With gas prices now broadly lower than a few months ago, and believing it is tactically valuable with mid-terms just over fifty days out, Democrats have resumed their attacks against the oil and gas industry. Apparently believing that Americans are thirsting for the unimaginative narrative that oil and gas industry greed is responsible for creating higher gas prices and concomitant economic malaise, they are heading for a mighty miscalculation. They prefer to ignore the plainly failed Biden policies that are creating the current market conditions responsible for record inflation and higher prices for everything from gasoline to Gatorade, and instead toreturn to tactics that offer symbolism over substance.
We've just witnessed two days of hearings by two separate committees eager to get back to the boring bloviations by politicians and academics. Together, the Committee on Oversight and Reform and the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations offered feigned outrage about oil and gas producers, and misstated facts and re-framed realities. The strategy of each committee was slightly different, but the tactics and overarching objective remained the same. Use whatever means necessary to hamper, intimidate, denigrate, and dismantle the most important sector of the U.S. economy—energy—to destroy the economy and force a change of behavior by the American people that would never be possible if the Democrats' political ideas were taking the country in a positive direction.
Acknowledged by leaders of both parties prior to January 2020 as the most important driver of economic vitality, inexpensive and abundant energy has now become a whipping boy for Leftists. Extracted using low-impact techniques, innovative processes, advanced technological engineering and a well-paid workforce, the American oil and gas industry delivers the safest and most cleanly produced oil and gas in the history of the world. But from the start, Biden has issued a steady stream of executive orders intended to hamstring the industry, limit supply so as to drive prices up, and give broad regulatory authority to agencies to investigate and in some cases arbitrarily punish those who ignore his demands to produce energy from "renewable" energy sources. All in complete denial of reality: that alternative energy sources such as wind and solar are neither reliable, nor capable of meeting the energy needs of this country.
Since Biden entered office, there has been an orchestrated effort by the president’s advocates, agency leadership, and committees on the Hill to denigrate, and if necessary, delegitimize opposing political views, industries, and economic activity. Agencies have been granted unprecedented investigatory powers through executive orders at the Security and Exchange Commission, the Energy Department, and Department of Justice through their "environmental justice" initiatives, while congressional committees issue a blizzard of subpoenas. Legal energy-related businesses and even truth itself have come under the scrutiny of hostile officials who forget they work for American taxpayers.
During this week’s hearings by the Committee on Oversight and Reform, chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) asserted that oil companies should somehow not be in the business of oil and gas production. Instead, they should direct their oil and gas revenue toward alternative power generation activities… which do not create sufficient revenue to keep the companies viable. By her lights, Exxon should be using investor capital to not maximize revenue from its core business activity. All while ignoring legal obligations Exxon has to investors and while ignoring the role the administration has had in obliterating America’s energy production capabilities through deliberately destructive policy prescriptions.
Meanwhile, the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations was continuing with its ongoing investigation of public relations firms’ role in "spreading climate change denial.” According to reports, chairman Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) and subcommittee chair Katie Porter (D-CA) have been seeking documents from several private companies detailing their work for oil and gas producers and industry trade associations. These are legal companies being told they need to turn over their client documents to the government for partisan political reasons. This is intended to have a chilling effect on professional-services providers who work in the oil and gas industry, and is a tactic intended to promote fear and to coerce participation in inane hearings like these. To their credit, the companies declined the request to participate in the charade.
While the committees are using their tactics of coercion, so too is the administration. The director of the National Economic Council, Brian Deese, is a former BlackRock executive who enthusiastically embraces the dubious environmental, social and governance (ESG) construct which intendeds to re-orient investor capital toward what are described as “global goals” that include the funding of businesses and industries that align with BlackRock’s economic interest and political worldview, even if in defiance of the best interest of their clients. Like committees’ subpoena threats against private citizens running their private companies, the ESG concept is similarly intended to change corporate behavior. If the corporations have the acceptable ESG score, determined by their political adversaries, they get the capital they need to run their companies, If not, as is happening with the oil and gas industry, the companies have difficulty accessing the capital these ESG advocates control.
As the energy industry goes, so goes American capitalism. You've been warned.