The forum was led by Western Caucus Chairman Dan Newhouse (WA-04), Vice Chair and Oversight and Reform Ranking Member James Comer (KY-01), and Oversight Environment Subcommittee Ranking Member Rep. Ralph Norman (SC-05).
Testifying at the forum were:
The following are excerpts from Kathleen’s opening remarks and her conversation with lawmakers.
“This administration has come in with an intention using the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Department of Labor, and other agencies to regulate the financial markets in such a way that they elevate political considerations over what should be material market factors. In other words, elevating climate change risks over actual return on investment and actual market factors.
“We're seeing that the markets are anticipating more regulation in that space, which will insert that political factor into financial decisions. So, the single biggest thing this president could do right now—and I mean, I'm not naive, I don't expect it to happen—but if we really wanted to stop going to Russia and OPEC, he could just say we're going to back off on regulations at the SEC, and others, that will elevate climate change over affordable, reliable energy for Americans.
“By backing off of those regulatory efforts, it would send an immediate signal to the market and we would start to see this reverse of this recapitalization of the industry. And if we were able to get more capital, we could respond to the market today and we could lower prices for consumers. So that would be the one action I would ask this administration to undertake.”
“So if that magic wand was waived, it wouldn't take too long to just send the signals to the marketplace that it's OK to invest in oil and natural gas. It's OK because we're not going to raise all these additional costs on federal lands, and we can get back to that record production that we saw in 2020 on federal lands and waters, for example.”
But I think what was effective during the Trump administration—And just to some extent, it's not positive because we have this with whiplash between different administrations—but there were rules put in place during the Trump administration that did rescind some of these harmful rule makings. I would hope that we can do that in the future. But I'm not sure there's a lot we can do with how gridlocked Congress is to stop them from moving forward with increasing costs on federal lands. That has been one of their big priorities, and I'm not sure that I have a simple solution for stopping that.
“When every stage along the way can take months, years in several cases, then it does get frustrating. And as a result, we end up having to request more permits than we may ultimately use because, when it takes you two years to get them the process, you don't have certainty that in two years you're going to need those permits because market conditions can change.
“We often get beat up by having permits in hand that may not ultimately get used, and the only reason is because the system is so inefficient. Whereas, if we can, if we're on the timescale of states where it takes a couple of months to get a permit, then you don't have to have them in hand. You know, you have some certainty about getting permits. But right now, I mean, it's a constant struggle on federal land.”