Climate action campaigner Jamie Henn on Thursday summarized powerful fossil fuel companies’ plan to ensure Americans remain “addicted to their product” by weakening the Biden administration’s renewable energy policies, saying oil and gas companies are “doing everything they can to block clean energy and climate action” while households across the country face climbing costs.
Henn pointed to reporting in The New York Times about the lobbying push that has already been started by the American Gas Association (AGA), the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and other pro-fossil fuel groups as they anticipate the Republican Party’s potential takeover of Congress after the November 8 midterm elections.
As the Times reported, the groups are planning to “intensify oversight of the Energy Department” to challenge the Biden administration’s High-Efficiency Electric Home Rebate Act, which will offer rebates as high as $14,000 to low- and middle-income households if they replace gas furnaces and stoves with electric-powered appliances.
The groups are also gearing up to work with Republicans to challenge the administration’s Energy Conservation Standards for Consumer Furnaces proposal, which would require property owners to buy electric-powered heat pumps or other energy-efficient appliances instead of furnaces which waste much of the natural gas they burn when they heat homes and other buildings.
“Big Oil’s scheme,” Henn said, includes price-gouging consumers for planet-heating fossil fuel products while blaming the Democrats for high prices, raking in record profits, and then undermining the Biden administration’s efforts to shift toward a renewable energy economy.
Big Oil’s scheme:
1. Make over $100 billion gouging consumers
2. Blame Biden for the high prices
3. Use money to help elect Republicans
4. Undermine clean energy agenda to keep us addicted to their product https://t.co/NpaM1FznS5
— Jamie Henn (@jamieclimate) October 20, 2022
The industry’s lobbying campaign is ramping up as progressives take aim at oil and gas companies for raking in record profits as they price-gouge the public. As Common Dreams reported in July, eight oil companies made more than $52 billion in profits in three months this year as Americans faced rising gas prices.
In a video that went viral this week, Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) cited an Economic Policy Institute analysis showing how larger corporate profits are behind 53% of the higher prices Americans are facing at gas pumps as well as when buying groceries and paying for other essentials.
“Inflation and gas prices are going up because of corporate profiteering—and Republicans are totally in the pocket of these corporations,” Henn tweeted on Wednesday.
Democrats need to keep hammering this message: inflation and gas prices are going up because of corporate profiteering — and Republicans are totally in the pocket of these corporations. https://t.co/x401tGieZc
— Jamie Henn (@jamieclimate) October 19, 2022
The industry’s lobbying campaign is also becoming clear as Americans are expecting energy prices to skyrocket this winter as they heat their homes.
The Energy Department is projecting natural gas heating bills will jump 28% and people who use oil-generated heat will be paying 27% more. Electric heating bills are expected to be 10% higher.
The AGA claimed in a letter to the department this month that its Energy Conservation Standards for Consumer Furnaces proposal will force one in three homes to pay more for electric heat—a claim disputed by electrification nonprofit group Rewiring America, which says the average household will save $1,800 per year after switching to electric heating appliances.
Lauren Urbanek of the Natural Resources Defense Council told the Times that the lobbying campaign by the AGA and other industry groups “is really about making sure they continue to exist as an industry.”
“They are definitely not looking out for American consumers,” Urbanek said.
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