VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS: Democratic Forum Exposes Trump Admin Oil and Gas Favoritism During Shutdown, Raises New Questions

Washington, D.C. – A Democratic forum yesterday led by Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.) and Chairman Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) revealed severe shutdown impacts across the country, from renewable energy to tourism to tribal consultation, and underscored the Trump administration’s brazen favoritism toward the oil and gas industry throughout the shutdown.

Shortly after the forum concluded, Acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt tweeted that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management had suddenly found money to continue holding public meetings on an offshore wind project along the Atlantic Coast – but failed to mention that the online public comment system remains closed because of the shutdown.

Chairman Grijalva said at the forum that the administration’s tireless efforts to keep oil and gas companies happy, regardless of who else is being hurt during the shutdown, is “shameless” and that the administration is “converting [the Bureau of Land Management] into a real estate broker as opposed to doing the job they’re supposed to do.”

Following the forum, Rep. Lowenthal – the top Democrat on the Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee since the 114th Congress – said the administration is using the shutdown as cover to expand oil and gas operations without public scrutiny.

“The continued favoritism the administration gives to the oil and gas industry is simply outrageous,” Lowenthal said. “This has only become more apparent during the Trump-caused shutdown. In many instances, the administration is even using the shutdown as cover, expanding new development and refusing to extend public comment periods despite Interior employees being furloughed and unavailable to answer questions.

“At the same moment federal employees are struggling to put food on the table and make ends meet, the administration is recalling employees—without pay—to keep the oil and gas industry growing. Shortly after our forum yesterday, a spokesperson for the Interior department said that perceived favoritism to the oil and gas industry we talked about was ‘fake news.’ This is a clear indication that while Congressional Democrats are taking this very seriously, the Administration is trying to dismiss it through tired clichés.”

Audio, visual and text highlights of yesterday’s forum are available below.

Photos at the Committee Flickr page here.

Livestream here.

Video of Chairman Grijalva’s remarks


Video of Representative Lowenthal’s opening statement


Testimony from Franz Matzner of the Natural Resources Defense Council here.

Video highlight of Franz Matzner

Testimony from Matt Lee-Ashley of the Center for American Progress here.

Video highlight of Matt Lee-Ashley

Testimony from Governor Kurt Riley of the All Pueblo Council of Governors Committee here.

Video highlight of Kurt Riley

Testimony from Drew McConville of The Wilderness Society here.

Video highlight of Drew McConville

Testimony from Dan Puskar of The Public Lands Alliance here.

Video highlight of Dan Puskar