Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, Congressional Western Caucus Vice Chair and Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney (R-WY) spoke at a forum focused on holding the Biden Administration accountable for skyrocketing prices and failing energy policies hosted by the Congressional Western Caucus and House Committee on Oversight and Reform Republicans.
During the forum, Rep. Cheney discussed the Biden Administration’s harmful policies that threaten our energy security and Wyoming’s economy. Additionally, she questioned Ms. Kathleen Sgamma, President of the Western Energy Alliance (WEA), about steps Congress can take to fight back against these devastating policies.
Watch their exchange here and see the transcript below:
REP. LIZ CHENEY: Thank you so much, Dan. Thanks to you for hosting this and to Jody as well, and to Ralph, thank you for your efforts, and thank you for drawing attention to this critically important issue. I was pleased to hear Kathleen mention the University of Wyoming study, and the job losses we’ve seen from the Biden Administration’s policies. And it’s really, as you all have been discussing, a devastating situation, particularly for us in Wyoming where we’re first in natural gas production on federal lands, second in federal oil production– the millions of dollars that we’re seeing already in lost revenues, the fact that we’re seeing some of the producers say they’re going to indefinitely pause their operations on federal lands. And we know that this is very much an effort by the Biden Administration to end completely– I think to end fossil fuels. They are beginning this process by ending leasing and production on federal lands every possible way they can. And it’s really unfortunate that we’ve found ourselves in a situation where, you know, the things that we all have been saying that we knew would happen, sadly, are happening. And we lived through this, to some extent, during the Obama Administration when there was a similar effort made. I think this is even more dangerous now because, frankly, they’re building on things that were done in the past. And I think that the efforts are going to require us– now that we’ve gone from a position where we’re energy independent to a position where we no longer are, to a position where we’re seeing inflation, we’re seeing these rising prices at the pump, and the really detrimental energy policies. I’d be interested in hearing from our witnesses, based upon some of the lessons that we learned when we went from the Obama Administration to the Trump Administration policies on energy, and the benefits that those brought. If you look now at where we are, and certainly we in Congress are going to continue to fight and introduce legislation. I’ve introduced legislation, for example, that would prohibit bans on oil and gas leasing on public lands, that would maintain royalty rates at 12.5%. But if you look at what we can do now, what would you say are some of the most effective things we can do now to make sure that we’re fighting against these policies, and that we’re prepared to make sure that the industry can recover as effectively as possible? Hopefully, in the not-too-distant future once we have better policies, better leadership in place. Maybe I’ll go to Kathleen for that question initially.
MS. KATHLEEN SGAMMA: Thank you, Congresswoman, I really appreciate it. You know, luckily, the Build Back Better Act didn’t pass, the House version, because I honestly don’t see how anybody could operate on new leases with all the provisions there. So, I do think that it’s really positive that that didn’t happen. But we expect to see the Administration do rulemaking to do several of the things that were in there, like raise royalty rates, rents, bonuses, adding in a new nomination fee. And so, there’s all these additional costs that they’re planning to put in place, which I’m not sure if we can stop that rulemaking. But I think it was effective during the Trump Administration. And to some extent, it’s not positive because we have this whiplash between different administrations. But there were rules put in place during the Trump Administration that did rescind some of these harmful rulemakings. And so, I would hope that we can do that in the future. But I’m not sure there’s a lot we can do with how gridlocked Congress is to stop them from moving forward with increasing costs on federal lands. That has been one of their big priorities, and I’m not sure that I have a simple solution for stopping that.
REP. CHENEY: Well, I think it’s just such a critically important issue. I think what you all are doing in terms of helping to educate the public about the benefits of American fossil fuels, as you’ve said, they’re the cleanest in the world. And certainly, you know, when you look at what we’re dealing with now, in terms of Russia, on the verge of invading Ukraine, and the fact that we’ve, you know, now the Biden Administration has given the go ahead for Nord Stream 2 but is preventing us from developing and continuing to build our own pipelines here at home just makes no sense at all. Thank you very much for the opportunity to be with you today. Thank you for your participation, and we’ll certainly all, I know, keep fighting on behalf of what really are national treasures, our American fossil fuels. And thank you very much for the opportunity, I appreciate it.