Big Oil Execs Grilled by House Committee

Rep. Edward Markey, before heading out to the parking lot to slash the tires of oil executives’ SUVs. Nation applauds.

With gas prices on a seemingly exponential rise, executives from five of the biggest oil companies were brought before the Select Committee for Energy Independence and Global Warming Tuesday and questioned about soaring prices and record profits. When asked about what needs to be done to lower energy costs, Robert Malone, chairman of BP America, replied that ”We need access to all kinds of energy supply,” in regards to limits on drilling in certain areas.

However, Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., who took the lead in the questioning, felt that alternative energy sources could help calm the surging prices and asked, “”Why is Exxon Mobil resisting the renewable revolution,” in regards to the other four companies present spending a combined $3.5 billion on alternative energy investment. J.S. Simon, senior vice president of Exxon Mobil Corp., replied that alternative energy sources “just do not have an appreciable impact,” on “the challenge we’re trying to meet.” Simon also backed his company’s record $40 billion in profits last year, saying, “Our earnings, although high in absolute terms, need to be viewed in the context of the scale and cyclical, long-term nature of our industry as well as the huge investment requirements. We depend on high earnings during the up cycle to sustain … investment over the long term, including the down cycles.” Um…what “down cycles”? Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo, assutely stated ”The anger level is rising significantly,” and further added ”Your approval rating is lower than ours, and that means you’re down low.”

Simon further defended the oil industry when Rep. Markey said he wanted to see oil companies invest in more alternative energy sources and give up their billions of dollars in tax breaks, ”Imposing punitive taxes on American energy companies, which already pay record taxes, will discourage the sustained investment needed to continue safeguarding U.S. energy security.” However, Markey didn’t back down and further pushed the issue, “‘These companies are defending billions of federal subsidies … while reaping over a hundred billion dollars in profits in just the last year alone.”

Markey delivered the knock-out punch to the oil executives by telling them:

On April Fool’s Day, the biggest joke of all is being played on American families by Big Oil.

Oil Chiefs Say High Prices Not Our Fault – [AP]

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One Response

  1. Paraphrased: Peter Robertson, VP of Chevron, told the committee that he understands that America “sees the pain” of $100-a-barrel oil.

    No, he does not understand. He sees the pain, but the middle and lower classes feel it.

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