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Source: United States House of Representatives – Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher (TX-07)

(Houston, TX) – Today, Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher (TX-07), Chair of the House Science, Space, and Technology Subcommittee on Energy, convened the subcommittee for a briefing on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on energy jobs and potential paths to accelerate the U.S. energy industry’s economic recovery.

“I represent the energy capital of the world, and we are feeling the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic acutely—impacts that are important to our national security, our global leadership, our economy, and our energy future,” said Congresswoman Fletcher.  “I was glad to convene members of the Energy Subcommittee and leaders and experts in energy to discuss the current crisis and potential paths forward.”

Participants in the Energy Subcommittee Briefing Call included:

  • Joe Hezir, Managing Principal, Energy Futures Initiative and former Chief Financial Officer of the Department of Energy
  • Melanie Kenderdine, Managing Principal, Energy Futures Initiative and former Director of the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Policy and Systems Analysis
  • David Foster, Distinguished Associate, Energy Futures Initiative also former Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Energy and lead author of EFI/AFL-CIO’s 2020 U.S. Energy & Employment Report

Congresswoman Fletcher’s opening remarks as prepared for delivery are below:   

Good morning, I am glad to be with you all virtually this morning.  I hope everyone is safe and healthy.  I know that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected people across the country and around the world in many ways, causing so much devastation and uncertainty, especially in our energy industry.

That is why I am glad we are convening this briefing this morning to discuss the state of the U.S. energy industry and potential pathways to recovery in light of the pandemic.

In March, approximately 300,000 Americans lost their jobs in the energy industry, more than 30,000 of them in Texas.  Unfortunately, we know more Americans are losing their jobs each day.  Whether it’s reduced demand for fuels or delayed project construction, energy companies across the country are facing serious challenges, and the people who work in them are facing an uncertain future.  I see the impacts here in Houston, where oil and gas companies in particular are struggling with reduced demand for fuel as a direct result of the pandemic coupled with surplus oil from increased production and a very limited options for storage.

As we consider policies to help Americans who are now out of work and to stimulate our economy, we must pay particular attention to our energy workers—by some measures more than 5% of American workers work in oil and gas alone—as well as looking ahead to our energy future and making smart investments in research, infrastructure, and people for a cleaner energy future. 

The solutions for helping energy workers in California may be different than those in Texas, but we all need to act quickly and decisively if we are going to protect and renew the U.S. energy industry. 

I look forward to hearing the insights of our esteemed panel of experts to address these substantial issues that are impacting and will continue to impact the energy industry.  I am glad to welcome you, and I thank you for being here.