*UPDATE* Senate Budget Committee Restarts Oil Industry Probe: Stay Tuned for More “Political Theater”

UPDATE (4/30/24):

Today, Joint staff from the Senate Budget Committee and the House Oversight Committee released their long-awaited report concluding a “nearly three year-long” investigation into oil companies. Spoiler alert: as E&E News put it the first time around, the investigation continues to show that “oil and gas companies, for the most part, want to continue producing oil and gas.”

Original Post: 

After a year of hints and winks to activists, Senate Budget Committee Chair Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) appears to be continuing the former House Oversight Committee’s “Big Oil” investigation with a new hearing on Wednesday.

Of the previous investigation, Politico wrote that “the biggest winner in these hearings so far has been the political theater.” Expect more of the same this year, too.

Much like the New York Attorney General’s defeated climate lawsuit, the House Oversight Committee’s 2022 investigation into oil and gas companies – led by Chair Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and subcommittee Chair Ro Khanna (D-CA) – was high-profile, activist-backed, meandering, and ultimately underwhelming.

The investigation switched focus several times from the companies’ climate statements, to their commitments to produce core products, and finally to their profits. It ended unceremoniously after Russia invaded Ukraine, forcing policymakers and American businesses to shift their focus to a global energy crisis.

After the Democrats lost control of the House in 2022, Sen. Whitehouse committed to picking off right where the Oversight Committee left off (hint: they didn’t make it far). But despite stretching the purview of the Senate Budget Committee to focus almost exclusively on climate change, Whitehouse has yet to formally relaunch any investigation into energy companies.

Read the key points to keep in mind ahead of Wednesday’s hearing on

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