On Wednesday, House Committee on Oversight and Reform
Ranking Member James Comer
(R-Ky.) and Subcommittee on the Environment Ranking Member Ralph Norman
(R-S.C.) probed the White House’s involvement in the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s
(FERC) draft policy that would place significant barriers within the natural gas pipeline permitting process and diminish American energy production. In a letter to FERC Chairman Richard Glick
, the Republican lawmakers blasted the Commission and White House officials for their potential collusion to diminish American energy independence, emphasized how Americans are struggling to afford soaring gas prices, and reaffirmed their commitment to holding the Biden Administration accountable for pushing energy policies detrimental to national security.
“Earlier this year, FERC announced a new policy placing significant barriers within the natural gas pipeline permitting process,” wrote the lawmakers. “While you claim the White House was not involved in FERC’s pipeline policies, reports regarding your calendar indicate that you attended regular meetings with one of President Biden’s climate change czars, raising questions about the White House’s involvement. Now that the average cost of gasoline is $5 per gallon, it is critical that the American people understand how the federal government formulates policies effecting critical needs like energy… Unfortunately, it is no surprise that the White House would be in close coordination with your office on efforts to curb natural gas pipelines. This policy follows the pattern of previous Biden Administration actions that reduce American energy independence.”
At a March 3, 2022, Senate hearing, Chairman Glick stated the Commission never discussed curtailing national gas pipelines with Administration officials. However, documents reviewed by Committee Republicans indicate that Chairman Glick met with Deputy White House National Climate Advisor Ali Zaidi, twice a month from September 2021 until April 2022, a critical time for the formulation of FERC’s pipeline policy.
“The American people deserve to know whether the White House is responsible for the formulation of policies that increase energy costs,” continued the lawmakers. “On his first day in office, President Biden rescinded the Keystone XL pipeline permit via executive order. In the midst of the highest inflation in history, this Administration continues to limit leasing for oil and gas projects on federal lands and vilify domestic producers. The latest FERC policy will halt important pipeline projects and increase American reliance on foreign energy sources. Expanding American energy dependence on foreign countries is a national security threat, especially in times of global conflict. It also props up communist and autocratic regimes. With energy prices soaring and costs rising every day for the American people, it is now more important than ever that we hold appointed officials in the Biden Administration accountable for actions that do not improve the lives of our citizens but instead raise prices on American consumers.”
To fully understand the involvement of the White House in FERC gas pipeline policy, the lawmakers request all documents and communications between FERC and the White House Office of Domestic Climate Policy.