Anne Lupardus, Office of the Governor, 608-261-2162
Hearing on December 1 to Focus on Home Heating, Gas Price Surges
Governor Jim Doyle announced that subpoenas are being served today requiring the chief executives of the five major oil companies to appear at a hearing in Milwaukee on December 1, 2005 to testify about the record profits they made in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Those served with subpoenas are: David O’Reilly, Chairman and CEO of Chevron Corporation; Lee Raymond, Chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil Corporation; James Mulva, Chairman and CEO of ConocoPhillips Company; Ross Pillari, Chairman and CEO of BP America, Inc.; and John Hofmeister, President and U.S. Country Chair of Shell Oil Company.
In addition to requiring the personal appearance of these executives at the hearing, the subpoenas require them to provide to the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection various records and other information in advance of the hearing. The records to be provided include information about refinery capacity in the wake of the hurricanes and specific pricing and profit information about gasoline and natural gas.
“The big oil companies have made an unprecedented fortune from recent high gas prices,” Governor Doyle said. “These same companies also happen to be the largest producers of natural gas, and they are poised to continue to make record profits as heating costs in Wisconsin rise 50 or 60 percent. Wisconsin consumers deserve a refund, and I am going to keep up the fight until Congress and the President agree to take some real action.”
Since each of these companies does business in and has offices in Wisconsin, the subpoenas are being delivered to each company’s registered agent in the state.
The hearing on December 1st will focus on the rising cost of home heating, particularly in states like Wisconsin, as well as high gas prices. In addition to being the largest oil companies in the United States, the companies being subpoenaed represent four of the five largest natural gas producers in the nation. Natural gas prices in Wisconsin are expected to rise 50 or 60 percent this year, costing consumers an estimated $600 or more per household.
“We have chosen December 1st for a reason,” Governor Doyle said. “December is when it really begins to get cold in Wisconsin – when our families, businesses, and our economy feel the first real bite of winter heating bills. I want these CEOs to see and hear firsthand what we are dealing with in Wisconsin, and how hard it is on our families when we have to support their outrageously inflated profits.”
In September, Governor Doyle led an effort with seven other governors to urge President Bush and Congress to investigate the profiteering by oil companies in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. They urged Congress to pass legislation requiring oil companies to refund their excess profits to consumers. It is estimated that by the end of October, Wisconsin consumers had overpaid oil companies more than $113 million.
In Wisconsin, Governor Doyle has already more than doubled state funding for low-income energy assistance, committed to a multi-state natural gas conservation effort, and encouraged homeowners to have a home energy audit. Just last week, bipartisan legislation to enact the recommendations of the Governor’s Task Force on Energy Efficiency and Renewables was announced by Senator Rob Cowles (R-Green Bay) and Representative Phil Montgomery (R-Ashwaubenon).
The hearing will take place at 1:00 p.m. on December 1, 2005 at the Environmental Awareness Center in Havenwoods State Forest, located at 6141 North Hopkins Street in Milwaukee.