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Opening Statements

Hunt: “Energy Independence: How Burdensome Regulations are Crushing Small Offshore Energy Producers”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the House Committee on Small Business Subcommittee on Rural Development, Energy, and Supply Chains is holding a hearing titled “Energy Independence: How Burdensome Energy Regulations are Crushing Small Offshore Energy Producers.”

Subcommittee Chairman Welsey Hunt’s opening statement as prepared for delivery:

Good morning, everyone.

The Committee is here today to hear testimony about the role of small businesses in our domestic energy production, and the regulatory hurdles drillers and service providers are facing. I want to thank you all again for being here with us today and I am looking forward to today’s conversation.

First, I want to thank our witnesses for joining us today. I understand many of you traveled to be here, and we appreciate you taking the time to do so. Today’s hearing addresses a vital component of our domestic energy industry - America’s independent offshore oil and gas producers.

The Biden Administration’s war on domestic oil and gas production continues to impede American energy independence as they recklessly push radical environmental agendas at a time when the nation is facing historic energy.

Domestic oil and gas production is the lifeblood of our economy. When American energy production is strong, our country is strong, our allies are strong, and American families are strong. Independent oil and gas producers are feeling the negative impacts of regulatory hurdles and ever-higher taxes.

A recent example revolves around BOEM’s institution of a new rule in June, regarding the capital reserve requirements for Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Lessee’s and Grantee’s.

Requirements such as having an investment-grade credit rating, which are large upfront expenses for any small business, place additional burdens exclusively on smaller offshore oil and gas companies. BOEM’s rule further tips the scale in favor of large companies, as small businesses lack the same luxury of access to capital and credit.

Another rule we will focus on today is NOAA’s Rice’s Whale rule, which places undue burdens on offshore operators. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s expansive rule about Rice’s Whale limits oil exploration and dramatically increases costs for producers in the Gulf.

This rule contains numerous anti-oil and gas provisions with the sole aim of dismantling our country’s offshore production, all over a possible sighting of a Rice’s Whale almost a decade ago.                                                                                    

As a candidate for President, Joe Biden made a campaign promise to, “end fossil fuels.” As President, his administration is working every single day to keep that campaign promise. 

I represent Congressional District 38 in Houston, Texas.  If Houston is known as the Energy Capital of the world, and the entire Energy Corridor is in my district, that makes me…the Energy Congressman of the World.

These oppressive rules and regulations being forced upon our domestic oil and gas producers are crushing production, future investment, and the benefits that American consumers could enjoy if we were energy dominant.

The “transition,” to green energy is a myth. We will not get to the next affordable and abundant form of clean energy without the oil and gas industry, and that’s part of our conversation today. We should be talking about energy “addition,” and the ways we can unleash American Energy.

I now recognize the Ranking Member, Ms. Gluesenkamp-Perez for her opening statement.