Hearing Reviews Gasoline Prices, Electricity Transmission Challenges Facing Nation

071322 ENR Hearing 
VIDEO: Senator Hyde-Smith Advocates for U.S.-Produced Oil and Gas to Lower Energy Prices.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) on Wednesday stressed that oil and gas production must remain an important part of the U.S. energy portfolio in spite of Democrats’ ongoing effort to abandon American fossil fuels.

Hyde-Smith used an Energy and Natural Resources subcommittee hearing titled “Pathways to Lower Energy Prices” to emphasize undermining U.S. domestic energy production harms efforts to lower energy prices, improve the economy, and keep the nation safe.

“We’re going to have to have some real solutions with everything on the table considered,” Hyde-Smith said.  “We have seen in this year and last year, the United States fossil fuel industry has been under attack by adversarial energy policies, executive orders, and federal regulations intended to cripple these industries. These actions contribute to the instability and unpredictability of the energy market as a whole.”

Ron Ness, president of the North Dakota Petroleum Council, testified in support for production of “American energy of all types,” but was critical of Biden administration actions to “wind down or move away from our industry” starting with the cancelation of the Keystone XL pipeline and leases on federal lands.

“Everything has been slow-walked, and we see now the creep of climate requirements into permits, leases—all the provisions that operators need to do to get those permits and put together a development plan that they can then bring to Wall Street to attract the type of capital they need to drill and expand oil production in our country,” Ness said.

Hyde-Smith addressed the need for Congress to authorize critical energy infrastructure projects to support the production, processing and delivery of energy.

Testimony from Julie Fedorchak, chair of the North Dakota Public Service Commission, addressed the necessity of a diverse energy portfolio and infrastructure to support reliable transmission and more affordable electricity rates in divergent areas of the country.

“We need battery storage and you can’t compare a place like Hawaii and North Dakota,” Fedorchak said.  “The technology simply doesn’t exist today to make that possible with 100 percent renewables.  We have to have dispatchable resources fueled by our fossil fuels for the indefinite future until technology allows us to wean off those.”

In submitted testimony, Fedorchak added, “My first plea to you is this: we need to be honest with American citizens.  Transitioning our grid to 100 percent renewable energy may be achievable and, for many, desirable, but it is not going to lower costs for anyone, especially in the next 25 years.”

At an earlier hearing Wednesday, Hyde-Smith addressed the draft proposed five-year offshore leasing program offered by the Biden administration, one in which the Secretary of the Interior could opt for not authorizing any new lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico from 2023-28.