WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), today had stern words with Laura Daniel Davis, the Biden administration’s nominee to be the Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management at the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) about the administration’s backwards energy policies that are undermining not only American energy independence, but efforts to reduce global emissions. During a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing, the nominee also refused to say whether DOI takes into account finding from a 2016 Obama administration Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) report that blocking U.S. energy lease sales can actually increase global greenhouse gas emissions due to the emissions created in the production and transportation of foreign energy to the U.S.
Excerpts of the discussion are transcribed below or you can watch the full interaction here.
Cassidy: We now have the highest inflation in 40 years. If we included the cost of energy the inflation rate would not be 7 percent, it would be approaching 10 percent. Russia has leverage in the EU. We have higher energy prices here because this administration has kind of led an effort to limit production and development of North American resources. That we can see unequivocally. Indeed, we have Democratic senators who want to leave the EU high and dry, and vulnerable to the Russians…We’ve gone from within a year being energy independent to groveling before OPEC to ask them to increase world supply because our gasoline prices have gone up so much. That is the so far legacy of this administration.
Cassidy: The 2016 Obama administration study conducted by BOEM concluded that Americas greenhouse gas emissions will be little affected by leasing decisions on BOEM’s offshore leasing program, indeed could result—if we don’t lease—an increase because the emissions associated with them importing foreign oil are greater than domestic production. Now by the way I represent those workers who will be on those rigs so this is also about jobs here versus jobs elsewhere in the world…Are they taking into account that it actually lowers greenhouse gas emissions to produce it domestically and creates American jobs and strengthens our economy as opposed to the Russian economy or another economy in which they greater pollute? Are those part of the deliberations?
Daniel-Davis: So I do want to clarify that—that production has continued onshore and offshore—
Cassidy: We’re speaking about new leases of course. We are speaking about new leases.
Daniel-Davis: Ok I’m sorry, I must have misunderstood. I am familiar with the 2016 report and analysis that you reference, um and appreciate what you are saying uh about it in regards to the analysis that was uh developed back in 2016.
Cassidy: Ms. Daniel-Davis, I suspect that um some of these decisions are being made higher than you, but the only leverage I have right now is to oppose your nomination and until these—until these answers are given and it may be March 2nd until we know, I will speak on behalf of my workers and my economy and the world environment to deliver a message that we don’t like where this administration is going.