The House Energy and Commerce Committee held a long hearing yesterday to harangue oil company CEOs for price gouging as the cause of high gasoline prices. Deflecting blame from Biden administration policies requires an astonishing amount and variety of hypocrisy, and it was all on full display by the majority Democrats. And as usual, the oil company CEOs were unwilling to expose the Democrats’ garbled facts and feeble arguments and instead relied on committee Republicans to defend their industry.
A number of Republicans did that well, but Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH) did an absolutely brilliant job. He began by praising the oil companies for producing the energy that keeps America moving, and next he blamed them for their advertising campaigns that apologize for not being green enough and tout their commitment to the global warming agenda. Noting that they get no credit for their craven as well as cynical PR strategy, Johnson then asked each oil company CEO if he or she was proud of the oil and gas that they produced. After each affirmed on the record of being proud of producing oil and gas, Johnson concluded by telling them that they should use that as the basis for their PR campaigns.
The clip of Rep. Johnson’s notable contribution to yesterday’s otherwise dreary hearing may be viewed here. His office kindly shared a transcript, which is pasted below.
Rep. Bill Johnson: Thank you, Madam Chair. First of all, I want to thank our panel, some of the biggest names in oil and gas for joining us today. And thank you all for what you do to keep the lights on to power transportation and industry, to create thousands of consumer products and millions of jobs, and quite literally, to fuel modern life as we know it in America. You deserve praise for that. What you produce has lifted billions of people out of poverty around the world. But there’s a problem.
Many of you have big advertising budgets. Why won’t you tell that story? I’m not going to name names, but we’ve all seen the TV commercials from big oil filled with solar panels, green climate messaging about how your diversifying your portfolio and how you’re embracing liberal progressive values. What’s been your return on investment with that effort? You’ve taken a shellacking today from the Democrats. Do they seem impressed by your efforts to show your allegiance to their anti-fossil fuel agenda? Do they give you any credit for your green overtures, your ESG commitments, or your carbon cutting plans?
No, they do not. For heaven’s sakes, they’re blaming you for high gas prices, for inflation, for bad weather, and all the world’s problems that their failed policies are actually causing. Your industry has a lot to be proud of and Americans know it. You just have to help us tell them. But if you continue chasing these radical green, progressive values, these moving goalposts over the real value that you bring to our country and the world, then the environmental left and the ESG investors will crush you and the millions of Americans that need your support.
So today, I want to give you a platform. Ladies and gentlemen, first, Mr. Sheffield, these are yes or no questions because I got a lot of them. Mr. Sheffield, Pioneer Resources. Are you and your employees still proud of the oil and gas that you produce knowing that it goes into so many essential products and industries?
Scott D. Sheffield, Pioneer Natural Resources: Yes, we are.
Rep. Johnson: Thank you very much. Mr. Moncrieff, are you proud of the great paying jobs you provide in America’s oil and gas fields?
Richard E. Muncrief, Devon Energy: Yes.
Rep. Johnson: Thank you very much. That’s a big yes. Mr. Woods, ExxonMobil. Are you proud that your company, one of the world’s largest, provides resources that quite literally lift billions of people out of poverty globally?
Darren D. Woods, Exxon Mobil: Absolutely.
Rep. Johnson: Okay. Mr. Wirth from Chevron. Are you proud that the jet fuel, diesel, and gasoline that you sell play such a vital role in Americans getting to their jobs, getting their jobs done, taking care of their families, and keeping our economy moving?
Michael K. Wirth, Chevron: I am absolutely proud.
Rep. Johnson: Thank you. Ms. Watkins. Miss Watkins from Shell, are you proud of your company’s investments to export more clean, abundant American liquefied natural gas? And are you proud of the cracker plant at Monaca, Pennsylvania, that produces a raw material that goes into literally thousands of products that are needed in everyday life here in America? Are you a proud that the gas that you produce that our European friends and allies need so much right now that they are literally dying for? Are you proud that you produce that product?
Gretchen Watkins, Shell USA: Yes, Congressman, I am.
Rep. Johnson: Thank you very much, Mr. Lawler from BP. Estimates say oil markets are going to be 3 million barrels a day short with Russian crude coming off the market. But the world needs that 3 million barrels that the Russian market is going to collapse. Would you be willing to help make up that deficit, perhaps from American resources?
David Lawler, BP America: Well, I can tell you, Congressman, we are focused on that.
Rep. Johnson: That’s a yes. I appreciate that. Thank you very much. Ladies and gentlemen, these are a few commercials that you folks could run. You’ve got a good story to tell. Use these ideas to tell the American people the truth about what you do so that they can quit being misled by the … barrage of negative, disingenuous, false advertisement that you see coming from my Democratic colleagues today. I’m going to yield back a whole 18 seconds of my time, Madam Chair.