McNerney takes part in Big Oil hearing

The House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming held a hearing this morning on “Drilling for Answers on Oil and Gas Prices, Profits, and Alternatives,” at which executives from the five largest oil companies were asked about current oil and gas prices; their profits; and the need for clean, renewable fuels to ease demand for oil and cut global warming pollution.

Testifying were ExxonMobil Corp. Senior Vice President J. Stephen Simon; Shell Oil Co. President John Hofmeister; BP America Inc. Chairman and President Robert A. Malone; Chevron Vice Chairman Peter Robertson; and ConocoPhillips Executive Vice President John Lowe.

The hearing’s backdrop is that as prices at the pump have risen sharply and oil companies are reporting record profits, the companies also are fighting to keep $18 billion in tax breaks that Congressional Democrats say should be rescinded and shifted to renewable energy incentives for wind, solar, biomass and other climate-friendly sources.

Here’s the opening statement from committee member Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton:And here’s committee chairman Ed Markey, D-Mass., lighting into Simon of ExxonMobil, which reported record profits of $40.6 billion in 2007:

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.