Invasion reignites debate over the future of energy

ROLL CALL:

Senators clashed Wednesday over what type of energy future the U.S. should pursue in light of Russia’s ongoing attack of Ukraine, with Democrats pushing for a lower-carbon path and Republicans calling for more exports of natural gas.

Energy Secretary Jennifer M. Granholm, meanwhile, said the invasion’s disruption of energy markets could serve as a trigger to kickstart an international shift away from oil and gas reliance.

At a hearing of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, there was bipartisan agreement on lowering gasoline prices, a subject of upcoming hearings in both chambers. But members disagreed over how to decouple from fluctuations in fossil fuels prices.

“If we had solved this problem a decade ago, we wouldn’t have this vulnerability,” said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I. “We’re hostages to the oil and gas industry which is now telling us that the solution for the hostages is to buy more oil and gas.”

GOP senators called for more domestic oil and gas production and pressed for it to be exported abroad to allied nations. They said the Biden administration’s environmental policies are responsible for a recent rise in oil and gasoline prices.

“It’s these policies that are responsible for this,” said Sen. James M. Inhofe, R-Okla., of higher oil prices.

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