Big Oil executives tried to defend high gasoline prices, record profits, and stock buybacks and shareholder dividends before the House Energy and Commerce Committee Wednesday. Crude oil prices have fallen after a spike induced by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but prices at the pump have stayed high. The companies (and their PACs) that appeared yesterday have given $383,000 to members of the Committee (97% which went to GOP members). Oil firms told the Committee the federal government needed to lease more land for oil and gas extraction, even though industry executives say they are not increasing extraction, which would lower prices, in order to keep their shareholders happy.

The oil and gas industry is already sitting on 7,700 drilling permits on 13.9 million acres of federal land and API CEO Mike Sommers admitted last October “it takes a long time to develop these leases.” The IPCC report released Monday on climate change mitigation said all new fossil fuel infrastructure construction must cease immediately in order to limit global warming to 1.5°C above preindustrial levels and warned “status quo” actors and political barriers are the main obstacle to addressing climate change. That same day, ExxonMobil announced a $10 billion plan to drill for oil off the coast of Guyana.

(Hearing: AP, E&E News, E&E News, Washington Post $, FT $, MarketWatch, New York Times $, Politico, HuffPost, ABC, CNN, CNN, The Hill, Houston Chronicle, Houston Chronicle, Barron’s, Wall Street Journal $, Reuters, Fox Business, USA Today; Wartime profits & shareholder benefits: Washington Post $; Campaign contributions: Forbes $; Permits: Bloomberg $; IPCC: Yale Climate Connections, The Guardian; Exxon: DeSmog)