House Natural Resources Committee Talks Gas Prices, Part II

Continuing live coverage of the hearing happening now on Capitol Hill:

12:08 Hearing adjourned.

12:06 Doc Hastings is closing the hearing now. The last salvo in favor of Big Oil was thrown by Rep. Landry (who got $28k from them last year, his #2 contributor). But to his credit, the witness representing retailers said he favored pluggable cars.

12:04 BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil and Shell made profits of nearly $1 trillion in the past decade.

12:02 Almost 90 percent of the world's proved oil reserves are owned by nations, not private companies. This is not a free market.

12:01 Eliminating Big Oil subsidies would help drive the deficit down.

12:00 Graves says we need an economy not fueled by petroleum. That's exactly right.

11:55 So the farm bureau rep claims how much we produce will affect prices at the pump. But...production is rising in the U.S., prices aren't budging as a consequence. Canada produces a lot more oil than they consume, but prices there track ours here. The UK produces almost as much oil as they consume, but prices track the global oil price too. It's foolish and delusional to think we can drill our way out of this.

11:53 Harbert seems to think that OPEC lacks clout in the global marketplace. Huh?

11:50 Harbert seems to feel there's no difference between a mature industry and one that's just getting of the ground. Renewables should get some help from taxpayers. Does Big Oil need our hard-earned tax dollars to stay in business? Um, I don't think so...

11:48 For the record, Big Oil spent more than $146 million lobbying Congress in 2010 alone.

11:45 The real strategic petroleum reserve is our massive 19-million barrel a day habit. Best to drill that down with more efficient cars, more public transit and substitutes such as advanced biofuels and pluggable cars.

11:44 Some House Republicans want to cut the funding of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the cop that reins in speculators. Bad idea.

11:41 For the record, the huge global oil marketplace (about 86 million barrels consumed daily) is driving gas prices. We can't control them. But we can make an action plan to reduce the amount of gas we have to buy to make our daily rounds.

11:37 Harbert dissembles (lies) again when she claims we can counter OPEC in the global oil marketplace. They have less than 10 percent as many producing oil wells as we do, and yet eclipse us in terms of production capacity. What's to prevent them from countering our moves by drilling more, and opening up the spigots to trump us? Nothing.

11:36 DeFazio underscores the reality -- we are beholden to OPEC as long as we're addicted to oil.

11:33 Rep. DeFazio asks tough questions about how much Big Oil pays in taxes; thanks to subsidies and tax breaks they don't pay as much as they should (DeFazio claims ZERO in income taxes in recent years).

11:31 Harbert seems to think that we need an array of options -- oil, oil and more oil. 

11:26 Talk about a mature industry! The oil industry has drilled a million holes in Texas alone. This industry doesn't need continued taxpayer support. At a time of record deficits, the Chamber of Commerce should favor ending oil company subsidies (billions of dollars would be saved every year).

11:25 Bill Graves opposes Boone Pickens' plan to use natural gas in trucks.

11:23 To be clear, Presidents are as beholden to OPEC as anyone. Remember pictures of Presidents kowtowing to foreign leaders from oil-rich nations? Enough said.

11:19 Rep. Sutherland seems to be parroting the American Petroleum Institute, which focusses on percentage of profits as opposed to actual dollar amounts. When the price of a commodity rises to astronomical levels not due to the action or plan of an industry, it is the definition of a windfall. And whether or not it's deserved, as well as how it's invested (how much is actually spent on developing alternatives?), needs to be studied and criticized.

11:15 Speculation definitely plays a role, and deserves a lot more scrutiny. We need to keep the cop -- the Commodity Futures Trading Commission -- on the beat. Some House Republicans want to cut their budget.

11:14 Rep. Holt, the only physicist in Congress, has just rightly pointed out that our oil production is about at the highest level in a decade

11:11 With under two percent of proved reserves we can never drill our way to energy independence.

11:10 The farm bureau guy mentioned the term "price-taker" -- that's what the U.S. is in the global oil game. Better to get off oil than continue getting throttled by a volatile world marketplace.

11:08 For the record, less than 1/3 of the 41 million acres of public land leased to oil and gas companies are actually in production. 

11:04 There used to be wars over salt, when everyone had to use it to preserve food. When refrigeration and other substitutes were developed it became just another commodity. Imagine a world where you have a car that you can plug into the wall and where you can opt not to drive it and take transit or telecommute instead. Then oil would be just another commodity too, as opposed to a strategic obsession.

11:03 You have to feel badly for the retailers, while Big Oil and OPEC -- along with an oil-addicted world -- drive prices all over the map they're on the front lines dealing with angry consumers and businesses.

11:02 OPEC controls 40 percent of the world's production and 70 percen of the proved reserve. Hard to call a market truly "free" with such a cartel looming above it.

11:00 The Chamber of Commerce favors a higher gas tax to fund and expand our crumbling transportation infrastructure.

10:58 We need more intercity rail to complement trucking so we can save fuel when moving freight. The President is committed to expanding freight and passenger rail, thankfully.

10:55 For the record, about 40 percent of public lands are already open for energy production.

10:54 Farmers are justifiably concerned about high fuel prices, the only way to pay lower bills is to get off oil.

10:51 We should be focussing on renewable alternatives (we need substitutes in transportation fuels!), and on efficiency too so we can scale up the alternatives.

10:49 Oil companies are now drilling on public lands offshore in the Gulf without paying royalties to the federal government.

Related Issues
Fossil Fuels

Related Blogs