House Energy and Commerce Committee Republicans sent a letter to Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm asking how the Department of Energy (DOE) was addressing rising energy costs and possible supply disruptions.

WHY IT MATTERS: The DOE is tasked with promoting the interests of Americans through the provision of an adequate and reliable supply of energy at the lowest reasonable cost. With predictions of a colder than usual winter this year, E&C Republicans want to understand as soon as possible what actions the DOE is taking to prepare for what could be a perfect storm of a cold winter, high and unaffordable energy prices, the administration’s hostility toward fossil fuels, and supply disruptions. The U.S. Energy Information Administration is also expecting American households to pay more this winter on energy.

Excerpts of their letter:

“Since President Biden took office, the prices of crude oil and many energy commodities have risen to seven-year highs. Retail gasoline prices have increased 80 percent, natural gas prices have increased 274 percent, and propane prices have increased 552 percent 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. 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.”

“As Secretary of Energy, your primary responsibility is strengthening and protecting the nation’s energy security. 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.”

The members ask Secretary Granholm to:

Describe what specific actions DOE is currently taking, or planning to take in the immediate future, to address energy prices and supply shortages ahead of the upcoming winter.
Provide DOE’s current analysis and projections for residential and commercial electricity and fuel prices for the upcoming winter months.
Provide an assessment of recent Executive Actions, Federal policies, and any regulations that may be causing or contributing to energy price increases.
Provide to the Committee monthly updates forecasting, in six- and twelve-month increments, the best available information on residential energy price trends, rate impacts on low-income households, and DOE actions to mitigate energy price increases.

NOTE: While Energy and Commerce Republicans are asking the DOE to ensure Americans can heat their homes, keep the lights on, and afford their energy bills, Democrats in the House are preparing to make it more expensive for Americans to hear their homes with a tax on natural gas.

In a markup on Speaker Pelosi’s Build More Inflation Act, Democrats pushed to include a natural gas tax, which would raise the costs on all Americans. The American Gas Association even wrote to Congressional leaders and showed how Americans will pay more for natural gas under the Democratic proposal:

“These major new costs most likely will result in higher bills for natural gas customers, including families, small businesses, and power generators. 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.”

Democrats have done nothing to increase domestic supplies of natural gas and oil because they would rather “keep it in the ground, ” like canceling the Keystone XL permit and issuing a moratorium on federal leases. Instead, the Democrats plan is to ask Russia and OPEC to pump more oil, and if that fails, tap our Strategic Petroleum Reserve or ban U.S. exports. All of three of these options would harm U.S. workers and consumers while rewarding Russia and OPEC producers.

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