Facing what CNNMoney called grilling and criticizing, executives from Exxon Mobil Corp., Shell Oil Company, BP America, Inc., Chevron, and ConocoPhillips sat before the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming (chaired by Edward Markey (D-Mass., seen here in his Second Life incarnation) yesterday. While Democratic lawmakers took their shots at the oil companies for not investing more in renewable energy sources, a safe political move if there ever was one, the oil men just repeated frequent claims that whatever it looks like, they need the tax breaks. Exxon's senior vice president Stephen Simon told that he believes current renewable energy options can't meet America's energy needs and that Exxon is in the oil business and is content to leave renewables to other companies. Of course, Exxon is involved in some alternative power research, like a li-ion battery project, but not in any serious way. Other oil companies are looking a little beyond oil, too. Shell is looking for biofuel from algae, for example.
Democrats mostly wanted to cut the tax breaks, while Republicans, in general, supported big oil. CNNMoney quotes John Shadegg R-Arizona as saying, "I do not believe that funding renewable energy by taxing current forms of energy serves American customers very well."