Barrasso Opening Statement at Nominations Hearing

October 19, 2021

Click here to watch Ranking Member Barrasso’s remarks.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources (ENR), delivered the following remarks at a nominations hearing. 

The hearing featured testimony from Mr. Willie L. Phillips, Jr., nominee to be a member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission; Mr. Brad J. Crabtree, nominee to be assistant secretary for Fossil Energy and Carbon Management at the Department of Energy; and Mr. Charles F. Sams III, nominee to be director of the National Park Service.  

For more information on witness testimony click here. 

Senator Barrasso’s remarks: 

“I would also like to add my welcome to Mr. Sams, Mr. Phillips, and Mr. Crabtree to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. 

“Congratulations to each of you on these nominations. 

“Mr. Sams has been nominated to serve as director of the National Park Service. 

“If confirmed, he would be the first enrolled tribal member to serve in this position. 

“He has worked in state and tribal governments, and in the non-profit natural resource and conservation management fields, for more than 25 years. 

“When asked about Mr. Sams’ nomination by E&E News last month, Senator King, chairman of the Subcommittee on National Parks, stated: ‘My only concern is that he doesn’t have any direct experience with the national parks or National Park Service. But I’m reserving judgement.’ 

“I share Senator King’s concern, and I am also reserving judgment. 

“I would like to hear more today about Mr. Sams’ vision for the National Park Service. 

“I hope Mr. Sams will commit to working with me and other stakeholders in Wyoming to continue to maintain and improve our state’s beautiful National Parks. 

“One issue that needs to be addressed is transportation in the Grand Teton National Park. 

“If confirmed, I look forward to working with him to improve visitor access and safety in the Moose-Wilson Corridor. 

“I also hope Mr. Sams will work with me to allow the public to more easily film and share their National Park visits without the requirement of a permit to do so. 

“I have introduced legislation to address this issue. 

“Mr. Phillips has been nominated to serve as a commissioner on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or ‘FERC.’ 

“Mr. Phillips has nearly two decades of experience as a utility regulator, and an attorney in private legal practice.

“If confirmed, Mr. Phillips would play an important role in regulating electricity and natural gas so that all Americans benefit from affordable and reliable energy. 

“As an independent regulator Mr. Phillips would also have the opportunity and obligation to explain the disastrous consequences of reckless policies that House Democrats want to ram through Congress. 

“House Democrats want to end all new oil and natural gas production on federal lands and waters. 

“If enacted, these policies would surrender America’s energy independence to OPEC and to Russia. 

“House Democrats also want to impose a natural gas tax on American families and businesses.  

“At a time when inflation is at its highest level since 2008, Democrats in the House want to make it more expensive for American families to heat and power their homes. 

“The House Democrat plan would also establish a so-called ‘Clean Electricity Performance Program.’ 

“This scheme would use an estimated $150 billion of taxpayer money to pay off the largest utilities in the country to install wind turbines and solar panels.   

“It will also allow those utilities to charge their customers for new transmission lines to service these facilities. 

“I’d like to hear from Mr. Phillips on how he thinks these policies will impact the affordability and the reliability of electric and natural gas services. 

“Mr. Crabtree has been nominated to serve as assistant secretary for Fossil Energy and Carbon Management at the Department of Energy. 

“Mr. Crabtree has worked in the carbon capture space for over two decades. 

“He is well aware that Wyoming leads the nation in carbon capture research. 

“Wyoming is investing millions of dollars in carbon capture development as a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 

“Mr. Crabtree’s support of carbon capture research is a sign that he understands the important role fossil fuels must play in our nation’s energy future. 

“Congratulations again to each of the nominees. 

“I look forward to hearing your testimony.”