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Katie Porter Pans Oil And Gas Industry's 'Sweetheart Deals' In New Oversight Role

A screenshot from a virtual House Natural Resources subcommittee hearing on Tuesday.
Screenshot by Mountain West News Bureau
A screenshot from a virtual House Natural Resources subcommittee hearing on Tuesday.

A Democratic firebrand in Congress has a new role overseeing the oil and gas industry.

California Rep. Katie Porter is known for her hard-hitting style. In her first two years in Congress, she grilled bank executives as a member of the powerful House Financial Services Committee. Now, as chair of the Natural Resources Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, she's doing the same to oil executives.

At a hearing about drilling reforms on Tuesday, Porter chastised Mark Murphy, who runs a small oil and gas company that drills on federal lands in New Mexico. Murphy falsely said that the fossil fuel industry doesn't get special tax breaks. But they actually do, and Porter cut him off mid-sentence

"Please don't patronize me by telling me that the oil and gas industry doesn't have special tax provisions," Porter said. "If you would like that to be the rule, I'm happy to have Congress deliver."

She said earlier in the hearing: "The sweetheart deals obtained by fossil fuel lobbyists need to be blown up and it's to the benefit of all taxpayers to do so." 

Porter spoke in support of a slew of new bills that would reform drilling on public lands, including her "Ending Taxpayer Welfare for Oil and Gas Companies Act," which would raise royalty rates on oil and gas companies for the first time in a century.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, KUNC in Colorado, KUNM in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Copyright 2021 Boise State Public Radio News. To see more, visit Boise State Public Radio News.

Nate Hegyi
Nate Hegyi is a reporter with the Mountain West News Bureau based at Yellowstone Public Radio. He earned an M.A. in Environmental Science and Natural Resource Journalism in 2016 and interned at NPR’s Morning Edition in 2014. In a prior life, he toured around the country in a band, lived in Texas for a spell, and once tried unsuccessfully to fly fish. You can reach Nate at nate@ypradio.org.
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