Republicans on the House Energy & Commerce Committee have written to Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm to ask what steps are being taken to reduce costs with a colder-than-normal winter expected, Newsmax has learned.
Natural gas prices have surged in part because of the Biden administration's policies. Americans already are noticing escalating prices at the gas pumps and House Democrats are preparing to make it more expensive for people to heat their homes with a tax on natural gas.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration said Wednesday it expects households will have to spend more money on energy this winter than last winter, especially those that primarily heat with propane or oil.
Ranking member Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., and other GOP members on the House Energy & Commerce Committee are writing Granholm to express "serious concerns about rapidly rising energy prices and the negative impact these price increases are having on the U.S. economy, inflation, and household bills," an advanced copy of the letter said.
"With predictions of a colder than usual winter this year, we want to understand as soon as possible what actions you and the Department are taking to prepare for what could be a perfect storm of a cold winter, high and unaffordable energy prices, and supply disruptions," the Republicans wrote.
The GOP lawmakers note that since President Joe Biden took office:
- Prices of crude oil and many energy commodities have risen to seven-year highs.
- Retail gasoline prices have increased 80%.
- Natural gas prices have increased 274%.
Also, propane prices have increased 552% over the past year-and-a-half.
"The energy crisis gripping the nation threatens to reverse the progress made under the prior Administration to allow the U.S. to become energy secure," the Republicans write. "As you know, the U.S. was a net energy exporter in 2019 for the first time since 1952; however, since March our reliance on foreign crude oil imports has skyrocketed.
"Millions of Americans depend on reliable and affordable supplies of these fossil-based fuels for home heating, electricity, transportation, manufacturing, and agriculture. Additionally, as you know, energy price increases are also passed along in many goods and services, stretching family and household budgets, and exacerbating energy poverty."
While citing the affects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global supply chain and domestic prices, the GOP lawmakers said they were "deeply concerned" the Biden administration's "anti-fossil fuel agenda" was leading to higher bills for American families and businesses.
"On his first day in office, President Biden revoked the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline and imposed a moratorium on fossil energy development on Federal lands and waters," they wrote. "In recent comments, you indicated that DOE could respond to high gasoline prices by releasing emergency oil reserves from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) or re-instate the ban on crude oil exports that Congress repealed on a bipartisan basis in 2015.
"These actions and statements, combined with the Administration’s goals to increase further environmental regulations and mandate economy-wide net-zero greenhouse gas emissions, have a chilling effect on domestic energy infrastructure investments and supplies."
The Republicans requested that Granholm respond to them by Oct. 21 with, among other things, specific actions the DOE plans to use to address energy prices and supply shortages, and increase U.S. oil production.
They also ask Granholm to describe the legal authorities and policy justification supporting the DOE’s consideration of a Strategic Petroleum Reserve release and a crude oil export ban since under current law, only the president may authorize these actions in an emergency.
The GOP committee members, in a separate press release, will point out that the American Gas Association (AGA) wrote to congressional leaders recently and showed how Americans will pay more for natural gas under the Democrat tax proposal.
"These major new costs most likely will result in higher bills for natural gas customers, including families, small businesses, and power generators," the AGA said. "Over the last week, three variations of the methane tax have been introduced with our analysis showing increases to customer natural gas bills ranging from 12% to 18% to 34%, with the average cost from $85- $242 per year."
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