Democratic Illinois Rep. Jan Schakowsky accused Big Oil companies of not producing enough energy despite previously backing a ban on fracking.
“The evidence is in,” Schakowsky, a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, told CNBC on Wednesday. “When we see that the oil companies actually made a decision not to produce anymore but rather to increase their profits and with that money to do things like stock buybacks — we heard from seven oil companies that decided to make about $25 billion in stock buybacks — that they decide to increase the revenue they send to their investors and to raise the salaries of their CEOs and their top executives.”
But Schakowsky has previously sponsored a bill that proposed a complete ban on fracking nationwide.
“We should not allow short-term economic gain to harm our public lands, damage our communities or endanger workers,” Schakowsky said in 2015 after proposing the fracking ban.
During the interview Wednesday, CNBC anchor Joe Kernen noted that 26 Democrats recently voted in favor of banning fracking. He asked the congresswoman if she was one of the votes.
“Look, the question is what are the oil companies doing,” she responded. “Yes, I am against fracking, I think it’s a real problem. But the question is, the oil companies made a decision in this crisis right now to raise the cost, to gouge the consumers.”
Schakowsky added that oil companies are able to “put out” more energy without additional fracking or drilling. She didn’t say whether she was one of the lawmakers that voted against fracking.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee is slated to host a series of Big Oil executives later in the day Wednesday for a hearing on price gouging. Democrats have blamed oil companies for rising gasoline prices in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but experts have pushed back, saying there is no evidence of price gouging.
Since the committee’s Democratic leadership first announced the hearing on March 16, pump prices have tumbled, AAA data showed. The average cost of gasoline nationwide fell to $4.16 a gallon, down from the March 14 average of $4.32 a gallon, on Wednesday.
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