Rep. Issa Skews The Facts In The Run-Up To Drilling Oversight Hearing

May 23, 2011 1:18 pm ET — Brian Powell

Darrell Issa

Tuesday, the House Oversight Committee will be holding a hearing on "policies that suppress domestic production of oil and gas." The full committee hearing will be led by Oversight Chair Darrell Issa (R-CA), who has already set the tone for the proceedings with a series of misleading and inaccurate statements about American energy independence and the link between gas prices and domestic oil production.

In a media advisory sent out by the Oversight Committee last week, Issa issued a statement about the need for the upcoming hearing:

Horizontal hydraulic fracturing technology could turn shale oil fields in North Dakota, Colorado, Texas, and California into wells that could produce what the Gulf of Mexico produces today, boosting domestic oil production by 40%. Developing these fields could reduce oil imports by 60% by 2020.

His numbers seem to be derived from an Associated Press article published in February, which cites the prediction of oil executives that hydraulic fracturing will boost U.S. oil production:

Within five years, analysts and executives predict, the newly unlocked fields are expected to produce 1 million to 2 million barrels of oil per day, enough to boost U.S. production 20 percent to 40 percent. The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates production will grow a more modest 500,000 barrels per day.

Unsurprisingly, Issa has taken the highest estimate (a 40 percent boost) from the least objective source (oil executives) and presented it as fact to the American people. He completely ignores the drastically different oil production estimates from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, which predicts growth rates at a quarter of the executives' estimates.

Issa's statement serves as just another example of his propensity for using skewed or exaggerated facts to serve his political interests, which are closely tied to the hydraulic fracturing industry. Issa received at least $17,500 in the last election cycle from the political action committees of companies engaged in hydraulic fracturing, so it's no surprise that he's shilling for them now.