The CEOs pleaded innocence and urged congress to open up ANWR and other off-limits sites for exploration and drilling.
Representative Ed Markey, Democrat of Massachusetts and chairman of the committee was hearing none of it. "For too long, this administration's energy policy has led to tax breaks for Big Oil, and tough breaks for American families," he said "American consumers shouldn't have to break the bank to fill the tank. The American people deserve answers and it is time for Big Oil to go on record about these record prices."
It was something of a bipartisan piling-on, with republicans and Democrats alike warning the executives that there would be a backlash against the companies and their record profits. My congressman got a good shot in himself..."The anger level is rising significantly," Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Missouri, told the executives. "Your approval ratings are lower than ours, and that's damn low."The executives dismissed the hearings as political theater before they even got underway, but they were not above injecting their own drama into the proceedings, especially when they felt their tax breaks might be threatened.
No prices are going to fall, and no oil execs are going to get religion or see the light or wake up green tomorrow morning - but the cynic in me sees at least a little bit of success...some congresscritters got some good soundbites of them yelling at those mean 'ol oil executives for the incessant campaign commercials that are going to start assaulting us any minute now and continue through election day.