OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) weathered a bruising fact check from Kathleen Sgamma the president of the Western Energy Alliance during a hearing of the House Natural Resources Committee on Tuesday. Sgamma dismissed her claims on U.S. production of greenhouse gases as “complete falsehood.”
At the outset of the hearing, the New York Democrat began by stating a long-debunked claim that the oil and natural gas production that takes place in U.S. federal accounts for 25% of the nation’s total emissions, a figure that seems absurd on its face, and declared this to be her justification for her economically disastrous ‘Green New Deal’ policies.
Sgamma however, quickly worked to disabuse the hearing of these counterfactual notions. She pointed out that AOC’s claim had already been withdrawn by the Department of the Interior and was rooted in a fundamental (and possibly deliberate) misreading of the statistics around greenhouse gas production.
She laid it out plainly to Ocasio-Cortez,
“I just want to start off by correcting something the ranking member said in her opening statement. She claimed that oil and gas production on federal lands is responsible for about a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions,” said Sgamma.
“That’s based on a misreading of a USGS study of greenhouse gas emissions. And if you actually look at the numbers, production on federal lands and waters accounts for 0.6% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, not ‘nearly a quarter.’”
For some background, the study that both women referred to was one conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey which showed that OVERALL oil and gas production in America accounts for the referenced amount of 23.7% of carbon dioxide over a ten-year period.
Crucially though, the vast majority of this production does not take place on Federally owned lands, making the actual amount nearly negligible at about 0.6%.
The Western Energy Alliance posted the interaction to X, formerly Twitter, and wrote, “Alliance Pres. Kathleen Sgamma today corrected @AOC over #climate disinformation she repeatedly uses… “She claimed that oil and gas production on federal lands is responsible for about a 1/4 of greenhouse gas emissions. That’s a complete falsehood.”
Sgamma is quoted adding, “Even the @Interior stopped using that number after I simply pointed out the numbers from the USGS report.”
Sgamma stressed that the Dept. of the Interior, under the openly hostile leadership of Secretary Deb Haaland, a noted environmental extremist, needs to be investigated by the legislature for the stranglehold it currently has on future opportunities for domestic energy exploration. She noted that the Biden administration has created multiple deliberate obstructions to prevent U.S. drilling companies from unlocking the nation’s energy potential, thus keeping Americans at the mercy of OPEC.
“I urge you to submit formal requests for information on the coordination between the Department of the Interior, including its various offices and bureaus, and environmental and activist groups,” she told the committee.“I believe those requests would uncover a trove of information of inappropriate collusion outside the public eye and outside formal Administrative Procedure Act processes. The information would be very helpful as states and groups like Western Energy Alliance seek to overturn many of these regulations in court, a Herculean task given the sheer volume of them.”
As previously reported by Conservative Brief, in January 2021, barely a week in office President Joe Biden suspended all drilling on new oil and gas leases. He stated at the time that the suspension should be implemented “pending completion of a study and reconsideration of oil and gas permitting and leasing practices,” according to the presidential order. The study, completed in April clearly stated, ” we simply cannot continue doing business as we have in the past.”
Bureau of Land Management Director Michael D. Nedd presented a summary statement to the committee Tuesday concluding, “The BLM remains committed to ensuring that as we transition to a clean energy economy, the oil and gas program serves the best interests of the American people,” making it clear that a transition away from oil and natural gas is the end goal.
"She claimed that oil and gas production on federal lands is responsible for about a 1/4 of greenhouse gas emissions. That's a complete falsehood.
"That's based on a… pic.twitter.com/FgqkinHjWO
— Western Energy Alliance (@WesternEnergy1) September 19, 2023