Letter to House Oversight Chairman James Comer on the U.S. Energy Sector

By at 17 January, 2023, 5:37 pm

The Honorable James Comer


Committee on Oversight and Accountability

U.S. House of Representatives

Washington, D.C.  20515


Dear Chairman Comer:

The House Oversight Committee report, under the previous congressional leadership, that maligned American energy companies was a misuse and failure of the oversight process. The authors’ bias against fossil fuel-based energy was obvious in the report, which was rife with political spin, intellectual dishonesty, and cynicism.  In reality, American companies’ investment in energy development and energy transition technologies are not mutually exclusive, and the record clearly demonstrates this fact.

After a year-plus long investigation, multiple committee hearings featuring top executives, and a review of millions of pages of documents, the Committee did not shed light on any new information nor evidence that U.S. energy companies were doing anything other than producing domestic energy and investing in state-of-the-art technologies.

In fact, E&E News reported: “Unsurprisingly, the committee found that oil and gas companies, for the most part, want to continue producing oil and gas.”

Considering that more than 2 billion people around the globe still live in energy poverty – without reliable access to electricity or efficient cooking systems, and more than a third of U.S. families struggle to pay for their basic energy needs, along with global overreliance on energy from our nation’s adversaries, our government leaders need to be supportive of American energy companies in their work to fill the gap in providing the oil and natural gas that families and businesses around the world need.

Given the vast investments that American energy companies continue to make in our economy and communities nationwide, and the fact that this is a sector dominated by small to mid-size businesses and innovative entrepreneurs, we are frustrated with some Members’ efforts to chastise American companies that develop and transport traditional energy resources. Energy resources that businesses, families, hospitals, and government institutions need in order to function. Small businesses, entrepreneurs, and the working poor disproportionately feel the sting of rising energy prices – a common effect of government efforts to curtail production or stymie energy transportation.

When government abuses its authority to attack private businesses, those actions directly undermine our job creators and local communities. The domestic energy industry supports nearly 10 million American jobs, millions of which are in small businesses including pipefitters, steamfitters, electrical engineers, plumbers, construction workers, and mechanics. Even 95% of firms in the oil and gas extraction sector have fewer than 100 employees. Yet the House Oversight Committee trivialized these workers and what they do to keep our country running.

Recently, the U.S. Energy Information Administration and the International Energy Agency predicted that use of traditional fossil fuels would continue to be a significant portion of the global energy mix for decades to come. The EIA, specifically, opined that petroleum and natural gas will continue to be most used fuels in the United States through 2050.

Considering this anticipated marketplace, domestic energy companies are developing new technologies to reduce our carbon footprint. They are investing billions of dollars each year innovating new clean energy solutions and are leading the world in research of next generation technologies like carbon capture and sequestration. According to the EPA, from 1990 to 2018, methane emissions associated with natural gas and oil production declined by 23%. And the EIA found the transition from coal to natural gas in the power sector led to a reduction of lower carbon emissions by 32 percent from 2005 to 2019.

This is real and significant progress that the previous House Oversight Committee chose to ignore.

In the 118th Congress, we hope for a more responsible use of the oversight authority. SBE Council is heartened by your messages, Chairman Comer, about upholding transparency and accountability; as well as recognizing the benefits of a strong energy sector. We appreciate key points made in a recently published Wall Street Journal Op-ed, including the sad outcome of President’s Bidens policies. As you noted:

The president’s war on U.S.-made fossil fuels has killed well-paying jobs in energy and driven up gas and energy prices. Yet even as Americans struggle to make ends meet, Mr. Biden has refused to unleash U.S. energy production, and instead has begged foreign dictators to pump more oil with meager price effects.

Under your leadership, we are confident committee oversight authority will focus on its primary mission of ensuring government responsibly serves the interests and needs of the American citizens. There is certainly a lot of work to be done regarding oversight of actions and policies that are harming small businesses and U.S. competitiveness.

We look forward to working with Members of the 118th Congress to ensure the federal government works with small businesses and entrepreneurs to make our nation stronger, create economic opportunity, and develop innovative technologies that utilize all of our resources more efficiently and productively.


Karen Kerrigan, President & CEO


cc: House Oversight Committee Members



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