Letter - Energy Updates

Apr 4, 2024
Press Release

Chairs Rodgers and Duncan Question IEA on Shift Away from Energy Security Mission Towards a Liberal Climate Agenda

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Energy, Climate, and Grid Security Subcommittee Chair Jeff Duncan (R-SC) sent letters to Department of Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm and International Energy Agency (IEA) Executive Director Fatih Birol regarding IEA's shift away from its core energy security mission towards radical climate policy advocacy.  BACKGROUND: The IEA’s new climate agenda and flawed projections fail to provide participating governments with accurate and impartial data to make decisions and directly influenced the administration’s decision to restrict U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports.  This agenda will have a significant impact on American LNG production, domestic energy prices, and threatens our allies.  U.S. LNG exports have spurred European countries to construct LNG import facilities in order to further wean themselves off of Russian natural gas.  Despite this, Europe continues to import a record amount of LNG from Russia, importing 40 percent more today than it did before the invasion of Ukraine.  Turning away from America’s tremendous energy potential risks U.S. energy security and the security of our allies.  KEY EXCERPTS FROM IEA LETTER: “The IEA was established in 1974 to ensure the security of oil supplies following the disruptions created by the Arab oil embargo. Congress has authorized U.S. government agencies to participate in the IEA to provide authoritative data and impartial analysis of world energy markets, to help coordinate responses to energy supply disruptions, and to strengthen the energy security of the U.S. and its allies. We are concerned that the IEA has lost focus of its energy security mission and has instead shifted attention and resources to climate policy advocacy—to the detriment of its core mission.” CLICK HERE to read the full letter to IEA Executive Director Dr. Birol.   CLICK HERE to read the full letter to Energy Secretary Granholm. 

Mar 27, 2024

Chairs Rodgers and Duncan Condemn DOE’s New Building Codes That Will Worsen the Housing Affordability Crisis

Washington D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Energy, Climate, and Grid Security Subcommittee Chair Jeff Duncan (R-SC) sent a letter to Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Jennifer Granholm regarding the Department’s recent announcements to push for the adoption of expensive new energy codes. Rather than improve people’s lives and the environment, this latest rush-to-green policy is being implemented by the Biden administration to appease its radical environmental allies and will only increase housing prices and utility bills for millions of American. BACKGROUND: On September 19, 2023, DOE announced a $400 million program to implement new building energy codes.  On December 18, 2023, DOE announced another new $530 million program to implement new building energy codes.  The Biden administration has repeatedly advanced efforts to impose burdensome energy efficiency standards that would raise costs for Americans.  “Zero energy” building codes, which the grants may support, would force buildings to eliminate the use of fossil fuels in favor of more expensive, but less reliable electric options. KEY EXCERPTS: “In the U.S., building codes are predominately and appropriately regulated by State and local jurisdictions – not the Federal government. In recent years, activist environmental groups have begun pressuring international organizations, Federal agencies, States, and local jurisdictions to develop and enforce 'model' building energy codes that mandate expensive, one-sized-fits-all construction requirements and restrict fuel choices, even when it is not technologically feasible or cost-effective for the homeowner or tenant.  “State and local governments should not be forced to adopt international energy codes that set efficiency requirements, ban the use of natural gas, or require expensive electrification retrofits for appliances and electric vehicle charging. We are concerned that the DOE’s building codes grant programs will exacerbate the current housing affordability crisis and limit energy choices for the American people by encouraging the adoption of such one-sized-fits-all building codes that are not appropriate or cost-effective for all income levels and regions of the country.” CLICK HERE to read the full letter. 

Mar 22, 2024
Press Release

E&C Leaders Seek Further Information in Investigation of Maui Wildfires

Washington, D.C. — The House Energy and Commerce Committee is continuing its oversight of the deadly Maui fires that happened in August 2023. In a new letter to Hawaiian Electric CEO Shelee Kimura, Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Chair Morgan Griffith (R-VA), and Subcommittee on Energy, Climate, and Grid Security Chair Jeff Duncan (R-SC) have asked for clarification on testimony and documents provided to the Committee. KEY LETTER EXCERPT : “We appreciate your testimony before the Committee on Energy and Commerce at our September 28, 2023, hearing titled, 'Investigating the Role of Electric Infrastructure in the Catastrophic Maui Wildfires' and for your cooperation in supplying additional information in response to our October 13, 2023, additional questions for the hearing record (QFRs). We continue to keep the people of Maui in our thoughts as recovery efforts continue.   “As we continue our investigation, questions persist both about the events on the days the wildfires occurred (August 7 and 8, 2023) and about Hawaiian Electric Company and its subsidiaries’ (collectively, HECO) 'Wildfire Mitigation Plan' (WMP). For example, in HECO’s October 27, 2023, response to the Committee’s QFRs, you described the weather updates that HECO received on the dates of the wildfires. However, you also stated that HECO 'did not learn until after the windstorm had passed that the winds had been higher than forecast.'  “Additionally, we continue to have questions about the WMP and the timeline of its creation and development. HECO stated that it began developing the WMP in 2019 and finalized it in 2023. However, the Hawaii Public Utility Commission revealed it had not seen the document prior to the fires and only learned of its existence when HECO referenced it in HECO’s September 19, 2023, response to the Committee’s August 30, 2023, letter requesting more information about HECO’s wildfire mitigation measures.  “As fires involving electrical equipment continue to threaten lives, property, and energy reliability, the Committee has a responsibility to understand how these disasters unfold and how they can be prevented, so we can utilize this knowledge and findings in developing and overseeing the implementation of our national energy infrastructure policies.”  The Chairs have requested a response to their additional questions by April 3, 2024.  CLICK HERE to read the full letter.  TIMELINE OF INVESTIGATION:   August 30, 2023 : E&C Republican Leaders Open Investigation into Hawaiian Electric Following Deadly Maui Fires  September 14, 2023 : Chair Rodgers and Griffith Announce Oversight Hearing on Maui Fires, Invite Utilities and State Energy Officials to Appear  September 28, 2023 : Energy and Commerce Committee Oversight Subcommittee Hosts Hearing on Maui Fires  October 18, 2023 : Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chair Griffith Presses Maui Officials for Additional Information Following Oversight Hearing on Catastrophic Fires 

Mar 21, 2024
Press Release

Rodgers and Barrasso: International Energy Agency has Abandoned its Energy Security Mission

Washington D.C. — Today, Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member John Barrasso (R-WY) sent a letter to Dr. Fatih Birol, Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA), urging him to return the agency to its core mission of promoting energy security. “[I]n recent years the IEA has been undermining energy security by discouraging sufficient investment in energy supplies... Moreover, its energy modeling no longer provides policymakers with balanced assessments of energy and climate proposals. Instead, it has become an ‘energy transition’ cheerleader,” the lawmakers wrote. “It should disturb you that biased parties are exploiting the IEA’s forecasts and other products to advocate for policies that undermine energy security. Last month, your former deputy at IEA, David Turk, now Deputy Secretary at the U.S. Department of Energy, justified President Biden’s decision to “pause” the permitting process for U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports on the basis of IEA forecasts rather than the forecasts of the Department’s own Energy Information Administration (EIA). We find Deputy Secretary Turk’s decision to rely largely on IEA’s outlier forecasts—instead of EIA’s forecasts—when discussing world demand for natural gas to be deeply troubling. President Biden’s decision to stop approving LNG export permits could have devastating consequences on the future supply of U.S. LNG to developing countries who will experience decades of robust growth in natural gas demand. That is why people across the American political spectrum have condemned the President’s decision as reckless,” the lawmakers continue. CLICK HERE to read the full letter.

Feb 26, 2024

E&C Republican Leaders Demand Answers on the Biden Administration’s Ineffective EV Infrastructure Program

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Energy, Climate, and Grid Security Subcommittee Chair Jeff Duncan (R-SC), and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chair Morgan Griffith (R-VA) sent a letter to Department of Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm and Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg regarding growing concerns over the Biden administration’s inability to implement the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula and the Charging and Fueling Infrastructure (CFI) Discretionary Grant programs, as well as the implications for American taxpayers. KEY QUOTE:   “The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) provided $5 billion for the NEVI Formula Program ($1 billion annually from FY22-FY26), and a total of $2.5 billion from FY22-FY26 for the CFI Discretionary Grant Program. Despite recent award announcements, little progress has been made in the buildout of electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure. On December 15, 2023, the Department of Energy and Department of Transportation announced the opening of America’s first EV fast charging stations funded through the NEVI Formula Program: in Ohio and New York. This announcement for merely eight charging stations comes more than two years after the passage of the IIJA.  “The problems with these programs continue to grow – delays in the delivery of chargers, concerns from States about labor contracting requirements and minimum operating standards for chargers, the fact that 22 States (44 percent) have not issued solicitations for NEVI funding, and the limited and questionable delivery of awards from the CFI Discretionary Grant Program.”  Members asked Secretaries Granholm and Buttigieg to answer the following questions by March 7, 2024: How many EV chargers does the administration expect to be constructed using NEVI Formula Program and CFI Discretionary Grant Program funds in 2024?   Because private sector deployment of EV chargers is outpacing the federal government, how is the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation updating its review of State plans to ensure federal dollars do not overbuild private sector investments?   In the Federal Highway Administration’s January 11, 2024, press release, it stated, “More than 70 percent of the CFI funding announced today will support project sites in disadvantaged communities.” Understanding EVs are extremely cost prohibitive for many, expensive to maintain, and have high insurance costs, can you please share how the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation is ensuring charging stations being awarded will receive maximized usage?   What changes is the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation making to ensure the timely review of State plans and delivery of awards?  Regarding the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation:   How many employees does the office have? What is the administrative budget for the office for each year since it has been in existence? Considering the Biden administration’s waiver of Buy America requirements for steel, iron, manufactured products, and construction materials in EV chargers, how will you ensure federal funds are not supporting Chinese or Chinese-affiliated entities?  IN THE NEWS:   “Republican leaders on the House Energy and Commerce Committee are demanding answers from two federal agencies regarding the Biden administration’s lagging electric vehicle (EV) charger subsidy program.”   […] “Beyond noting that the rollout has been sluggish to date, the lawmakers asked the agencies to provide estimates of how many chargers the administration is anticipating the program will help build by the end of the year and steps the agencies are taking to ensure that taxpayer dollars do not benefit Chinese interests in light of the administration’s ‘Buy America’ requirement waiver for certain charger components.”   CLICK HERE to read the full article from the Daily Caller.  CLICK HERE to read the full letter.

Feb 21, 2024

Chairs Rodgers and Duncan Probe FERC on Grid Reliability Implications of Breaching the Lower Snake River Dams

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Energy, Climate, and Grid Security Subcommittee Chair Jeff Duncan (R-SC) sent a letter to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Chair Willie L. Phillips and the other Commissioners regarding the threats to the reliability of the electric grid if the Lower Snake River dams were breached and whether FERC was involved in President Biden’s efforts to breach the Lower Snake River dams.  KEY QUOTE:   "We are concerned that the Biden administration failed to consider the impact of dam breaches on electric reliability when conducting its secret negotiations. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) should have been involved in these discussions in order to ensure misguided policies do not further undermine grid reliability. The Lower Snake River dams provide over 3,000 MW of affordable nameplate capacity that communities in the western United States depend on for reliability and resource adequacy.   "As noted in responses to our letter dated December 29, 2023, Chairman Phillips stated that 'we cannot, as a country, afford to retire resources on which we depend for reliability without ensuring that they are replaced with sufficient resources to meet resource adequacy and other system needs.' This includes the affordable, dispatchable, and renewable hydroelectric dams in the Columbia River Basin that millions of Americans depend on for reliability. In fact, during the most recent cold snap in the Pacific Northwest, federal dams, including the Lower Snake River dams, 'were vital to keeping the lights on' by producing over 1,000 MW of electricity each day to help BPA and the region meet high demands. BACKGROUND:   Dams along the Columbia Snake River system provide more than one third of all the hydropower capacity in the United States. In Washinton State, hydropower accounts for 70 percent of the electricity consumed.  The dams helped transform Eastern Washington into one of the most productive agricultural regions in the world—over $3 billion worth of cargo is shipped on the Columbia Snake River System every year, including 40 percent of America’s wheat.  Despite the importance of the dams, the Biden administration has been leading secret negotiations with other federal agencies in an attempt to breach the Lower Snake River dams. In the process, they’ve ignored the concerns of people who live in the Pacific Northwest and who would be significantly impacted if these dams were breached.  Members asked Chair Phillips to answer the following questions by March 6, 2024: Was FERC consulted as part of the Columbia River Basin negotiations to examine or explain the impacts on electric reliability relating to the commitments contained in the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)? Was FERC included in these negotiations in any capacity to assess the impacts to affordability, reliability, and resource adequacy in the western United States? Please describe any communications you have had with BPA, CEQ, the White House, or any other federal entity during the Columbia River Basin negotiation process.  Will FERC coordinate with other Federal entities, like BPA and the administration, to examine the reliability impacts of the potential loss of dispatchable, clean, renewable hydroelectric power in the west as the MOU is implemented?  How does FERC consider the negative impacts of policies that displace reliable generation when fulfilling its mission to safeguard reliability? How is FERC assessing the cumulative effects of state policies that impact wholesale system spanning multiple states and entire interconnections?  On January 30, 2024, Mr. Jeremiah Baumann from the Department of Energy (DOE) testified before the Subcommittee on Energy, Climate, and Grid Security hearing. During the hearing, Mr. Baumann was asked about replacing the electric generation that would be lost if the four Lower Snake River dams were breached. Mr. Baumann said “[Y]ou can use sort of existing off-the-shelf emissions-free technology like wind, solar, and current batteries for a big chunk, but then for the last bit, you really do need other technologies like hydrogen, something that is going to be that 24./7 dispatchable piece, and right now those are very expensive and hard to develop.” Do you agree with DOE’s assessment of the need for dispatchable replacement capacity if the Lower Snake River dams are breached? What cost-effective and commercially available technology would be the most efficient dispatchable replacement for the Lower Snake River dams?  The Columbia River Basin MOU describes several replacement energy resources for the hydroelectricity from the dams, including distributed energy resources, efficiency measures, demand response, and other generation, storage, and transmission resources. Do you consider those adequate replacements for the over 3,000 MW of dispatchable nameplate capacity from the Lower Snake River dams? What quantity, in MW, of distributed energy resources, efficiency measures, demand response, and other generation is needed to replace the capacity, energy, and essential reliability services provided by the dams? Can these replacement resources provide comparable quality and quantity of these services? What effect will this have on energy prices and capacity contracts for consumers in the region? Would you consider the total costs for replacement resources just and reasonable when they are higher than they otherwise would be with these dispatchable resources still in service? How will the loss of the dams and the characteristics of the proposed replacement resources affect system capabilities needs, especially during peak periods? CLICK HERE to read the full letter. 

Feb 5, 2024

More than 150 House Republicans Demand Biden End His De Facto Ban on American LNG Exports

Washington, D.C. — More than 150 Republicans, led by Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), sent a letter to President Biden lambasting him for his de facto ban on U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports, a decision that jeopardizes the stability and affordability of natural gas domestically, hurts the American economy and jobs, undercuts our allies, and strengthens our adversaries. AS FIRST REPORTED BY FOX NEWS: More than 150 House Republicans are calling for President Biden to reverse his moratorium on liquefied natural gas (LNG) export projects, an action they argued negatively impacts the energy security of the U.S. and its allies.   The Republican lawmakers — led by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., and joined by House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., and Conference Chair Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y. — penned a letter to Biden on Sunday evening, demanding his administration "expeditiously approve all pending applications to increase the global supply of natural gas."   KEY LETTER QUOTE: We write regarding the announcement that the Department of Energy (DOE) will stop issuing indefinitely permits to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) while your administration conducts an additional “public interest” review, including environmental, economic, and environmental justice criteria. This is economically and strategically dangerous and unnecessary. Under both Democratic and Republican administrations, DOE has consistently found that U.S. LNG exports serve the “public interest” because they contribute positive economic benefits and strengthen energy security for the American people, and also have the potential to reduce global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. BACKGROUND: On January 26, President Biden froze the approval process for new U.S. LNG export sites, prioritizing the wishes of radical activists over U.S. energy security and the security of our allies. Studies show that LNG exports could add upwards of $73 billion to the U.S. economy by 2040, create upwards of 453,000 American jobs, and increase U.S. held purchasing power by $30 billion.   Over the past seven years, the U.S. has increased its LNG export capacity from zero to 11.6 billion cubic feet per day. During the same period, the spot price of U.S. natural gas has remained relatively stable and affordable.  These actions will weaken global energy security, halt investment in American energy, and jeopardize U.S. energy leadership.  CLICK HERE to read the full letter.  CLICK HERE to read more on how President Biden’s efforts jeopardize American jobs, energy prices, the economy, and the security of our allies. 

Jan 29, 2024
Press Release

Chairs of Energy and Commerce, Science, and Natural Resources Committees Open Investigation into Chinese Influence in American Energy and Environmental Policy

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chair Frank Lucas (R-OK), and House Natural Resources Committee Chair Bruce Westerman (R-AR) sent a letter to Energy Foundation China (EFC) President Zi Chou, requesting documents related to grants and financial resources provided to American organizations. The request comes after reports that EFC is funneling money to support US-based climate initiatives.  KEY LETTER EXCERPT :  “ China could greatly improve its economic and geopolitical position should renewable energy resource use and electrification increase in the United States . China dominates global renewable energy product supply chains, such as those for batteries, solar panels, and electrolyzers. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence also observed, 'China is central to global supply chains in a range of technology sectors, including semiconductors, critical minerals, batteries, solar panels, and pharmaceuticals.' It concluded, 'China’s dominance in these markets could pose a significant risk to U.S. and Western manufacturing and consumer sectors if the Government of China was able to adeptly leverage its dominance for political or economic gain.’ China has already attempted to influence United States policy and opinion regarding China through covert influence and exploit perceived societal divisions. As such, we are alarmed by reports of China-affiliated organizations attempting to influence United States energy policy. ”  BACKGROUND :  EFC is a Beijing-headquartered organization with a stated mission of furthering China’s sustainable energy development and employs staff with significant ties to the Chinese Government.  EFC’s President and CEO previously served as Deputy Director General of China’s National Center for Climate Change Strategy and International Cooperation, under the Chinese government’s National Development and Reform Commission.  EFC’s Environmental Management Program director, Mr. Liu Xin, previously served as Deputy Director of the Regional Air Quality Management Division of the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau.  Prior to 2019, the organization operated jointly with the United States Energy Foundation.  EFC has awarded substantial funding to other organizations seeking to shape United States energy policy.  According to tax records, in 2021, EFC provided $195,000 to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) “to support education, analysis, and outreach to build a clean energy future.”  In 2021, EFC also gave the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) $820,000 to, among other things, “support education and analysis to phase out coal.”  The RMI has produced a study that it and other advocates for electrification have cited in pushing to eliminate the use of gas stoves.  The Department of Energy cited this study in one of its recent energy efficiency proposed rulemakings, and Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm also posted it to her account on X, formerly known as Twitter, stating that Americans would have greater access to electric and induction cooktops.   CLICK HERE to read the full letter. 

Jan 23, 2024
Press Release

E&C Republicans Threaten to Subpoena Documents Amidst Energy Official's Stonewalling of Investigation

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Chair Morgan Griffith (R-VA), and Subcommittee on Energy, Climate, and Grid Security Chair Jeff Duncan (R-SC), on behalf of the Oversight and Energy Subcommittee Republicans, today wrote to Department of Energy (DOE) Loan Program Office (LPO) Director Jigar Shah.  In the letter, the Chairs note Mr. Shah’s failure to adequately respond to multiple requests for information from the Energy and Commerce Committee and other Congressional Committees. KEY LETTER EXCERPT :  “Recent reports, your testimony before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and the exponential expansion of the LPO’s loan authority of over $400 billion have raised legitimate questions regarding how the program plans to spend taxpayer dollars. As the LPO continues publicly to emphasize its commitment to transparency, full cooperation would have provided this program office with an opportunity to address these issues. However, you have failed to cooperate in a meaningful way with the Committee’s efforts to exercise its constitutionally based oversight responsibilities.”  The Chairs request Mr. Shah provide the previously requested information by February 6, 2024, or they will be forced to consider compulsory measures.  CLICK HERE to read the letter.  BACKGROUND ON PREVIOUS REQUESTS :  October 18, 2023 : Chair Rodgers and Senate Energy and Natural Resources Ranking Member John Barrasso requested more information about the nature of Director Shah’s involvement with Cleantech Leaders Roundtable during his time leading the LPO. CLICK HERE to read the letter.  December 4, 2023 : Chairs Rodgers, Griffith, and Duncan requested more information about the LPO’s process for vetting and approving loan applications in light of reports of the poor financial position of Li-Cycle, a company that received a conditional commitment for a loan. CLICK HERE to read the letter.  December 7, 2023 : Chair Rodgers and Ranking Member Barrasso wrote to Director Shah seeking more information about the LPO’s review and awareness of troubling business practices by Sunnova, a recent partial loan guarantee recipient. CLICK HERE to read the letter.