker 5: [01:36:28] Absolutely. The best way for us to become energy independent is to transition to clean energy. And that area is a significant downpayment on that transition. [01:36:34][6.7]

Speaker 3: [01:36:36] By investing in clean, renewable energy produced here with prevailing wages, we are becoming energy independent for the long haul. We will create union jobs at home, become global technology leaders, and insulate ourselves from global energy shocks and disruptions. Dr. Weber As there are lessons we can learn here from China's re industrialization, that we can apply in our own renewable energy investments. [01:37:00][23.8]

Speaker 8: [01:37:02] Absolutely. So China tried to do a policy of development, of shutting its economy out of the world economy before the late 1970s and was not successful with this economically. After the late 1970s, China switched to a policy that used foreign technologies and foreign, uh, capacities to leverage its own economy. I think there's an important lesson here for the transition to renewable energies. [01:37:30][27.7]

Speaker 3: [01:37:31] And how does fossil fuel dependance help our global adversaries? [01:37:34][2.9]

Speaker 8: [01:37:37] I think that fossil fuel dependance makes the American economy less stable and more volatile because oil prices are structurally volatile. This is an insight that we know since the famous economist of Vasily Mitra in the early 20th century. So in that sense, it makes the American economy less stable and more volatile and undermines its position. [01:37:58][21.6]

Speaker 3: [01:38:00] Thank you. It is clear with the IRA, the United States is ready to chart its own course to assert global leadership, benefit American families and transition to reliable, clean energy. This will set up the American economy for a strong and bright future. I am particularly proud that the IRA includes this committee's language on cross-cutting environmental, economic, labor and equity standards in the oversight and implementation of the Bill at the Office of Management and Budget and the Government Accountability Office. I look forward to working with these two agencies to apply these standards so that plentiful renewable energy will benefit those hit hardest by climate change, pollution and high prices. And with that, Madam Chair, I yield back. Thank you to the witnesses. Thank you. The gentleman from Texas, Mr. Sessions, is recognized for 5 minutes. [01:38:50][50.3]

Speaker 4: [01:38:51] Thank you very much. I want to thank the panel for sitting down for a long period of time to engage this committee. And, madam, thank you. I see where you've reset the clock. Thank you. And I thank you for this. I think that there are valuable things we can learn from experts. I think they're valuable things we can learn from you. While I deeply disagree with the attack on big oil. [01:39:18][26.9]

Speaker 1: [01:39:21] I would like to. [01:39:21][0.6]

Speaker 4: [01:39:21] Ask at least on the what might be to my left side of the table. California is in the middle of 25 or 30 years worth of preparing for the future. I watched with great discomfort about where California is now that they have taken the direction they have for 25 years. I was disappointed to see where Europe is with there. The people who produce food. For people in Europe to see the governments attack them off these same issues, just like you attack oil or at least fossil fuels, as you call them. Here, tell me what I don't get about 25 years that California has been doing this and where they presently are. Any of the three ladies. [01:40:17][55.5]

Speaker 8: [01:40:20] Well, maybe I'll use this opportunity to speak to the situation in Europe. You might tell from my accent that I'm from Germany and I've spent a lot of time talking to policymakers in Germany in the last months. I think that the situation in Europe should stand as a warning. On the topic of fossil fuel dependance because what we see in Europe today are the consequences of fossil fuel dependance. What we see in Germany today are the consequences of under investment in renewable energies under the label of instead pursuing balanced, balanced government budgets in the long run. So what we see in Germany is a situation of a lack of sufficient investment in renewable energies that could have forestalled the current crisis. [01:41:01][40.2]

Speaker 4: [01:41:02] Well, but you've seen in the United States for probably ten or 12 years, we've been putting $18 billion worth of subsidies to the industry to build things that come out of China, not just golf carts and not just wind turbines, but a whole bunch of things. But let's go directly. Who's willing to tell me how successful it is and whether this was the plan in California? [01:41:25][23.0]

Speaker 5: [01:41:27] I can speak to California since I lived there. And I think it's also important to remember that California is also an oil and gas state. We are the fifth largest producer of oil and gas in the country. So we also suffer from the consequences of having of the power of the oil industry. And to point out that you've heard that about the grid. But in fact, in our last extreme weather event, the grid did not fail. There was an adequate demand demand response that made sure that the grid didn't fail and that electricity was provided to all the residents in California. [01:41:54][27.1]

Speaker 4: [01:41:55] Well, that may be true, but there was a vast outreach to please don't. Use the power supply. [01:42:03][7.6]

Speaker 5: [01:42:04] Only at the peak moments of demand and most electric vehicles charge overnight. And the grid again did not fail. [01:42:11][6.3]

Speaker 4: [01:42:12] Peak demands were all day, as I recall. Don't use your car. [01:42:16][4.8]

Speaker 5: [01:42:18] I won't know. Actually, I live in California and the notice that we got was that you should cool your house during the day and then around from 4 to 9. Try not to use household appliances. [01:42:25][7.4]

Speaker 4: [01:42:26] Okay. So why would that be after 25. [01:42:28][1.8]

Speaker 6: [01:42:28] Years worth of building in. [01:42:30][1.1]

Speaker 4: [01:42:30] A future for green. [01:42:32][2.1]

Speaker 6: [01:42:32] Energy? Why did. [01:42:33][0.7]

Speaker 4: [01:42:33] Why why are we doing this. [01:42:35][1.4]

Speaker 5: [01:42:36] Again? California is also an oil and gas state, so they have not made as much advancements in renewable energy as they could have. And also, again, we had sat ten days in a row of 120 degree temperatures. So we had a demand on the grid that was much larger than usual. And again, the grid did not fail. [01:42:52][16.2]

Speaker 4: [01:42:53] And I agree with that. [01:42:53][0.8]

Speaker 2: [01:42:54] Also from. [01:42:56][2.3]

Speaker 4: [01:42:57] The. [01:42:57][0.0]

Speaker 2: [01:42:57] Chronic, there's been a chronic underinvestment in the electric grid for a generation or more in the United States. [01:43:03][6.5]

Speaker 4: [01:43:04] How about California? Well. [01:43:05][1.3]

Speaker 2: [01:43:06] The challenge is something that's important to note is that the status quo is is is not okay. This volatility of of oil that is that has been brought up makes us fundamentally insecure. I mean, as you know, in Texas, with the failure of natural gas that caused many deaths due to freezing, you know, there we need to invest in our grid, but we need to make it cleaner. We need to make it more resilient. We need to lower its carbon impact. As you know, in California and elsewhere. [01:43:34][28.4]

Speaker 4: [01:43:35] Sure. As you know, Texas has 18% of wind. Probably the largest advantage across the country. 18% of the grid comes from wind turbines. So I think what I'm about here and I've got about 10 seconds, is I sure like to see us become more working with each other and find the middle ground. And I think that's. [01:44:00][24.8]

Speaker 1: [01:44:00] All of the above. [01:44:01][0.5]

Speaker 4: [01:44:02] And that does include the $18 billion in subsidies. But Republicans are not against any of the things that they've been accused of. Do they were for all of the above. Madam Chairman, thank you very much. [01:44:15][13.7]

Speaker 3: [01:44:16] Of course. Thank you. The gentlewoman from Massachusetts, Ms.. Pressley, is recognized for 5 minutes. Thank you, Madam Chair. We are wasting time. Climate change is real. Full stop. And while we do still have colleagues that choose deflection and distraction and denial in the face of reality, Congress has got to confront the climate crisis head on. I certainly didn't run for office to speak to all the things that we can't or won't do. I'm here to change and save lives, and we must. This is a threat to our planet, to all lives. And with every minute that passes, the planet is getting sicker. And so to our people, especially in front line communities like the ones that I represent, if we do nothing, economists have estimated that the catastrophic consequences of global warming will cost our economy $178 trillion from 2021 to 2070. That's trillion with 8178. But the truth is that on the cost of this, our planet. It's the only earth we have. So we have to act with urgency to protect it. And that includes ending the harms of fossil fuels. Our continued reliance on fossil fuels is bad for the planet. Back to the economy. And it is bad for working class folks who need state stable and healthy jobs to provide for their families. So, Dr. Webber, again, I represent the Massachusetts seventh Congressional District, one of those front line communities. Could you just speak to the reliance on fossil fuels and how that is affecting low income households? I think it bears repeating for the record. [01:46:03][106.7]

Speaker 8: [01:46:05] Yeah. So low income households are clearly the ones that are hit hardest by the energy price explosion. They are the ones that have the least means to weatherize their homes. Black and brown community face on top of this segregation and discrimination in the housing market, which means that they typically end up living in homes that are less well insulated or less energy efficient. These also tend to be the communities that are spending very large shares of their income on food, housing and fuel, which means that if prices go up for these three items as they have been and food, by the way, is in some sense linked to energy, this is an enormous burden on these households, a burden that they can barely carry, and that is pushing millions of of of households in these communities over the tipping point into energy insecurity or for those that were already energy insecure before the crisis into straight out poverty. [01:47:01][56.4]

Speaker 3: [01:47:03] Thank you, Doctor. And globally, certainly, there is recognition that we we must stop relying on fossil fuels. That's why I've partnered with Congressman Jones and Congresswoman to lead to introduce the Fossil Free Finance Act. Now, this is legislation that would require the Federal Reserve to mandate that major banks and other financial institutions reduce and stop the financing of projects and activities that emit greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to climate change. So instead of bankrolling fossil fuels, we must invest in renewable energy and clean energy that offer job opportunities with significant future growth, just like the investments made and the Inflation Reduction Act as an example. The law the Democrats passed it will create 9 million jobs. Renewable energy has become cheaper than fossil fuels. Dr. Weber how do investments in renewable energy, lower energy prices for working families? [01:47:56][52.1]

Speaker 8: [01:47:59] So already now renewable energies are cheaper than fossil fuel energy. So if we were to rely more on sources of renewable energy, that would actually lower the bill for ordinary Americans in terms of the costs that they have to pay. Why? I think it's important that you bring up the point of responsible investing. The trouble with these profit numbers that we have seen here is that they make initiatives to to funnel financial flows out of fossil fuel industries even more hot than they already were before this these profit explosions. [01:48:33][34.0]

Speaker 3: [01:48:36] Thank you. And Dr. Shah, how will a just transition away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy improve our economy and create jobs? [01:48:44][7.6]

Speaker 5: [01:48:45] I think the most important point is that, again, the renewable energy still has the renewable energy economy still has to be built, built. So the potential for jobs is tremendous, ensuring that there are good jobs, that there are union jobs that makes our economy stronger because unions have built the middle class. So the more that we can increase union jobs in middle energy, the stronger our economy will become. [01:49:05][19.9]

Speaker 3: [01:49:08] Thank you. You know, I met with some young people recently and asked them about their aspirations, and they were quite fatalistic and saying that they're afraid to have dreams because they're not confident that they will even have a planet. We need to legislate as if lives depend on it because they do. Thank you. Thank you. The gentlewoman from Ohio, Ms.. Brown, is now recognized for questioning. Madam Chair, I want to thank Chairwoman Maloney for holding this hearing today, and thank you to all the witnesses for joining today. The climate change is fueling extreme weather events, which can have devastating effects on urban communities like mine. I want to thank Ms.. Sanchez for sharing her story of the impact the climate crisis is already having in urban commuting communities, highlighting an important but often forgotten perspective. Like Ms.. Sanchez, this community, we are already seeing heavier rainfalls which drain our aging sewer system in Ohio's 11th Congressional District. An increase in lake effect snow due to a warmer Lake Erie is causing more sporadic but also heavier snow, which can shut down our cities. And extreme heat, which is climate's number one killer in this country, continues unabated, particularly in the poorest neighborhoods with the least canopy. Back to China. How is the climate crisis leading to extreme weather events in urban environments like Ohio's 11th Congressional District, where I represent, especially given that we are situated along Lake Erie? [01:50:42][94.5]

Speaker 5: [01:50:44] I think, you know, we also often think of flooding as as only affecting coastal communities. But in fact, flooding will affect communities wherever they are close to water, such as your community. And also that if we think about the urban heat effect, you know, cities are tend to be warmer because of a variety of factors. But that will become even worse as the climate crisis intensifies and we see heating increase. [01:51:06][22.3]

Speaker 3: [01:51:09] Thank you. Miss Salter, I want to ask you, how does the climate crisis contribute to the rising cost of everyday life in an urban setting? [01:51:17][8.3]

Speaker 2: [01:51:23] Everything about the climate crisis makes it harder for those who are poor and least resilient to live a daily life. In New York, we've taken a look at New York as the genesis of the Federal Justice 40, and we've looked at indicators of what causes climate vulnerability and who is experiencing environmental burden. And we have done a detailed analysis, and we've looked at things like access to health care, race and income. And what we see are but these indicators, you know, overlap so that if you are low income, if you are a person of color, you both live nearest to a climate impact zone and you have lower access to health care. So these various indicators certainly interlock. But also I want to say that there is an opportunity here to make things better. You know, if we move away from fossil fuels, that the evidence shows that that, you know, communities can become healthier. After a series of coal and oil power plants were closed across California in early 2000s, researchers found a significant decline in preterm births of women who were living in those communities. So there's there's a opportunity to make our communities healthier and more prosperous. [01:52:43][79.9]

Speaker 3: [01:52:45] Thank you. And I see that opportunity as well. While the prices are too high for too many Americans, oil companies continue to contribute in more ways than one to these very problems raising gas prices to record profits while the climate crisis they helped to create leads to things like you talked about higher high housing, higher food, higher travel costs. It is simply not the way of the future. And so with that, Madam Chair, I yield back. Thank you. The gentleman from Maryland, Mr. Sarbanes, is recognized for 5 minutes. [01:53:18][33.4]

Speaker 1: [01:53:20] Thank you very much, Madam Chair. I appreciate the opportunity. I want to thank our witnesses for being here. Obviously, this situation with Russia's invasion of Ukraine has put tremendous pressure on energy markets, supply chains and so forth. And we know that that's had an impact on Americans in terms of gas prices, you know, the costs of getting to work, taking your kids to school, etc.. But all through this from beginning to end and even before that, which is what I'd like to talk about, the oil companies have been raking in these obscene record breaking profits. Dr. Weber, you have spoken about how oil companies have exploited the war in Ukraine for profit, dramatically, raising the price of gas. And obviously our constituents have felt the effects of this firsthand. We saw gas prices getting up to five or $6 per gallon over the summer. Explain to the committee, however, how fossil fuel companies were raising gas prices on consumers to boost their profits even before the Ukraine crisis. Because I think we have to we have to put that put all of this in context. [01:54:29][69.6]

Speaker 8: [01:54:31] Thank you. Yeah, that's a great question. It's important to notice that the energy crisis long preceded the war in Ukraine. In fact, there is there are, of course, laws of supply and demand in the global energy market, and prices in fossil fuels are, at the end of the day, international prices. But what we have seen is that these prices have been going up as the imbalance in the international market has been building up. At the same time, the costs that the American oil companies have basically chosen the strategy of what they call disciplined investment, which means that they have neither invested in renewables nor in in in fossil fuel production, which means that they are in a position where they are now basically only having the most profitable oil rates, where it's going, those with the lowest cost while prices have gone up dramatically, which means that at the end of the day, they are reaping much higher profits. To give you an illustration around, if the price per barrel of crude oil is around $100 and ExxonMobil is reporting that their price is around $40, this means that on each $100 of of barrel sold, they are basically making $60 in profits. That's a 60% kind of profit. [01:55:51][79.7]

Speaker 1: [01:55:52] Yeah. I mean, I think what's happening is that the oil industry has found a way to make these exorbitant profits just as a kind of general operating procedure. And, you know, it can be sometimes difficult to chase down what the the the actual market conditions are. So they take advantage of that. That overall kind of confusion to hide the ball on how they do pricing and then when when a crisis comes along gives them a terrific excuse to go pursue even higher profits, which I think is what we we've seen happen here. The profits in this in this second fiscal quarter are really mind boggling. Exxon, as we've heard, made a profit of nearly $18 billion, its highest quarterly profit ever. And if you combine that with what it did in the first quarter, it made over it's made over $23 billion in profits so far this year. I mean, it's unbelievable. Chevron made a profit of almost $18 billion in the first six months of 2022. BP 15.5 billion. Shell $20 billion in profit by just the end of the second quarter of the year. I mean, you got to be kidding me. When the average consumer, their customer, by the way, is still taking it on the chin across the country, these corporate citizens are abdicating their responsibility, responsibility to step in, to step up and do the patriotic thing. Here's my dream if you look at these profits. Maybe one enlightened CEO of one of these companies one day soon will realize that they can take their company and leap forward into a clean, green energy space and exercise leadership. They have the capacity to do it. If they would get their heads out of the sand and decide to be leaders, world leaders, global leaders. I mean, let's make that the challenge to them. Take your fossil fuel companies. And turn them into clean energy companies. And instead of being dragged into this clean future, help pave the way and pull the rest of us with you. So with that, Madam Chair, I will yield back. Thank you. [01:58:30][157.9]

Speaker 3: [01:58:31] Thank you. The gentleman from California, Mr. DeSaulnier, is recognized for 5 minutes. [01:58:35][4.3]

Speaker 1: [01:58:37] Thank you, Madam Chair. To Dr. Weber and Dr. Chay, just a little background. I represent a community in the East Bay of the Bay Area that has five oil refineries and the headquarters of Chevron. In 30 years of representing this area in state, local and federal level and having been an air regulator, I've had a close relationship in terms of knowing the fossil fuel industry. I've lost constituents, one of whom Michael Landsman, lost his life because the company was appealing again in order to replace a walkie talkie when he went out to look at temperature spikes and hydrocracker because they were ignoring written safety protocols. He was eviscerated when exploded. A year later, I lost four constituents when they missed trained people on a crude unit. Four people burned to death. We shut them down. We had what is called a full facility audit, shut them down for the year. And the report came back and said it was the corporate culture that created this. It's, in my view, the priority of return on investment to investors rather than the community and their workforce. So in that context, Dr. Webber, and how can we trust them? And in secondarily, given the dynamics, it seems to me that they have a they have assets, whether it's Putin or American oil companies, that are changing dramatically with the movement, particularly in China, in places like California, new to renewables and alternative fuels. Their projected worth. Their futures trading is not what they expected it to do. So it's sort of like they've got to get as much money as they can and get out. So the two questions is two questions are how do you trust without a firm framework of regulatory oversight? And then what about the pressure of how the world is changing more dramatically than they anticipated? I think, given they're trying to create friction to exchange from fossil fuels to renewables and how they're trying to maximize their profits again. [02:00:52][135.4]

Speaker 8: [02:00:53] Dr. WEBER My impression is, from following these hearings today, that we cannot entrust the future of our humanity to these companies. The trouble is that as these profits explode, their assets become more valuable already before the profit explosion. Researchers estimated that more than USD $1 trillion in fossil fuel assets would need to be written off globally to implement the Paris Agreement. Now, the trouble is that if these assets become ever more valuable and ever more profitable, the challenge of writing off these assets and thereby overcoming fossil fuel dependance becomes even more insurmountable. So reining into the price and profits price and profit hikes is really an urgent necessity. [02:01:44][50.8]

Speaker 1: [02:01:48] Okay. [02:01:48][0.0]

Speaker 5: [02:01:49] I would just add that I think President Webber is absolutely right that you cannot rely on voluntary commitments or voluntary agreements, that we need a strong regulatory framework that also has meaningful and robust enforcement. The story that you told of Richmond is could be replicated in oil refineries across the country. It is a dangerous industry and for several reasons it would be for the health and safety of our communities and workers. We need to transition away from fossil fuels. [02:02:16][26.7]

Speaker 1: [02:02:18] Dr. JAY Because those two incidents we passed in the county that I was in, the Board of Supervisors for, and I also did the Industrial Safety Ordinance in the 22 years since we've had that. We've never had another fatality or an emergency. But they thought that I was at the negotiating table with them. They fought it. And now, 22 years later, because of performance standards, we look back at how well government's regulatory oversight has served the community, the workers, and then they now take credit for it, which I find also indicative of the culture. One last thing. The dynamic with the renewables, we have transition fuels that we're arguing about now, biofuels, but we want to get to zero as soon as possible here in the Bay Area in California. Can you speak to the pressures that that creates around fossil fuel companies when they talk about transition fuels? [02:03:17][59.3]

Speaker 5: [02:03:19] I think that there is broad consensus that we need to fight the climate crisis. Particularly in California, we are seeing, you know, these massive heat waves, these massive wildfires. There's clearly the climate crisis is now. So I think that is one reason why oil companies engage in so much greenwashing to make it seem like their operations are more palatable when in reality we know that that they are doing the exact opposite. [02:03:41][22.0]

Speaker 1: [02:03:43] Thank you, Madam Chair. You'll back. [02:03:44][1.1]

Speaker 3: [02:03:45] Thank you. The gentleman from Illinois, Mr. Karsten, is recognized for 5 minutes. [02:03:49][4.0]

Speaker 6: [02:03:50] Thank you, Madam Chair. And thank you to our witnesses and for allowing me to wave on here today. I'd like to. To focus on numbers, if I can. We've talked a lot about these numbers on the back wall, about the volume of profits in the oil industry. What's not shown there, and I wish was, is how many of those dollars are direct wealth transfers from U.S. taxpayers, the U.S. tax breaks, discounted royalty fees and direct federal funding to the fossil fuel sector add to $20 billion a year. Now, that's just the direct money. The International Monetary Fund has calculated that including the indirect costs which are transferred from taxpayers and Americans onto those shareholders, works out to $662 billion a year. That is more than we spend on Medicaid, almost as much as we spend on national defense. The only country that subsidizes their fossil fuel sector more than the United States is China. Many of my colleagues believe that we should be number one. I do not want to win that race, and I hope that my advocate, free market advocates would support that. Dr. Weber, as a reigning economist here. Are there any good economic reasons for us to preserve those market distorting subsidies? [02:04:57][67.3]

Speaker 8: [02:05:01] I shall not think so, especially not in the light of the kind of profit explosions that we have observed and why we are at numbers, just to put things in perspective. Our research shows that 93.3 billions have flown from the global fossil fuel industry into U.S. financial institutions and persons. This is about 50% more than the federation. Only in the second quarter, this is about 50% more than the federal government is spending on natural resources and the environment for all of 2022. [02:05:30][29.7]

Speaker 6: [02:05:33] I'm glad to hear it. I introduced with Earl Blumenauer and Don McEachin the People Over Petroleum Act. That would take just the 6 billion of the most egregious tax subsidies, eliminate them today, and give every American a $500 check. That's only 1% of the subsidies. So my friends in the fossil fuel sector who struggle to compete in the rough and tumble world of free market capitalism can rest assured they're still pretty well protected. But let's do that in the name of I hope my colleagues across the aisle will join me in the name of capitalism. I want to shift some other numbers with the time I have. Investors make decisions every day about how to allocate their wealth. The price earnings ratio is a measure of how much would you pay for the right to own a share in a company, a right to their profits? Exxon and Chevron are both trading at a price earnings ratio about ten right now. Shell is at six. NextEra, a leading renewable energy developer, is trading at 68, First Solar 75. Tesla is trading at 100. I would submit to you that a part of the reason why the fossil industry is not investing in wells is because capital markets do not trust them with their money. They do not want liquidity. They want to strip cash. In spite of that, many of my colleagues across the aisle are suggesting that when capital markets are saying, I want to move my capital to more productive assets that are cleaner, that are cheaper, where people are investing in the future. My colleagues across the aisle are saying, you know what we should do? We should block those companies from divesting out of fossil fuels. Dr. Werber, I would ask you again, are there any principles of efficient market theories that would suggest that the best mode of government in this time is to block capital markets from moving to more productive investments? [02:07:11][97.7]

Speaker 8: [02:07:12] I shall not think so. And why? We are at economic theory. Martha's has been invoked several times during this hearing. Obviously, Martha's had a great debate with David Ricardo, the liberal economist, fond of library economics in the 19th century. Ricardo was very that landlords would eventually suck out so much resources of the economy that the British economy would grind to a halt. I think that the fossil fuel industry today are increasingly taking on a similar kind of economic function as landlords did in the 19th century Britain. [02:07:42][30.5]

Speaker 6: [02:07:44] Last question for you. Can you think of any good reason why an industry that is receiving $600 billion a year of subsidies and is struggling to attract capital, that the best policy solution would be to throw them more subsidies. [02:07:56][12.0]

Speaker 8: [02:07:58] I. I don't think so. You also have to keep in mind that in addition to the direct subsidies, the exploding fossil fuel prices also hurt the budgets of federal and state governments, which are the second most important users of petroleum and coal products after the petroleum and coal products industry itself. This means that taxpayers are picking up again the bill for this. [02:08:22][24.1]

Speaker 6: [02:08:22] Well, thank. Thank you very much. I thank you for your thoughtfulness. This has been a an excellent panel, and I wish it was not so partizan. Every time I see Mr. Shellenberger, I'm reminded of that quote from Billy Madison We are all dumber for having listened to you today and may God have mercy on your soul. I yield back. [02:08:39][16.6]

Speaker 3: [02:08:41] Thank you. The gentleman from Louisiana, Mr. Graves, is recognized for 5 minutes. [02:08:45][4.0]

Speaker 7: [02:08:46] Thank you, Madam Chair. Madam Chair, this hearing today is is interesting in that we're talking about record profits of energy companies, and we're watching folks sitting here demonizing those companies. Madam Chair, the Biden administration has projected that global energy demand is going to increase by 50% over the next 28 years, a 50% growth in global energy demand. If we look specifically at developing countries, we're probably looking on the high end. According to the Biden administration, about an 80% increase in natural gas demand in developed countries, up to a 58% increase in natural gas demand. So that's in the next 28 years, natural gas. Biden Administration projections. And let me say it again. 50% increase in global energy demand. Over the next 28 years alone. We need wind and solar. We need geothermal wave. Nuclear, hydro. And according the Biden administration and everybody else, we need oil and gas as well now. So so rather than looking at these very projections and saying, okay, what are we going to do, prepare for that? How are we going to develop an energy strategy that achieves reliability, affordability, cleanliness in terms of emissions reduction, exportable technologies and a secure supply chain? What we're seeing, rather than preparation for for that scenario is, is we see the complete opposite. So so what's happening? What this shows is this shows the acres of of of energy, of lands that were produced under the various administrations. It doesn't even go back this far. But if you look at all the data, you would have to go back to the Truman administration to find an administration that has leased fewer acres of land for for oil and gas production. You'd have to go back to the Truman administration in the 1940s whenever the technology really didn't even exist. So so the data is showing you can have a surge in energy demand, yet what they're doing is nothing. To put it in perspective, Madam Chair. The Carter administration leased 100 times more acres of land. 100 times. So so sort of fascinating thing here. The irony here is that we're beating up on an industry that we caused an imbalance in supply and demand of. And I say we I really mean the White House. Energy policies of this administration have caused this distortion between supply and demand. You have a surge in demand with cutting off supply. So so folks are here sitting here saying this is awful, that these companies have these profits. You've created it by cutting off supply to meet demand. It's your fault. Now all this is being done under the auspices of emissions, right? So this is all climate change. And we're stopping emissions. We're lowering emissions. Oh. Let's let's bring facts to the table again. So the reality is, is that under the previous administration, emissions went down to an average of two and a half percent a year. Under the Biden administration, they went up 6.3%. Okay. So we failed on we failed on price. We failed on the environment. All right. So let's look at the energy security box. Energy security. Well, so we've gone to Iran, we've gone to Venezuela, we've gone to the Saudis, two of which have kidnaped Americans. And we've asked them to backfill our refusal to produce energy. Well, the United States and specifically off the coast of Louisiana, where I represent. We have some of the cleanest barrels of oil in the world. Why? It recognizing, as the Biden administration does, recognizing that there's going to be global energy demand. Why would we not go and and get energy from where we know it's cleanest? It just it doesn't seem to make sense. And so then lastly, looking at census data, 25% of all Americans, 25% of all Americans, one in every four Americans have had to choose among medication, food or energy. This is what these policies are doing to people. Michelle. Amber, just asking you a question. You and I have talked about about California. And I look at California, eighth worst emissions growth in America, most reliable state upon foreign energy, but least reliable grid in the nation. Like why in the world would we want and rates that are 85% above the national average are 100% higher than my home state? Why would we want to replicate that, those failures on the other 49 states? [02:13:22][276.1]

Speaker 4: [02:13:23] Well, I think California's a cautionary tale, sir. We saw our electricity prices rise seven times more than in the rest of the United States over the last decade. We have the second highest electricity prices in the United States, second only after Hawaii, which has to import its its electricity in the form of oil to burn. We have we're you know, we we were on the verge of having blackouts. You know, we had chemical said we had rolling blackouts in 2020. So I've been advocating we keep our nuclear plants open, expand the nuclear plants. The governor finally did the right thing and kept the nuclear plant going. But California is a lesson to the world. You know, you add more unreliable energy to the electrical grid. You make the electrical grid less reliable. [02:14:04][40.6]

Speaker 7: [02:14:05] Thank you. You're back, Madam Chair. Thank you. [02:14:06][1.4]

Speaker 3: [02:14:06] Thank you. In closing, I would like to thank our panelists today for their remarks. And I want to commend my colleagues for participating in this important conversation. With that, without objection, all members will have five legislative days within which to to submit extraneous materials and to submit additional written questions for the witnesses to the chair, which will be forwarded to the witnesses for their response. I ask our witnesses to please respond as promptly as you were able. This hearing is now adjourned. [02:14:06]