Today, three Democrat members of the House Committee on Natural Resources held an in-person field hearing to discuss the effects of the recent oil pipeline rupture off the coast of California. Committee Ranking Member Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) issued the following statement in response:
"Our supply chain is already buckling under the weight of the Biden administration's restrictions, and as more and more cargo ships crowd the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the threat of damage to critical underwater infrastructure will remain an ongoing problem. Unfortunately, we have yet to see a single Democrat member of this committee acknowledge the root cause of President Biden's supply chain crisis. Instead of calling on the Biden administration to get Americans back to work and keep the supply chain functional, Democrats are blaming their favorite scapegoat: the domestic oil and gas industry. Just last week, they pushed legislation through committee that would make homegrown energy production even more difficult and contribute to the inflation of energy prices we are already experiencing. At the same time, the White House was asking foreign and domestic energy producers to do more to help solve ballooning gas prices. And even though many of this committee's Democrat members have not bothered to come to D.C. for legislative business this Congress, they are holding a fully in-person hearing in California today, a state with one of the highest COVID-19 rates in the country. Democrats' double standards are ludicrous and have got to stop. As Representatives Porter, Levin and Lowenthal pontificate, the problem of overcrowded ports and a supply chain stretched to the breaking point remain. No amount of onerous energy industry regulations will solve these issues. I can only hope my Democrat colleagues will put the same zeal into showing up to work in D.C. as they have in finger pointing and political theater in California."
On Oct. 1, 2021, authorities discovered a rupture in an underwater pipeline that resulted in thousands of gallons of oil spilling into the ocean and onto the California coastline. Cleanup crews worked rapidly to contain and resolve the spill.
President Joe Biden and congressional Democrats were quick to blame oil corporations for the spill; however, investigators for the U.S. Coast Guard already determined the pipeline was likely struck by at least one large ship's anchor, resulting in the rupture. This news comes as the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles face an enormous bottleneck of cargo ships, unable to dock and unload as a result of supply chain backlogs exacerbated by COVID-19. These bottlenecks are overcrowding U.S. waters and forcing ships to linger offshore in previously restricted areas, thereby threatening underwater infrastructure, including oil pipelines.
U.S. Reps. Katie Porter (D-Calif.), Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.) and Mike Levin (D-Calif.) hosted a fully in-person field hearing in Irvine, Calif. to discuss the immediate effects of the oil pipeline spill on businesses and the environment. While the hearing was ongoing, protesters outside the building called on the representatives to hold the Biden administration accountable and solve ongoing supply chain debacles.