Sen. Cramer confronts Secretary Yellen over Biden administration’s energy policy in bank hearing

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WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND) discussed the need for U.S. energy production to combat the Biden administration’s inflation crisis and global reductions in greenhouse gas emissions with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen during a Senate Banking Committee hearing. He pointed to the Biden administration’s energy policy and the chilling effect it has on markets.

“I can’t help but come back to the question of energy” said Senator Cramer. “You said a few questions ago that oil producers in the United States had not sufficiently anticipated the robust return of demand and, therefore, they did not respond by producing quickly enough. Is that basically what you said?

“Prices have been very low for a while, many energy companies have suffered losses. I think they were afraid to put themselves in a similar position and so they cut production and investment and were probably surprised to see the rapid recovery and the resulting rise in oil prices,” replied Secretary Yellen.

Senator Cramer pointed out the flaws in Secretary Yellen’s assessment of energy production and the multiple examples of negative signals sent to financial institutions and energy markets by the Biden administration.

“[Energy companies] responding to the scary market signals sent out every day by this administration and this hearing is a pretty good example of that. When I look [Financial Stability Oversight Council] (FSOC) on climate-related financial risks is one message after another: Stop producing oil in the United States of America,” said Senator Cramer.“You have John Kerry going around the world saying ‘Don’t buy our [oil], buy someone else. You have the federal drilling moratorium. Now they have opened 20% of the available boreholes, but then announced that they will not allow any drilling on the 20% open for easements. The FSOC itself, including the [Securities and Exchange Commission], assessing these disclosure rules, these are chilling messages. the [Federal Reserve], with its two committees to better understand climate risks and the commitment of companies in the supervision of financial companies. Even the Department of Defence, as we assess the National Defense Authorization Act, in its opening statement to Armed Services Committee Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin used the word climate change at five occasions. Five times while there is a war in Europe, where energy has been militarized. This administration itself helped to manufacture oil as a weapon.

Senator Cramer highlighted the successful energy policies and energy dominance of the Trump administration. He noted the link between the Biden administration’s hostile energy policies and soaring inflation.

“[The Trump Administration] led to an economy where we became dominant in energy because not only did the previous administration cut taxes but also regulations, and we became the world’s largest producer of oil and gas and our dominance at the same time reduced greenhouse gas emissions. If the goal is better climate action, produce more [oil] in the USA. We live in a time when our European friends beg us. They voluntarily cut themselves off from hostile energy production in Russia and elsewhere. This administration went to Venezuela for help, and then they went to [Strategic Petroleum Reserve] at your point. And now we have, not completely depleted, but less oil in this strategic petroleum reserve at a much higher price to replenish. It did nothing to help inflation. It only increased the costs,” said Senator Cramer. “I’m all for aspirations and I think a 2050 fantasy is a great aspiration. But there is a reality of 2022 facing the American consumer, facing the world, facing national security, [and facing] international security. Let’s put every regulator back in their own lane and face the reality of 2022.”

Secretary Yellen acknowledged the need for fossil fuels and that American society cannot switch to renewables in the near term. It also perpetuated the erroneous concept of climate catastrophism.

“I don’t think anyone believes we can completely switch to renewables in the near term. The current situation certainly underscores the need to produce energy now from fossil fuels,” replied Secretary Yellen. “It should remind us, especially with increasingly dire predictions by scientists, that our grandchildren cannot have a habitable planet unless we address the risks associated with climate change. We must not lose sight of the need to move as quickly as possible to a path in which fossil fuels play a much smaller role. The financial institutions themselves have recognized this. There is an alliance called GFANZ, which almost all major US banks have voluntarily joined, [where] they voluntarily commit to aligning their own loan portfolios to a net-zero approach by 2050. So in the medium term, we need to move away from fossil fuels. In the short term, we obviously have a problem.

Senator Cramer concluded by encouraging American energy production to reduce greenhouse gases and stimulate the economy.

“In the transition though, we should be producing more American fossil fuels. As we produce more American fossil fuels and sell to the global market, we are reducing emissions, we are creating a transition that is both helpful for the investor and useful perhaps for those concerned about climate change,” concluded Senator Cramer.

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