Click here to watch Senator Barrasso’s opening 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 full committee hearing to examine federal offshore energy strategy and policies.
The hearing featured testimony from Ms. Elizabeth Klein, Director, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management at the U.S. Department of the Interior and the Honorable Janet Coit, Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries at the U.S. Department of Commerce.
For more information on witness testimony click here.
Senator Barrasso’s remarks:
“Thanks so much Mr. Chairman. And as you noted last week and again right now, as friends and colleagues, we can agree to disagree on certain items and before giving the opening statement I’d like to address some of your comments on the IRA because every Republican in congress voted against the IRA.
“As a matter of fact, on the floor this week, I described it as “Irresponsible, Reckless, and Alarming.”
“That is how I come up with IRA.
“Because it has not resulted in more oil and gas production at this point.
“In fact, none of the offshore leasing associated with it is producing oil or gas at this time.
“Every Senate Democrat voted against a Republican amendment to the IRA that would have ensured a robust five-year plan with eleven lease sales.
“Instead, we are holding this hearing today because the Biden administration is working to choke off all future offshore lease sales.
“And as you said Mr. Chairman and I agree, there are puzzling decisions coming out of this administration that ought to be focused on American energy.
“But this is where you and I agree Mr. Chairman, that we need leasing to continue in the Gulf.
“So I want to thank you for holding this hearing.
“This morning is a good opportunity to take stock of President Biden’s energy policies which I would describe as disastrous for American energy.
“Since coming to office, President Biden has worked tirelessly to undermine America’s energy security.
“Day one, he killed the Keystone XL pipeline.
“Week one, he blocked new oil and gas leases on federal lands and waters.
“Last year, the administration failed to finalize a new five-year offshore oil and gas leasing plan, blatantly ignoring the law of the land.
“Instead, he cancelled three offshore oil and gas lease sales.
“Federal offshore oil production fell nearly 10 percent from 2019 to 2022.
“Total U.S. oil production is below what the Department of Energy’s prior predictions for this year are by 1.4 million barrels a day.
“Meanwhile, the President Biden has irresponsibly drained 45 percent of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
“The Reserve is now at the lowest level in 40 years.
“This year, President Biden cancelled existing oil and gas leases on Alaska’s North Slope and we have the senior Senator from Alaska here with us today.
“These are leases that Congress explicitly mandated in 2017.
“President Biden now seeks to block access to over 40 percent of our National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska.
“This is the very area whose very purpose is to produce oil! It is our petroleum reserve.
“Just last month, the administration set forth a five-year offshore plan that offers the fewest number of oil and gas leases in the history of the program.
“Next year is going to mark the first time since 1965 that the United States will not hold a single offshore oil and gas lease sale.
“The first time, Mr. Chairman, in over 50 years – in almost 60 years.
“It’s a disgraceful record.
“During this same time, President Biden lifted sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
“He has foolishly erased sanctions on Iran.
“In fact, President Biden has allowed Iran to collect massive amounts of money. Billions and billions and billions of dollars from oil exports.
“He has rejected American energy, repeatedly begged the OPEC cartel to produce more oil.
“He has pursued a regulatory and spending agenda, whose principal beneficiary is our enemy, China.
“And last week, President Biden disturbingly relaxed sanctions on oil exports from Nicolas Maduro’s oppressive regime in Venezuela as you mentioned Mr. Chairman. It is a regime that the United States doesn’t even recognize.
“As Senator Murkowski has stated, it is “beyond absurd.”
“We are now reaping the consequences of President Biden’s reckless decisions.
“Russia continues its brutal invasion of Ukraine – killing innocent people.
“China grows more aggressive by the day with the help of Iranian oil.
“And Iran is wreaking havoc in the Middle East – its terrorist allies are committing atrocities against innocent civilians in Israel and elsewhere.
“Mr. Chairman, you talk about the need for the petroleum reserve – this could be the time that we need this energy that has already been squandered by the administration as a result of high gas prices leading up to the last election.
“Look, two and a half years ago, we held the confirmation hearing in this room for the Secretary of the Interior, Deb Haaland.
“At that time, I asked Ms. Haaland whether reducing oil and gas leasing on federal lands and waters would decrease the world’s total oil production.
“She said “no.”
“So I’m glad we have Ms. Klein her today. She is the Director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.
“She has taken every opportunity, in my opinion, to kill oil and gas leasing on U.S. waters – and boasted about it, boasted about it.
“Many of us would like to know why she thinks less American oil production makes the world a safer and more secure place for the citizens of our country.
“Less American oil production doesn’t mean the world will produce less oil.
“It won’t reduce global temperatures.
“It won’t affect climate change.
“Less American oil simply means more Iranian oil, more Russian oil, more oil from Venezuela, more oil from OPEC, and a weaker America.
“Less American oil production means fewer jobs for American workers, less revenue to the United States.
“It also means more money for Iran’s ayatollahs, more money for Russia’s invading army, more money for terrorist organizations, like Hamas and Hezbollah.
“I think this committee and every American citizen deserves an explanation.
“Thank you Mr. Chairman.”