Big Oil hearing: Dems make their case against the industry

By Emma Dumain | 05/01/2024 02:17 PM EDT

Senate Budget ranking member Chuck Grassley said Democrats were accusing oil companies of conspiracy and wanted to raise energy prices.

Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.).

Senate Budget Chair Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) (right) with ranking member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). The two remain at odds over the committee's work on climate. Francis Chung/POLITICO

A Senate Budget Committee hearing Wednesday gave Democrats the chance to highlight new findings in an ongoing congressional investigation seeking to prove that major oil companies waged a decadeslong climate disinformation campaign.

Democrats on Tuesday released a trove of documents showing how oil and gas companies, and their lobby groups, tried to shape the narrative around fossil fuels, including engaging academia.

“The science of global warming was well understood by Big Oil. Instead of telling the world about the perils of global warming and changing their business model, the companies deliberately suppressed relevant scientific findings for decades and then challenged and dismissed urgent calls by scientists to take climate change seriously,” said House Oversight and Accountability ranking member Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), the star witness.


Raskin went on, “Instead of acting like Paul Revere, and sounding the alarm about climate change, they acted like Maleficent the evil fairy, encouraging everyone to try to go to sleep for 100 years.”