Grijalva, Committee Democrats Urge Chair Westerman to Investigate Big Oil Collusion to Inflate Gas Prices

WASHINGTON – U.S. House Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) today sent a letter signed by 13 Committee Democrats to Chair Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) urging him to open an investigation into the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) recent allegations that former Pioneer CEO Scott Sheffield colluded with the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and OPEC+ to effectively raise gas prices for the American people.

Pioneer, which was recently acquired by Exxon Mobil, holds significant oil and gas leases on U.S. public lands. In effect, Mr. Sheffield’s actions may have constituted a use of “taxpayer resources to drive up the cost of gas to further increase profit rather than drive it down for consumers, as the industry has long promised,” the lawmakers write.

In the letter, the authors highlight the FTC’s allegations and urge Chair Westerman to follow through on his consistently stated concerns about energy prices. They point out that holding oil and gas companies accountable for collusion and corruption is critical to protecting American families from price gouging and other corporate malfeasance.

“Over the last two years, you and your colleagues have repeatedly expressed concern about high gas prices, trying to blame environmental protections and efforts to hold polluters accountable, even while the U.S. has been the number one producer of oil and the number one producer and exporter of gas in the world, and industry profits have soared. The complaint released by the FTC provides evidence for a different explanation that is more consistent with that given by Committee Democrats: Big Oil companies conspired to drive up their own profit at the expense of consumers by colluding with cartels consisting of countries that pose national security threats to the U.S. Oil and gas companies have been allowed free rein on our public lands – to pollute, drive the climate crisis, and price gouge American families, all while falsely claiming that more oil production is in Americans’ best interest. It’s past time for accountability.” 

The authors emphasize the urgency of this investigation given recent reports that former President Donald Trump promised additional handouts and giveaways to Big Oil companies, including Exxon, in exchange for a $1 billion donation to his campaign.

READ the full letter to Chair Westerman.

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